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Site created 12/15/97.




page updated: 11/14/03



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 10/23/03 - 10/3/03)


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(LATE UPDATE - 10/23/03 - 11 AM PDT)

We have a few early details for you on Paramount's upcoming Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - Special Collector's Edition. The 2-disc set is expected to street on January 27th, featuring a new anamorphic widescreen video transfer and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras should include audio commentary with director Nicholas Meyer, text commentary with Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda, numerous behind-the-scenes featurettes on the production, trailers, storyboards, an art gallery and more. Just FYI, the first season of Voyager is tentatively expected in February. Here's a look at the cover art...

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - Special Collector's Edition

Also this morning, we have word that 20th Century Fox is planning to release another batch of D-VHS titles, and these are nothing to sneeze at. Moulin Rouge and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen are expected on November 25th, with X2, True Lies and Speed expected to follow on December 16th. X2 and League will be day-and-date releases with their DVD counterparts. All five titles will SRP for $34.98, will be presented in anamorphic widescreen 1080i high-definition video and will feature audio in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 as well (encoded at 1509 kbps). These will mark the first D-VHS titles to be released with DTS audio.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 10/23/03 - 12:01 AM PDT)

Anyone up for a new DVD review today? Good, 'cause we've got a great one for you! Start the coffee brewing and enjoy. Our own Barrie Maxwell had a personal marathon screening of Warner's new Looney Tunes Golden Collection 4-disc set last night, and yes... he's checked in with his in-depth review! The set contains 56 classic animated shorts and lots of extras. It's due to street next Tuesday (10/28), and we think you'll agree that it was well worth the wait. These remastered shorts really looks fantastic. Hats off to Warner for an amazing restoration job. May EVERY SINGLE short in the Warner library find its way to DVD looking this good before the studio's done.

Also this morning, we have word over at our MusicTAP affiliate that the new Rush in Rio DVD from Coming Home/Rounder Records (distributed by Universal Music) is unfortunately NOT in the anamorphic widescreen that was promised in early press releases (and which is indicated on the back of the package). Also, the DTS track that had been expected based on the original announcement seems to have been dropped at the last minute. That's obviously very disappointing - we've been inundated with e-mails from angry Rush fans who hurried out to get the disc on Tuesday only to surprised by this. Our understanding is that the concert was shot anamorphically in Digi-Beta format, so there should be no reason why the concert couldn't have been anamorphic on DVD. Matt's trying to figure out what happened, so we'll post when we know.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 10/22/03 - 2:30 PM PDT)

Well... it looks like things are backfiring on Jack Valenti's anti-piracy plan to ban all screener copies of films for awards season. Film actors, directors and particularly independent filmmakers have been protesting vigorously, going so far as to take out full page ads in local newspapers and industry trade magazines. The problem is that the ban would make it unlikely that most awards voters (including Academy voters at Oscar time) would ever see smaller, art house films, given that they're run in so few theaters. That would unfairly skew voting towards big-budget, major Hollywood studio films. Anger in the industry over this move is so great that the Los Angeles Film Critics Association has, in protest, announced that they'll cancel their 2003 awards unless the ban is rescinded.

Now, however, it looks like there might be a compromise in the works. Valenti, who had been previously unwilling to budge in his position, seems to have softened in response to some pretty harsh criticism. The compromise? Screeners are okay now, but only on VHS... not DVD... and each tape would be coded with the recipient's name, so that pirated copies could be traced directly back to the person responsible. You can read more on this via the links in the text above. Let me just say, people in Hollywood are REALLY steamed over this whole thing, and rightly so. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 10/22/03 - NOON PDT)

Today's post is going to be a quick one, because we're working on a number of new DVD reviews of major titles. Watch for reviews of Finding Nemo, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and more in the next few days.

Also, it looks like we may have found a new web hosting solution. We're working on the arrangements now, and we'll keep you up to date over the next few weeks as we move the site and get settled into our new digs. So thanks to everyone who has e-mailed us about this issue. We appreciate all your support.

Just FYI, we really appreciate all those of you who have purchased our new DVD book, or intend to do so in the weeks and months ahead. We're getting lots of really kind e-mails about it - it's very nice to know people like it. If you haven't gotten your copy yet, your local bookstores should have copies in stock as we speak. If they don't, please don't hesitate to ask them to order copies for you. Remember, the proceeds from the book will help us to keep the site going both now and in the future, so thanks again to all of you for supporting us in this way.

Now then, we do have one new disc review for you this afternoon. Our own Rob Hale has checked in with a look at MGM's controversial pseudo-documentary, Bowling for Columbine on DVD. Love it or hate it, director Michael Moore always has a lot to say, and he never fails to get a debate going.

We also have a few more pieces of upcoming cover art for you. Here's Disney's 2-disc Alice in Wonderland: Masterpiece Edition (1/27), Warner's Alex & Emma (12/23), and MGM's Jeepers Creepers 2: Special Edition (also 12/23).

Alice in Wonderland: Masterpiece EditionAlex & EmmaJeepers Creepers 2: Special Edition

Finally today, you should know that MGM has already announced the DVD release of Denzel Washington's Out of Time: Special Edition for January 6th. Also, Woody Allen's Anything Else is due to street on December 23rd.

Stay tuned...

10/21/03

Kicking things off today, we've got word from retailers on a street date for Universal's Schindler's List DVD. You'll find that in The Rumor Mill.

You'll be happy to know that Universal has also announced the DVD release of Rowan Atkinson's Johnny English on January 13th (SRP $26.98). Extras will include Spy Tips, an "observation test", deleted scenes and "more".

In other news this morning, Artisan is going to be releasing the On Golden Pond: Special Edition on 12/16 (SRP $19.98). The disc will include the film anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, a commentary track with playwright Ernest Thompson, the Reflections on Golden Pond documentary on the work of cinematographer Billy Williams, a Katherine Hepburn tribute featurette, the Loving Against Time documentary and more.

Also, CBS News had a feature story last night, as part of its Eye on America series, on how DVDs are reshaping the Hollywood landscape. You can view the story online here.

We've got two new Contests for you today thanks to our friends at Warner Bros. Fancy winning a copy of The Looney Tunes Golden Collection? How about The Thing from Another World, Soylent Green or The Omega Man? Then what are you waiting for? Click here to get started. By the way, we're not going to be announcing the winners here on the home page anymore, because there are just too many. But you can always check the contest Winner's Circle page which will be updated after each contest ends with a complete list of all the winners.

Finally this morning, we've got some more upcoming DVD cover art for you to check out. Here's On Golden Pond, the Dirty Dancing: Ultimate Edition (12/9) and Disney's Spy Kids 3D: Game Over (2/24).

On Golden PondDirty Dancing: Ultimate EditionSpy Kids 3D: Game Over

Stay tuned...

10/20/03

I've been fighting a funky software glitch today, so that's kept me busy all morning. BUT... Man with baseball bat still trumps Computer, I'm pleased to say. I've overcome the unsavory evil genie of technology just in time to post some new DVD announcements for you today.

Columbia TriStar has revealed that they'll release Belly of the Beast, So Close and the S.W.A.T.: Special Edition on 12/30. S.W.A.T. will be available in both full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions. Extras will include a gag reel, deleted scenes, 2 audio commentary tracks (featuring the director, cast and screenwriters), 4 behind-the-scenes featurettes (6th Street Bridge, Anatomy of a Shootout, S.W.A.T. - TV's Original Supercops and The Making of S.W.A.T.), another piece called The Sound and Fury of S.W.A.T. and more.

Paramount has announced a few more January titles. First up are both Cheers: Season Two and Frasier: Season Two, due on 1/6. Next is a 2-disc set featuring Ashton Kutcher in Punk'd: The First Season. That streets on 1/20. Following that on 1/27 are A Smile Like Yours, Best Defense, Pontiac Moon and Dear God. All the 1/27 titles SRP for $14.99. They've also announced The Jamie Kennedy Experiment: Season One for release on 12/2, with South Park: The Complete Third Season following on 12/16.

How about some great new 20th Century Fox titles? Look for Avril Lavigne: My World on 11/4, Duel to the Death, Eastern Condors and Heart of the Dragon all on 12/30, Scorched on 1/27, The Diary of Anne Frank, In Living Color: Season One and a 2-disc Planet of the Apes: 35th Anniversary Edition on 2/3, and both Angel: The Complete Third Season and Roswell: The Complete First Season on 2/10.

Just FYI, Planet of the Apes will include the 112-minute film in anamorphic widescreen video (a full frame version will also be available), with audio in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround. Extras will include audio commentary by composer Jerry Goldsmith, additional commentary with actors Roddy Mc Dowell, Natalie Trundy, Kim Hunter, producer Richard Zanuck and make-up artist John Chambers, a text commentary by Eric Greene (author of Planet of the Apes as American Myth), the Behind the Planet of the Apes documentary (126 mins), a 1998 promo for Behind the Planet of the Apes, an original makeup test with Edward G. Robinson, 20 minutes of Roddy McDowall's home movies, original dailies and outtakes, the 1967 N.A.T.O. Presentation Reel, an original featurette from 1968, the 1972 A Look Behind the Planet of the Apes featurette, the Don Taylor Directs Escape from the Planet of the Apes featurette, the J. Lee Thompson Directs Conquest of the Planet of the Apes featurette, original theatrical trailers for all films in the series, original film reviews, a theatrical poster gallery, a production photo gallery, a gallery of original costume sketches, a gallery of toys and merchandise, an Easter egg featuring a vintage MEGO toy commercial, and a DVD-ROM Planet of the Apes timeline. Let me be the first to say this... VERY frickin' cool!

Moving on, Three's Company: Season One streets from Anchor Bay on 11/11. Buena Vista has revealed that they'll release Open Range on 1/20, with the Alice in Wonderland: Special Edition following on 1/27 and the Spy Kids 3D: Game Over - Collector's Series rounding things out on 2/24. DreamWorks will debut Anything Else on 12/23. Rhino will release The Monkees: Season Two on 11/18. And finally, Warner has at last re-announced The Ben Stiller Show for 12/2, now with meatier extras (including audio commentary, deleted scenes, a featurette, outtakes, production notes, a TV special, Easter eggs and more).

Here's a look at the cover art for S.W.A.T., Open Range and Roswell: The Complete First Season.

S.W.A.T.Open RangeRoswell: The Complete First Season

Stay tuned...

10/17/03

We've got one last new DVD review for you this week. Our own Jeff Kleist takes a look at The Big Blue Bug of Justice. Yes... it's Columbia TriStar's The Tick: The Entire Series on DVD. It's a fun little package... the episodes at least. But why the studio didn't tap Patrick Warburton to do some nifty bonus material for this set, I'll never know. A very big missed opportunity by any measure.

We've got just a few more upcoming DVD announcements for you today. Artisan Entertainment will release The Adventures of Captain Marvel (the original 12 chapter serial) on 12/16. Warner has announced Let's Do It Again, A Piece of the Action, Superfly and Uptown Saturday Night for 1/13, The Accidental Tourist, Best Friends and Swing Shift for 1/20, and I'll Be There for 1/27. Warner will also release the BBC's MI-5: Season One on 1/13, Allo Allo!: Complete Series One, Ballykissangel: Complete Series One and Ballykissangel: Complete Series Two on 1/20, and As Time Goes By: Complete Season Six on 2/3. Eagle Rock Entertainment has The Man Show: Season One, Volume Two due on 11/4. Showtime will release Family Business: The Complete First Season on 1/6, with Out of Order (the pilot episode) following on 1/13. And finally, upcoming Columbia TriStar DVDs to watch for include Bonjour Tristesse, Dawson's Creek: The Complete Second Season and Henry Fool on 12/16, as well as I Capture the Castle, The Medallion, Black Dragon and Nil by Mouth on 12/23.

That's it for now. Seven new DVD reviews this week... not bad. Have a great weekend!

10/16/03

Okay, folks... this was going around the Net yesterday as something in the works for Region 2, so I thought we'd get the skinny for you about Region 1. I've officially confirmed with Paramount that complete season box sets of Star Trek: The Original Series are in the planning stages for DVD release here in the States. However, you probably shouldn't expect them until after most of the work on the Star Trek: Voyager complete season DVDs is finished. Voyager is expected to be released, a season at a time, throughout 2004. I'm told that late 2004 is a possibility for TOS, but they might not be released until 2005. This is definitely going to happen, but it's early in the planning and plenty is still up in the air. So don't start warming up those phasers just yet.

By the way, we have word on a couple of Best Buy exclusive bonus discs. There's one currently available with The Matrix Reloaded, but if you already have the original Matrix, Matrix Revisited and Animatrix DVDs, don't worry... you've already got everything that's on the bonus disc. On the other hand, there's another bonus disc that will be available with the Indiana Jones box set next week. That's expected to include a vintage, 10-minute Raiders featurette not available anywhere else. So plan your purchases accordingly.

Finally this morning, and this would normally be in The Rumor Mill but I'm too tired to put it there (so take with salt accordingly), sources are telling us to expect the Coen Brothers' new film, Intolerable Cruelty, on DVD from Universal in February.

Stay tuned...

10/15/03

So... how's about a nice Hawaiian Punch? No? Okay... how's about some more new DVD reviews then? Our own Todd Doogan's checked in with a look at Criterion's nifty Schizopolis, which streets on 10/28.

Not enough fer ya? Okay... how's about another new edition of Adam Jahnke's Bottom Shelf column, in which he barely manages to escape Rhino's Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Warner's Dreamcatcher with his life? See... keeping you guys happy. That's what it's all about here at The Bits.

One of these days, we're going to have to toss Adam something good to review. I barely survived Dreamcatcher myself.

Okay... let's see a show of hands. Who played hooky yesterday so they could stay home and watch The Matrix Reloaded? I know there are a few of you out there who are struggling to catch up on all that paperwork today. Think that's bad? Just wait 'til next week when Indiana Jones comes out. ;-)

We've got another Rumor Mill update for you today, with the latest on Miramax's The English Patient: Special Edition. Yes, it's still coming.

All of us here at The Digital Bits would like to send our thanks out to Ron Epstein and his crew over at The Home Theater Forum. Ron's just posted a really positive review of our new DVD book, and he said some very kind things about us. They've been good friends over there for a long time, so it means a lot to us that they enjoyed the book. Thanks, guys. Our hats off to you. Just a reminder to all our readers - please pick up a copy over at Amazon or your local bookstore if you can. Doing so will go a long way to helping support our work here at The Bits, as well as helping us to keep the site going in this tough online advertising climate. Much appreciated!

While we're virtually doffing our caps today, hats off to the Chinese for finally lobbing a man into space. Don't forget... what goes up must come down. Hats off also to you Cubs fans for enduring last night's unbelievable eighth inning loss to the Marlins in the NLCS. Damn, guys. I'm not even a Cubs fan and that made me sick to my stomach. Can you imagine how bad that poor shmoe who tried to catch the foul ball must be feeling today? Ouch.

Stay tuned...

10/14/03

We've just posted another pair of new DVD reviews. The first is Adam Jahnke's look at Warner's recent release of The Animatrix, in honor of today's release of The Matrix Reloaded. Also today, we're pleased to present Matt Rowe's look at Warner's new single-disc version of the BBC's classic 70s and 80s music program The Old Grey Whistle Test. I think you'll find that both DVDs are well worth a look. Just to let you know, tomorrow we'll have another pair of new DVD reviews, so be sure to watch for that.

Speaking of music, we have official confirmation that Universal Music's upcoming DVD release of U2 Go Home: Live from Slane Castle, Ireland will be presented in anamorphic widescreen. The audio is also confirmed to be in PCM 2.0 stereo, along with both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1. The street date is 11/18, and it will be available in limited editition Digipak and standard jewel case packaging. If this title hasn't got you pumped, you are no kind of music fan, bub.

We've got a look at MGM's forthcoming January slate of DVDs today. Titles to expect include Green Acres: Season One, The Best of Mister Ed: Volume One, Jeremiah: Season One, Stargate SG-1: Season Five, Just Between Friends, Love at Large, Love Is All There Is, Sleep with Me, Stanley & Iris, a trio of Sidney Poitier titles including For Love of Ivy, Pressure Point and The Wilby Conspiracy, and four new Soul Cinema titles including Blacula, Hammer, The Monkey Hustle and Scream, Blacula, Scream.

We have word today that Universal and DreamWorks will release Woody Allen's latest movie Anything Else on December 23rd.

Also Warner and HBO have announced the release of American Splendor on DVD on February 3rd. Extras will include audio commentary, Easter eggs, an 8-page comic insert entitled My Movie Year, the theatrical trailer and more.

And we have a bit of new upcoming DVD information in The Rumor Mill today on upcoming Studio Ghibli titles, so be sure to check that out.

Finally today, you Enterprise fans will be happy to learn that the show will now be broadcast in full 1080i HD resolution by UPN affiliates starting with tomorrow night's episode, thanks to a new promotional partnership with Zenith. So there's another good reason to pick up that new widescreen Digital TV.

Just to let everyone know, The Digital Bits: Insiders' Guide to DVD is only just now starting to appear in bookstores. So please be patient if you're looking for it at your local retailer. Drop us an e-mail if you're able to find it in stores.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 10/13/03 - 1 PM PDT)

Okay... we've just posted our review of Paramount and Lucasfilm's forthcoming The Adventures of Indiana Jones: The Complete DVD Movie Collection, a 4-disc box set that includes Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the last Crusade, as well as an entire, separate disc of bonus materials. The set streets on 10/21, and we were surprised to find that it was actually well worth the wait. The films look great, they sound even better and the extras are a satisfying exercise in quality over quantity.

By the way, we should tell you that the Indy DVD event on Saturday turned out to be a lot of fun. It was held at the American Film Institute in Hollywood. In attendance were all the usual suspects from the DVD and mainstream press. These events are always a great chance to catch up with friends and peers from the DVD community, and to chat about the latest developments with the format. Naturally, the good folks from both Paramount and Lucasfilm were on hand as well. The event was hosted by Lucasfilm's Jim Ward, and began with demonstrations of the DVD set's remastered picture and sound quality. We also viewed some of the documentary material on the bonus disc. The afternoon session featured a Q&A with Indy producer Frank Marshall, DVD producer Laurent Bouzereau, film restoration expert Jim Lowry and Paramount's senior V.P. of DVD production, Jeff Radoycis. This was followed by a second Q&A with the three "Ladies of Indiana Jones", including Karen Allen, Kate Capshaw and Alison Doody. The highlight of the day, however, was a surprise visitor. As the three ladies were talking on stage with the moderator, a shadowy figure appeared at the side of the theater... a figure who turned out to be none other than actor Harrison Ford, decked out in his classic leather jacket and fedora. No kidding.

Every now and again in this business, you know you're at the coolest place in town. This was just such a moment. Ford took the stage for a minute or two to greet the ladies and to pose for pictures, before leaving with the words, "See you soon..." (an obvious reference to the forthcoming Indiana Jones 4).

Here's a shot we think you'll appreciate. Left to right, this is Alison Doody, Kate Capshaw, Harrison Ford, Karen Allen and AFI CEO Jean Picker Firstenberg...

Left to right, here's Alison Doody, Kate Capshaw, Harrison Ford, Karen Allen and AFI CEO Jean Picker Firstenberg.

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon, huh?

We've also got a number of great new bits of DVD information in today's update of The Rumor Mill. These include more Star Wars DVD rumors, word on Young Indy, and word that Paramount's planning some great special edition titles for 2004 and beyond.

We'd like to thank everyone who has e-mailed us about our web hosting problems. We've gotten a lot of generous offers of support, so we're going to be taking a look at them over the next few days. We'll try to get back to everyone, so thanks again.

Finally this afternoon, we have a pair of new Contests for you to enter today, both featuring great Warner Bros. (and BBC) titles. You have a chance to win copies of The Matrix Reloaded, The Old Gray Whistle Test (which we'll review here tomorrow) and The Singing Detective. By the way, we're not going to be announcing the winners on the home page anymore, because there are just too many of them. But you can always visit The Winner's Circle for a complete list.

We've got more new DVD reviews ready to go, so we'll see you tomorrow! Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 10/13/03 - 10 AM PDT)

Morning, everyone! We have a server glitch that prevented us from uploading over the weekend, but it looks like it's just been corrected. So we're going to be posting our Indiana Jones DVD review in just a little bit. Thanks for your patience.

Back shortly...

(LATE UPDATE - 10/10/03 - 2:30 PM PDT)

We hadn't planned to check in with another update today, but this one is just too good not to let you all know about. We have official confirmation from Universal Studios (via this article at Video Store - slide down to the very bottom of the text) that Steven Spielberg's long awaited Schindler's List will finally debut on DVD in 2004. How's that for a nice way to end the week?

NOW then... that's all folks!

(EARLY UPDATE - 10/10/03 - 12:01 AM PDT)

So how many of you out there managed to get tickets yesterday for the day-long Lord of the Rings Trilogy Tuesday on 12/16? It was a constant battle of wills with online theater ticket venders, but Matt and I managed (just barely) to snag a pair. Selected theaters are playing the extended editions of both Fellowship and Two Towers back to back, followed by the debut of Return of the King that evening. Yes, it's the ENTIRE trilogy in a single day - 12 straight hours of Rings madness - and you can bet the crowd will be amped for it. Yes, we ARE crazy to want to put ourselves through that, but how can any good film fanatic pass up a chance like that?

Okay... don't answer that... ;-)

Speaking of trilogies, have you signed the Original Trilogy.com petition yet? Our friends over at The Force.net are reporting that it's approaching 40,000 signatures, and the folks at Lucasfilm are reportedly "monitoring the petition with interest". Given the renewed rumors we've been hearing about Episodes IV-VI coming to DVD in late 2004, it's time to send a clear message to good ol' George that the DVDs should include BOTH the original theatrical versions of the films as well as the ultimate editions he has planned. So if you haven't signed it yet, please do so and encourage all your friends to do the same.

And hey... speaking of trilogies, are any of you in the mood for a little Indiana Jones on DVD? Good, because we're going to be attending Lucasfilm's DVD press event on Saturday morning. That means, with a little luck, we'll have our complete review of the forthcoming box set up by Monday early AM (and maybe sooner). So stay tuned for that.

Good news for you Ben Stiller Show fans... the long delayed DVD of the series has finally been rescheduled for a 12/2 street date by Warner. Click here to read some cool details about the set via Yahoo.

In other news, word is that The Lion King is off to the races on DVD. It's apparently sold more than 3 million copies in its first 2 days of release. Click here for more on that.

By the way, if anyone out there knows of a really reliable (and really, really inexpensive) web hosting option that might work for The Bits, please let us know. We're looking for a new home, and our budget's never been tighter unfortunately. But like Don Quixote, the crazy bunch of nuts around here are determined to keep tilting at the DVD windmill. We'll be damned if the system's gonna get us down. So anyone out there who can help us keep fighting the good fight... please drop us a line.

Also, we've been getting reports that the book is starting to arrive in stores around the country, and virtually every store can now order you a copy from their warehouse. We're also getting tons of nice e-mails from people who have already gotten their copies. We really appreciate all your kind words. Every copy that gets sold helps us keep this site alive, so thanks much to all of you who have bought a copy (or plan to). And if you do pick one up, and you find that you enjoy it, please do us a favor and write up a quick review at Amazon.com to let others know that you find it useful. You guys really are the best - we're lucky and grateful to have readers like all of you. We can't thank you enough for all your support.

Well... okay then. We've said our piece for today. Have a great weekend and watch this space for Indy reviews. Cheers!

10/9/03

Well folks, we've been checking in with DreamWorks about this issue with Taken, and now it looks like it might not be the disc at all, but rather a player issue. Here's their latest report:

"We have tried (exhaustively!) to re-create this problem using a variety of DVD players and monitors, but have not been able to. Our C&A facility has tested the streams and confirm everything was encoded and flagged correctly, and that there is no corruption to the stream. Plus, our independent third party QC facility that tests DVDs on a vast array of DVD players that best mimics the consumer marketplace also cannot recreate this anomaly. We have researched this from a hardware perspective and have found that the Pioneer DV-45A, among a few others, has a problem deinterlacing video (it doesn't have motion-adaptive video deinterlacing). There is a special report on hometheaterhifi.com that you can reference."

So it turns out that some progressive scan de-interlacing problems are player specific, at least in the case of Taken. At least two of the players we use at The Bits are having this problem. Here's a link to hometheaterhifi.com's progressive scan primer and a searchable database of players tested for this problem (as well as the guide explaining how the tests were done). Here's the problem - certain players are going to have trouble with certain discs only, so when you have a problem, we recommend that you contact your player manufacturer for an update. Our thanks to the folks at DreamWorks and Deluxe for responding on this so quickly.

Anyway, we also have some new DVD announcements from Warner Bros. for you today. On January 13th, look for Superfly, BAPS, Hangin' with the Homeboys, Let's Do It Again, Piece of the Action, Uptown Saturday Night, Who's the Man? and Woo. Following on January 20th, look for The Accidental Tourist, Best Friends, Everybody's All American, Overnight Delivery and Swing Shift.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 10/8/03 - 2 PM PDT)

Okay, Star Trek fans... as promised, we've just posted our review of Paramount's upcoming Star Trek V: The Final Frontier - Special Collector's Edition. The 2-disc set streets on 10/14. More reviews are on the way, so...

...stay tuned!

(EARLY UPDATE - 10/8/03 - NOON PDT)

Thanks to Bits reader David S, we finally have our first look at the cover artwork for Fox's Lost in Space: The Complete First Season (street date 1/13/04). The 8-disc set will include all 29 first season episodes, plus the unaired pilot episode. Video is black and white full frame with mono audio in English and Spanish (SRP $79.98). Here's that art...

Lost in Space: The Complete First Season

Also today, our friend Gord Lacey over at TVShowsonDVD.com wants everyone to know that Broadway Video Enterprises is asking fans of the Kids in the Hall what they want to see on a DVD set of the series. Here's more from Gord:

"Fans can go to http://www.kidsinthehall.com and register on the site to be notified when the set starts preselling, and they can also take a survey, the results of which will influence the DVD set. Right now they're focusing on season 1, but if there's enough demand they will continue on releasing the show. These are the uncut HBO versions of the episodes. The "Kids" will be in LA shooting bonus material on Oct 8 and 9th for the set. Many of the questions they'll be asked were submitted by fans through the survey on the site."

Very cool news. If you're a fan, be sure to get involved.

Finally this morning, our own Matt Rowe has learned that the complete Lord of the Rings movie soundtrack is going to be released on DVD-Audio format in the first quarter of 2004. You'll find that and more over at our MusicTAP.net site.

Back with more this afternoon, so stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 10/7/03 - NOON PDT)

Just a quick update on that problem we discovered with Taken last night. We're talking with DreamWorks and Deluxe, which did the authoring on the title, in an effort to track the problem down. I can tell you that we've received several e-mails this morning from other online reviewers who have seen the same interlacing problem with progressive scan players. So it looks like there's a some kind of issue here. We'll post more as soon as we hear anything new.

In other news today, it looks our old friend Warren Lieberfarb has joined up with satellite radio service Sirius. He's now on their board of directors. Click here for more on this from Yahoo.

Also today, we have some pictures to share with all of you. Sarah took these at Disney's Lion King DVD premiere event in Hollywood on Friday night. I have to tell you, it was hands down the best digital projection of a film I have ever seen - just breathtaking. The screening was made all the better for the fact that Elton John preformed the songs Can You Feel the Love Tonight? and Circle of Life live on stage after the film. It was a pretty amazing night. You can read our review of the disc here.

We're pretty occupied with this Taken issue today, so our Star Trek V review will probably be bumped until tomorrow.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 10/7/03 - 12:01 AM PDT)

We've just gotten our hands on DreamWorks' new box set of Taken, and we're seeing the same sorts of progressive scanning errors that were visible on Universal's recent release of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. It's not nearly as severe as it was on Meaning of Life, but it's definitely there. The jagged edges are particularly visible on fast moving objects - the UFOs in the opening sequence for example. We're trying to confirm this problem, so if you happen to get your hands on the set (it streets on 10/21), please let us know if you're seeing this issue as well.

Also, just FYI, Columbia TriStar has announced the DVD release of Bonjour Tristesse, Dawson's Creek: The Complete Second Season and Henry Fool for 12/16. Look also for The Best of the Muppet Show: Steve Martin, Jury Duty and The Looking Glass War on 12/9.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 10/6/03 - 4 PM PDT)

Okay... we've just posted a review for Warner's recent Smallville: The Complete First Season 6-disc set. Back with Star Trek V and more tomorrow.

See you then!

(EARLY UPDATE - 10/6/03 - NOON PDT)

Morning everyone! Congrats to all you Cubs, Yankees and Marlins fans. And hats off to my Twins for a great year. October baseball is definitely heating up. ;-)

Thanks to everyone who's e-mailed us over the weekend. We've received hundreds of nice e-mails with encouragement, words of support and general excitement about the book. We've even heard from a number of people who managed to get their copies over the weekend, who seem to have really enjoyed it so far. It means a lot to us, so thank you. Keep sending us your reviews, 'cause we're definitely reading them. We thank all of you very much for buying a copy.

Around the site today, we've updated the CEA DVD Player Sales numbers for the first four weeks of September. With one week to go in the month, the monthly total is already up to a whopping 1,405,112 players shipped from manufacturers to retailers. We've also updated all of the stats we track above, including top ten DVD rentals and sales and more.

In other news, we have a trio of new contests starting today thanks to our friends at Warner Bros. and Disney. We're giving away copies of Absolutely Fabulous, French & Saunders, Dreamcatcher, The Lion King and more! The contest will run until Noon PDT on Saturday, October 11th. Click here to get started and good luck!

Finally this morning, we have some new upcoming DVD release announcements for you. A.D.V. Films will release Beastmaster: Season Three on 11/18, with Sakura Wars TV #6: Curtain Call following on 12/23. Asylum will release From the Grave on 11/4, Speed Demon on 11/11, Monster Hunter on 11/15 and Fourplay on 12/2. Capitol/EMI will debut Duran Duran: The Greatest DVD Video Anthology and One Night with Blue Note: An Historic All Star Reunion Concert on 11/4. Columbia TriStar has added Another Meltdown to its 10/7 slate, Forever Knight: Complete Season One following on 10/21, and Bad Boys II and Gigli on 12/9. Criterion/Home Vision will release Kids for Two Farthings on 10/21. Kultur is releasing Inside Tolkien's The Hobbit and Inside Tolkien's The Return of the King on 11/11. MGM will debut Assassination Tango on 12/9 and Shredder on 12/16. MPI Media will release Dark Shadows: Set #8 on 10/28 and Dark Shadows: Set #9 on 11/25. New Concorde has Book of Days and Legally Exposed due on 12/16. Rhino has set Phil Collins: Serious Hits... Live! for 11/11. And 20th Century Fox will release Christmas with the Simpsons and Olive, The Other Reindeer on 10/14, Christmas Wish (aka: The Great Rupert) and Ox-Bow Incident on 11/4, and Born to be Bad, I was a Male War Bride, Kiss Them for Me, My Darling Clementine, People Will Talk and Shield: Season Two all on 1/6. As we've reported previously, Universal's four versions of American Wedding debut on 1/2.

And once again, Image gets their own paragraph. Look for Lost World: Season One, Meat Rack/Sticks and Stones, Rent a Girl/Aroused/Help Wanted Female, Xotic Xtreme: Ruch Zone - Hawaii, Xotic Xtreme: Wavebreaker - Hawaii, and Xotic Xtreme: X-Girls Island Adventure - Hawaii all on 12/2, The Blot (silent 1921), La Terre (silent 1921), Les Uns et les Autres (French), Lowrider Experience, Mad Love: The Films of Eugeni Bauer: Twilight of a Woman’s Soul (silent 1913), After Death (silent 1915), Dying Swan (silent 1917), Off the Hook: Off the Chain #1, Toute Une Vie (French), Reality and Ultimate Fear of Speed all on 12/9, Best Motoring: Impreza versus Lancer - The Final Round, Best Motoring: The 350 Z Shock, Best Motoring: Tokyo Auto Salon 2003, Merry Widow, Underground Comedy Movie, Underground Comedy Movie (unrated version), Verdi: La Traviata, Robinson Crusoe of Clipper Island and Something to Sing About on 12/16, Beautiful Latin Ladies #2, Five Conversations About Soul, Happy, Sex and Rock ‘n’ Roll: Godsmack and Sex and Rock ‘n’ Roll: Ja Rule on 12/13, and Forts and Castles of Ghana, Hells Angels on Wheels, Last Game: Director’s Cut, Pie in the Sky and Virgin Report (German) on 12/30.

Back with reviews this afternoon. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 10/3/03 - NOON PDT)

We're going to sign off now for the weekend, so we can get started on reviews for next week. If you check back in on Monday, you'll find my reviews of Smallville: The Complete First Season and the Star Trek V: The Final Frontier - Special Collector's Edition. And we'll have many more throughout the week.

But before we go, I need to make a humble plea to all of our readers - especially you longtime readers. Running The Digital Bits has been a long, difficult and often bumpy road, but we keep sticking it out to try and bring you the best coverage of DVD that we can. Those of you who have been with us since 1997 know that we've been in the trenches on this format since the beginning, fighting the good fight with the studios and the industry to keep DVD the best that it can be. In fact, that's been our goal every bit as much as just posting news and reviews. We've tried to be your voice to the industry. Over the years, we've made it a point to keep this site free of pop-ups and other annoying animated advertisements that crawl all over the screen to drive you crazy (and us too). But with online advertising down pretty much across the board, it's been tough to keep the site going, and to keep our servers running smoothly. I'm not exaggerating things to say that The Digital Bits is very much at a crossroads right now. Our current site hosting arrangement is set to end in January and we're struggling to bring in enough advertising to cover our expenses. We've never asked you guys for a dime in nearly six years of doing this. But we need your help now. Please show your support for our work here at The Bits by picking up a copy of our new book, The Digital Bits: Insider's Guide to DVD, either at your local bookstore starting next week or now on Amazon.com. $17.95 is not much to ask for six years of the best free DVD coverage we know how to bring you, and we think you'll be getting a pretty darned good book in return. We know that some of you are probably sick of hearing about the book by now, but its success really is important to our survival, so we have to talk about it. If you like the book, give it a nice review at Amazon. If you find it useful, pick up a copy for your friend. If your Dad's a gadget head, and whose dad isn't, pick him up a copy for the holidays. We really, REALLY appreciate your support guys. We wrote this book for you, and put all our hearts into it. Please pick up a copy if you can. I know I speak for everyone here at The Bits when I say that we're absolutely grateful for all of you readers out there, whereever you may be. So from all of us... thank you.

We leave you today with some new upcoming DVD cover art - Fox's My Darling Clementine (1/6) and Christmas with the Simpsons (10/14), and Disney's Freaky Friday (12/16).

My Darling ClementineChristmas with the SimpsonsFreaky Friday (2003)

Man, I can't wait for Clementine! I've been looking forward to seeing that film on DVD forever. It's one of John Ford's best works in my humble opinion. Match that with Paramount's Once Upon a Time in the West and you've got two of the best Westerns ever, both starring Henry Fonda (playing a good guy and a bad-ass bad guy respectively). You definitely don't want to miss them when they're released.

Now then... have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday with lots more shiny DVD goodness. Cheers!

(LATE UPDATE - 10/3/03 - 11 AM PDT)

We've been getting a lot of e-mails today from readers wondering about this story that appeared over at News.com. It's about how DivX is courting the movie studios, hoping to become a technology partner in the effort to bridge the Internet and television. But this is NOT the same Divx as the now defunct pay-per-view "enhancement" of DVD that Circuit City tried to shove in everyone's faces in the early days of DVD. This DivX is simply a video compression standard that has become common on the Internet for video downloading. The only thing it has in common with the Circuit City effort is the name... in fact, we understand it was named DivX as a deliberate jab at the Circuit City format. Anyway, DivX is trying to partner with Hollywood so that the studios will use the compression standard for the online streaming of movies and TV programming, and they've inked a deal with Royal Philips Electronics to create a DivX-certified DVD player, which is now available in Europe. That means the player could play a DivX-encoded video file on disc, much like many players can now read burned CDs with MP3 files on them.

So anyway, we just wanted to clarify this. There's no reason to fear that pay-per-view DVD is making a comeback. In fact, the closest thing would be Disney's self-destructing, rental EZ-Ds and those aren't doing well in the test markets according to recent reports in Video Business and other industry trades. No surprise there.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 10/3/03 - 12:01 AM PDT)

We've been getting a lot of e-mails from readers this morning about our new DVD book. It seems that Amazon.com has informed them that their pre-ordered copies have finally been shipped and are now in the mail. That means the book is now officially IN STOCK at Amazon! Other book stores should have it out on their shelves starting next week. Please let us know when you're able to find it and, of course, what you think of it. Thanks for the reports everyone! ;-)

Just a quick note this morning about the new Sting SACD, which is in stores now. Sacred Love is available in TWO versions on disc - a standard CD and a hybrid stereo/multi-channel SACD (with a standard CD layer). If you're looking for the SACD, look for the version in Digipak packaging. The regular CD comes in plastic jewel case.

Also, Warner Bros has informed us of the details on those "DVD Decision 2003" winning titles that street on 1/6. Days of Wine and Roses will include commentary by Blake Edwards, and interview with Jack Lemmon and two theatrical trailers. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde will include both the 1932 Paramount uncut long version and the 1941 MGM remake, along with commentary by film historian Greg Mank, the Bugs Bunny animated short Hyde and Hare, and the theatrical trailer. The Postman Always Rings Twice will feature an introduction by film historian Richard Jewell, The John Garfield Story documentary (narrated by daughter Julie Garfield), a "behind the scenes" image gallery, and two theatrical trailers. The Wind and the Lion will include commentary by writer/director John Milius, a "behind the scenes" featurette and the theatrical trailer. And finally, Where the Boys Are will include audio commentary, the Fort Lauderdale Scene of the World Premiere featurette, and the Where the Boys Were: A Retrospective featurette. To those who voted over at AOL, nice picks.

And there's another story - this one at the Hollywood Reporter - on the fallout from the MPAA's crusade to eliminate screener DVDs from the Hollywood awards season landscape. The gist is that a lot of smaller movies probably won't get seen my voters because of this.

Stay tuned...


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