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All right, this is going to be a busy week.  As most of you know, the annual Consumer Electronics Show has kicked off in Las Vegas, so there should be some interesting announcements related to new Blu-ray players, HD, 3D and 4K displays.  We’ll check in off and on all week with the latest news and announcements.

Meanwhile, there are a couple of big new title announcements to report today…

Summit and Lionsgate have just revealed plans to release The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 Extended Edition on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download on 3/2 (SRP $29.99 and $22.98 for the disc formats).  Director Bill Condon has restored some 8 minutes of new and extended scenes back into the theatrical cut of the film (which will also be included) for this release.  You’ll also get optional audio commentary by Condon. You’ll get a look at the BD cover artwork below.

Also, Universal has set The Man with the Iron Fists: Unrated Extended Edition for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 2/12. Extras are TBA.

Sony has set The First Time and Mob Doctor: The Complete First Season for DVD only release on 3/12, followed by Angus Buchan’s Ordinary People on DVD only on 3/19.

Nickelodeon and Paramount have set Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rise of the Turtles for DVD only release on 2/26.

And Image will release All Superheroes Must Die on BD and DVD on 1/29.

Now then… Amazon.com is now taking pre-orders for P.T. Anderson’s The Master and Silver Livings Playbook, both Weinstein Company titles.  SRP for each is $39.99. Click the links to pre-order.

Now then… we’ve got an update for you on the audio problems with Sony’s Total Recall Blu-ray Disc.  As I reported last we asked the studio for an update on the nature of the issue and what their plans were to address it.  We’ve now gotten two responses from them.  The first is a statement and information from the technical team on how to get around the issue:

“The complex branching on initial shipments of the Blu-ray Disc for Total Recall has caused a few unexpected dropouts in the lossless audio streams during disc play only on select player/receiver combinations.  This issue only occurs if the lossless audio is decoded through an audio receiver or home theater system.  If the Blu-ray player is connected directly to the TV, or if the lossless audio is set to decode directly through the Blu-ray player, there should be no issue.

 SPHE is working with manufacturers on a possible firmware upgrade solution meanwhile, the playback in the affected player combinations can be resolved through a simple fix by changing the player’s audio settings to decode directly through the Blu-ray player by changing the settings as outlined below.”

 PS3 Slim - From PS3 crossbar, go to:

  1. Settings
  2. Video Settings
  3. BD/DVD Audio Output Format (HDMI)
  4. Change to Linear PCM

Sony BDP-S360 / Sony BDP-S460 / Sony BDP-S560 – From player crossbar, go to:

  1. Setup
  2. Audio Settings
  3. BD Audio Setting
  4. Change to Mix

Sony 790 – From player crossbar, go to:

  1. Setup
  2. Audio Setting
  3. BD Audio Mix Setting
  4. Change to On

Oppo BDP-83  / Oppo BDP-93

  1. Goto Setup
  2. Audio Format Setup
  3. HDMI Audio
  4. Select LPCM

LG 370

  1. Goto Setup
  2. Audio
  3. HDMI
  4. Select PCM Multi-Ch

Panasonic BD-35 / Panasonic BD-55

  1. Goto Setup
  2. Audio
  3. Digital Audio Ouput
  4. Dolby Digital / Dolby Digital + / Dolby TrueHD
  5. Select PCM

Panasonic BD-110

  1. Goto Setup
  2. Player Settings
  3. Audio
  4. Digital Audio Ouput
  5. Dolby Digital / Dolby Digital + / Dolby TrueHD
  6. Select PCM

As you can imagine, those are the specific models of player that seem to be encountering issues.  Now then… at the same time we’ve also heard back from SPHE Customer Support through e-mail inquiries (to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) by a number of readers.  Here’s what they say:

“Sony is reprinting this title without the defects.  We will ship you a replacement when we receive the new disks.  In order to send you a replacement we do ask that you send us your copy.  First we do need the following information:

What is the UPC # under the barcode of the movie case?

Your Name?

Mailing address (No PO Boxes)?

Once we receive this information, we will send you information on how to return your disk to us.

Regards,

SPHE Consumer Affairs - 800-860-2878 - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

So there you go: Sony is attacking the problem from both ends by trying to work with manufacturers to update firmware and by manufacturing replacement discs.  If you’d rather not wait for firmware updates, free to use the SPHE contact information above to arrange your own replacement copy.

Now then… we’ll leave you with at look at the BD cover artwork for Summit and Lionsgate’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 Extended Edition, Universal’s The Man with the Iron Fists and Fox’s How Green Was My Valley (due 1/15)…

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1: Extended Edition (Blu-ray Disc)    The Man with the Iron Fists (Blu-ray Disc)    How Green Was My Valley (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned.

- Bill Hunt

We’re closing out the week today with a couple more interesting pieces of announcement news…

First of all, it’s not already unknown, but we have official details on Shout! Factory’s upcoming Blu-ray Disc release of Lifeforce and the Hammer Films classic The Vampire Lovers. Both are expected on 4/30. The Lifeforce: Collector’s Edition BD/DVD Combo (SRP $29.93) will include both the Theatrical and International versions (Theatrical on the Blu-ray only), new audio commentary with director Tobe Hooper, a new retrospective with the cast and crew (including Steve Railsback, Hooper and others), the original Making of Lifeforce featurette, the original theatrical trailer, a TV spot, a still gallery and more TBA. Meanwhile, The Vampire Lovers (SRP $19.97) will include audio commentary with director Roy Ward Baker, writer Tudor Gates and star Ingrid Pitt, excerpts from the novella Carmilla (which inspired the film) read by Pitt, new interviews with actress Madeline Smith and Hammer Films scholars, the original theatrical trailer and a vintage radio spot.

Also today, Disney has formally set Monsters, Inc. 3D for Blu-ray 3D Combo release on 2/19 – again no surprise but it’s no official. SRP is $49.99 for a 5-disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition that includes a Blu-ray 3D version, 2 Blu-ray discs, a DVD and a Digital Copy. In addition, the previous BD extras, the set will a preview for the new Disney/Pixar release Monsters University.

And here’s something we think is pretty darned exciting: As some of you may know, our very own Mark A. Altman – when he’s got writing columns for The Bits – is also a TV producer. His series Femme Fatales recently finished its second season on Cinemax and Entertainment One has just announced the first for DVD release! Femme Fatales: The Complete First Season will arrive on DVD only on 1/29 (SRP $29.98). The 3-disc set will include all 12 episodes along with audio commentary on every episode with the stars and creators, deleted and alternate scenes, 4 featurettes (Creating Femme Fatales, Shooting Femme Fatales: The Making of Season One, Making Love: Anatomy of a Sex Scene and San Diego Comic Con 2011 Panel), a blooper reel, isolated music tracks and a special B&W director's cut of the episode The White Flower with audio commentary! Congrats to Mark and to our longtime friend Robert Meyer Burnett, both of whom have directed episodes of the series – well done guys! Looking forward to seeing the discs.

Finally, we’ve learned from industry sources that the audio issue on Sony’s Total Recall Blu-ray is likely a problem with the discs. We’re waiting to hear back from the studio on the matter directly and will let you know when we do.

Here’s a look at the Blu-ray cover art for Shout!’s Lifeforce and The Vampire Lovers, as well as DVD art for E-One’s Femme Fatales

Lifeforce: Collector's Edition (Blu-ray Disc)    The Vampire Lovers (Blu-ray Disc)    Femme Fatales: The Complete First Season (DVD)

Have a great weekend and see you Monday!

- Bill Hunt

All right, we’re back with our first post of the new year featuring a quick release news update…

First, Universal has set Anna Karenina for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 2/19. Extras on both versions will include deleted scenes, audio commentary with director Joe Wright and 6 featurettes (Anna Karenina: An Epic Story About Love, Adapting Tolstoy, Keira as Anna, On the Set with Director Joe Wright, Dressing Anna and Anna Karenina: Time-Lapse Photography), along with the usual interactive bells and whistles.

Paramount has officially set Flight for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 2/5. Extras will include 4 featurettes (Origins of Flight, The Making of Flight, Anatomy of a Plane Crash and Q&A Highlights).

Paramount and Nickelodeon will also release Fun Size on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/19.

Disney has officially set Wreck-It Ralph for 4-disc Blu-ray 3D Combo, 2-disc Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 3/5. You’ll also be able to watch the film in HD streaming and HD3D streaming starting on 2/12. Extras will include deleted and alternate scenes, the Paperman animated short, the Bit by Bit: Creating the Worlds of Wreck-It Ralph featurette and various video game commercials (for Fix It Felix Jr., Sugar Rush, Hero’s Duty and Fix It Felix Hammer). The Blu-rays will also include an exclusive Disney Intermission: The Gamer’s Guide to Wreck-It-Ralph interactive viewing mode.

Retail sources also tell us that Disney is planning on releasing The Little Mermaid as a 2D and 3D Diamond Edition on Blu-ray sometime late this summer, following a planned theatrical re-issue in 3D.

Also, Sony has announced another round of MOD DVD-R releases due on 2/5 (SRP $20.95 each) including Blue Moon, The Spanish Prisoner, Five Golden Hours, Ambush at Tomahawk Gap, The Bamboo Prison, Matter of Wife… and Death, Apache Ambush, The Brigand, Ghost of the China Sea, Target Hong Kong, There’s Always a Woman, Re-Modeled: The Complete First Season and Harvard Park.

Magnolia has set the Danish film Royal Affair for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/26.

And Criterion has begun teasing its 2013 Blu-ray and DVD release slate by releasing a drawing with clues to upcoming titles. Among the possible suspects include James Marsh’s Man on Wire, Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last!, David Lynch’s Eraserhead, Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone, Mike Leigh’s Life is Sweet, Teinosuke Kinugasa’s Gate of Hell, Gabriel Axel’s Babette’s Feast, Delmer Daves’ 3:10 to Yuma and possibly David Cronenberg’s Scanners. I’d sure like to see the Zatoichi films and Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou in the mix for 2013 too. Fingers crossed.

Around the Net today, Amazon is now taking pre-orders for Paramount’s Jack Reacher, DreamWorks’ Rise of the Guardians and Weinstein’s Django Unchained on Blu-ray. Not street dates have yet been announced.

And here at the site today, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking to them through our links goes to help support our work here at the site and we surely do appreciate it!

Here’s a look at the BD cover art for Paramount’s Flight, Disney’s Little Mermaid 3D (TBA) and Universal’s Anna Karenina

Flight (Blu-ray Disc)    The Little Mermaid 3D: Diamond Edition (Blu-ray Disc)    Anna Karenina (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

Happy New Year from all of us at The Digital Bits!

December 31, 2012 - 12:01 am   |   By

Well, folks… we come to it at last: Our final post of 2012. I can’t say 2012 has been my favorite year. As some of you will know (if you’ve been reading the site over the past 12 months) Sarah and I have just lost far too many family members and friends to cancer and other illness this year, including our very own Barrie Maxwell. But then 2012 has brought us some great new friends as well and of course a whole new and improved Digital Bits website. So that’s something, I suppose.

In any case… in the spirit of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, we’ve gotten through it somehow with a lot of support from other family and friends, and no small amount of kindness from many of you via e-mail and Facebook. So I’d really like to take a moment to thank all of you very much for all your patience, well wishes and support over the past year. It’s meant a lot to us. Some of you have been Bits readers right from the very beginning way back in 1997, and the fact that you’ve stuck with us all this time – well, you’re like family and that really means a lot.

Anyway, we do have one quick thing for you here at the site today so I should probably get to it: Mark is back again this morning with another new MOS DEF column in which he looks back at his picks for The Top Ten Blu-rays of 2012. As always, it’s a good read so enjoy.

With that, from all of us here at The Digital Bits, we wish you all a very happy and safe New Year! We offer our sincere thanks for continuing to support our work here at the site… and we hope the door doesn’t hit 2012’s ass on the way out!

We’ll be back on Thursday (1/3) to resume regular posts and start looking ahead to all the new title and player announcements from CES.

Here’s to 2013 – may it bring great things. Happy New Year, everyone!

- Bill Hunt

The Penultimate My Two Cents for 2012!

December 28, 2012 - 9:24 am   |   By

Morning, folks! As we head into the New Year’s holiday, there isn’t a lot of Blu-ray or DVD news to report. It’ll likely not be until after the holiday that we heard back from Sony about the Total Recall Blu-ray issue and I wouldn’t expect any major title announcements until right before CES which kicks off the second week of January.

Meanwhile, we do have one thing for you today… our own Mark A. Altman has checked in with a new installment of his MOS DEF column, featuring his thoughts on Fox and MGM’s recent Bond 50 Blu-ray box set with quick reviews of all 22 classic Bond films (and even Never Say Never Again for good measure)! It’s a good read so do give it a look.

And that’s all for now. We’ll be back on Monday with our last post of 2012. In the meantime, may all your favorite NFL teams win this weekend (go Vikings!) and we hope you continue to have great times with your family and friends.

Peace out and see you Monday!

- Bill Hunt

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