All right, let’s talk about the latest news from CES 2018 in Las Vegas related to 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and HDR…

First up, the HDR10+ Alliance has announced that Warner Bros. has joined Samsung, Panasonic, 20th Century Fox, and Amazon in supporting their open standard “dynamic metadata” competitor for Dolby Vision. Any content producer who wants to use HDR10+ for their media needs only to pay an small annual fee, but there are no royalty fees, unlike Dolby Vision which requires a license fee for every use.

It will be interesting to see what impact Disney’s purchase of 20th Century Fox might have on this alliance, if any. Will Disney join or will Fox’s participation become more passive?

On a related note, our friends at Scenarist – which creates software and systems for Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, and Ultra HD title authoring – is adding HDR10+ support into the work flow of its Scenarist UHD authoring system, currently used to create many Ultra HD Blu-ray releases. They’re actually demonstrating it in person at CES 2018. So you can expect movie software that supports HDR10+ to start arriving this year. Word is that Amazon will be adding HDR10+ to its 4K streaming offerings in the next few months as well. [Read on here…]

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All right, let’s have more on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from CES 2017, plus a bit of regular Blu-ray announcement news too...

First up, we have reliable word that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is listing Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element for release on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format on 7/11. That makes a ton of sense, because Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) arrives in theatres on 7/21 (from STX Entertainment).

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has also just officially set Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk for 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray Combo, and DVD release on 2/14. The 4K release will be presented in full 4K and 60 fps, with HDR and Dolby Atmos audio. It features an exclusive 4K Featurette with Ang Lee and Tim Squyres discussing the film’s groundbreaking frame rate technology. The Blu-ray versions will include delete scenes and 4 featurettes (Into Battle and Onto the Field: Stepping Inside Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Recreating the Halftime Show, The Brotherhood of Combat, and Assembling a Cast). You can see the cover artwork to the left.  [Read on here…]

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All right, the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show is finally under way in Las Vegas today, with a number of the major CE manufacturers holding big press conferences to announce their product line-ups for the year. In fact, I’ve just now sat through Samsung’s big press event (more on that in a minute). I’ll check back in with more tomorrow, but for now let’s get to what news we have so far concerning 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray at the show...

In terms of new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player hardware, obviously Oppo Digital has just launched their debut player on the format, the UDP-203 (SRP $549). I’ve been testing this unit for about a week now and it’s just tremendous. For a first-generation player, it’s very solid, very fast, and it plays just about everything – Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, DVD-Audio, CD, and SACD, plus a wide variety of digital video and audio formats via network and USB. It’s compatible with HDR-10 right out of the box, and it’s also hardware compatible with Dolby Vision; a firmware update in the months ahead will add full Dolby Vision compatibility (keep in mind that no Dolby Vision UHD BD software is yet available, though software is forthcoming – again, more in a moment – and you can stream it now via Netflix and Vudu). Oppo is also working on an audiophile-upgraded version of this player, the UDP-205 (SRP around $1K), due for release later this year. [Read on here…]

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All right, folks… today’s column here at The Digital Bits is going to be a long one, filled with no small amount of nostalgia.

The reason is this: Today marks the official 10th Anniversary of the Blu-ray Disc format. The first seven Blu-ray titles (from Sony, MGM, and Lionsgate) appeared in stores on this day back in 2006 (as it happens, 6/20/06 was a Tuesday). They included 50 First Dates, The Fifth Element, Hitch, House of Flying Daggers, xXx, Underworld: Evolution, and The Terminator. The first set-top Blu-ray player – Samsung’s BD-P1000 (SRP $999) – had been expected to street on 6/25, but actually arrived in stores on 6/19, just in time for the Tuesday software debut. Here at The Bits, I got my hands on the player and four titles that day – The Fifth Element, The Terminator, Lord of War, and Crash (those last two officially went on sale the following week).  [Read on here…]

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[Editor’s Note: Be sure to like TheDigitalBits.com page on Facebook for breaking news, site updates on the go, discussion with our staff and other readers, giveaways and more!]

All right, I’m finally back from CES 2016, after three long and exhausting days of running around the show and a harrowing late-night drive back to Southern California amid rain and snow. And I’ve gotten a good long rest to recover from all of the above.

So let’s talk about what I saw related to UHD BD on the show floor Wednesday...  [Read on here…]

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[Editor’s Note: Be sure to like TheDigitalBits.com page on Facebook for breaking news, site updates on the go, discussion with our staff and other readers, giveaways and more!]

All right, I’m wrapping up our coverage of Press Day at CES 2016 with a quick report of key UHD-related highlights from the big afternoon press events in the day, which featured tech industry giants Samsung and Sony.  [Read on here…]

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[Editor’s Note: Be sure to like TheDigitalBits.com page on Facebook for breaking news, site updates on the go, discussion with our staff and other readers, giveaways and more!]

The UHD Alliance held their official press event at CES 2016 last evening to begin the official unveiling of “full-featured” Ultra High Definition as an in-home consumer experience here at the convention. The Alliance was formed in part to simplify the UHD experience for consumers by unifying the consumer electronics industry and content creators behind a single standard, thus avoiding the pain of another costly format war.  [Read on here…]

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[Editor’s Note: Be sure to like TheDigitalBits.com page on Facebook for breaking news, site updates on the go, discussion with our staff and other readers, giveaways and more!]

Well folks, this is going to be our last post until Monday as we take the rest of the week off to spend the Christmas holiday with our families. But we do have some cool stuff for you…

First, we’ve got a pair of new Blu-ray reviews. Our own Tim Salmons has checked out Scream Factory’s Lord of Illusions and Criterion’s The Innocents, and both are well worth a look. Also, in the spirit of the holiday season, we present my review of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life on Blu-ray, as well as Dr. Jahnke’s look at A Christmas Story, and Barrie Maxwell’s thoughts on White Christmas.  While we’re at it, here’s Die Hard too. Because nothing quite says Christmas like “Yippee ki-yay!” Enjoy!  [Read on here…]

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