At long last,
Tuesday has arrived! For those of you who have been living under a
rock for the last few months, New Line is screening the ENTIRE Lord
of the Rings trilogy today, one time only, in selected
theaters around the world. Both The
Fellowship of the Ring and The Two
Towers will be shown in their longer, extended edition
versions, followed by the theatrical debut of The
Return of the King. Matt and I were lucky enough to score a
pair of tickets during the scant hour they were available, so we're off
to the AMC 30 at the Block in Orange, CA for more than 12 hours of Rings
goodness. Our asses will be dearly sore at this time tomorrow, but as
we'll be well into Return of the King
by then, you can bet neither of us will be complaining. Thousands of
people around the world will line up to catch Midnight shows of the film
as well this evening. Yessir, good clean fun at the movies is definitely
the air and you just can't beat that for our two cents. A quick check of
shows the film is 100% fresh, with 37 reviews in the can, so we're
betting the farm that the wait was worth it. We'll let you know. ;-)
We're not going to leave you high and dry though. We've got a quick
Mill post up today, and I think you Matrix
fans are going to like it. Nuff said.
Also today, we've updated the
DVD Player Sales numbers to include the final week of
November, ending 11/21. Some 945,775 players were shipped from
manufacturers to retailers here in the States during the week, taking
the monthly total for November to a whopping 3,682,691. That's a single
month record for the DVD format. That also pushes the total for the year
to 18,967,306 (also a record for a single year) and the format total to
date to a hefty 62,686,044 units. All that with still a month to go.
We'll be back tomorrow with a new DVD review, an interview and more.
Maybe we'll even post a Return of the King
review, if we can shake off the exhaustion induced stupor by then. See
you Wednesday... unless we see you at the theater first!
There's great news for you Chaplin fans today. Warner has just
announced the DVD release of The Chaplin
Collection, Volume 2 for 3/2 (SRP $99.92). The multi-disc set
will include new special editions of The
Chaplin Revue, The Circus,
City Lights, The
Kid, King in New York/A Woman of
Paris and Monsieur Verdoux,
as well as the Charlie: The Life and Art of
Charles Chaplin documentary.
New Line has also announced the DVD release of The
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) for release on 3/30, in single
disc and 2-disc Platinum Series editions. The single disc edition (SRP
$22.99) will include and anamorphic widescreen version of the theatrical
edition of the film, along with Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and DTS 6.1 ES
audio, the theatrical trailer, 7 TV spots and the Motorgrater Suffocate
music video. The 2-disc edition ($39.92) will include anamorphic
widescreen video of the theatrical edition of the film, Dolby Digital
5.1 EX and DTS 6.1 ES audio, deleted scenes, an alternate opening and
ending to the film, the Making of the Film
documentary, the Gein: The Ghoul of
Plainfield - The True Story Behind the Movie featurette, 3
filmmaker commentaries (with Michael Bay, Marcus Nispel and more), cast
screen tests, art galleries, 7 TV spots, the theatrical trailer, the
Motorgrater Suffocate music video
Also today, we have word that Disney's Brother
Bear: Special Edition will street on 3/30. The 2-disc set
will SRP for $29.99, and will include both anamorphic widescreen and
full frame video, audio commentary with the "moose" co-stars
of the film (Rutt and Tuke), animated outtakes exclusive to the DVD,
deleted scenes, the all-new Fishing Song
sung by Phil Collins, the Paths of Discovery:
The Making of Brother Bear documentary, 2 interactive games
and much more.
In other news today, Lord of the Rings
director Peter Jackson has now said in interviews that he expects The
Return of the King: Special Extended DVD Version to be MORE
than 4 hours and 15 minutes long (this particular
is in Danish). Thanks to Bits
reader Michael N. for the spot. Still more on this comes from the latest
edition of Video Store magazine
(the December 14-20 issue) in which Jackson says there's about a hour of
finished deleted scenes, at least half of which will go into the
extended cut. These include a 7-minute sequence with Saruman at
Isengard, a scene with Frodo and Sam disguised as orcs (and actually
ending up in the orc army for a time), and a funny scene between Legolas
and Gimli involving a drinking game. So could we be looking at a 5-disc
set, with the movie spread over 3 discs? Even with the best MPEG-2
compression in the business, that's a LOT of film to try to squeeze on 2
discs, given that you'll probably also have Dolby Digital and DTS sound
as well as multiple audio commentary tracks. Regardless of what ends up
in the extended DVD, no doubt the remaining shot but unused scenes will
still find their way to DVD eventually in some new incarnation. Can you
imagine The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
in HD-DVD? ;-)
We've got some new announcements for you today. Columbia TriStar will
release Motives, My
Life Without Me, Just One of the
Guys, The Chase and
The Kiss on 2/24. Paramount will
release Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star,
Permanent Record and We're
No Angels on 2/17, with Brother
Sun, Sister Moon and The Ten
Commandments: Special Collector's Edition following on 3/9.
And 20th Century Fox will release Black Widow,
Crimes of the Heart, Dying
Young, The Good Son,
Judgement in Berlin and Nell
on 2/3, Peyton Place on 3/2, Futurama:
Volume 3 on 3/9 and Happily Ever
After on 3/16.
We've got some new cover art for you this afternoon as well. Here's
The Chaplin Collection, Volume 2,
Brother Bear: Special Edition,
Northfork (12/30), In
the Cut: Unrated Director's Edition (2/3), My
Life Without Me and Kung Fu: The
Complete First Season (3/16)...
Finally today, we've kicked off three new Contests.
We have a Warner
contest in which we're giving away the new 2-disc special editions
of JFK, The
Color Purple, Amadeus,
One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and
The Right Stuff. We have
Disney in which we're giving away copies of the Frank
and Ollie: Special Edition. We've also got
an MGM contest
featuring the new Escape from New York:
Special Edition. The contests run until Noon PDT on Saturday,
December 20th, so get your entries in fast! As always, you'll find the
winners of the previous contests in
Here's a cool little detail for you folks who have been waiting to see
3-D tackled on DVD on a major title. Buena Vista's upcoming Spy
Kids 3-D: Game Over will have two version of the film - one
normal and one in 3-D, complete with 4 pairs of 3-D glasses in every
package! Plus, there's more 3-D footage on the DVD than was seen in
theaters. Other extras will include director's commentary and more
behind-the scenes footage. Street date is 3/3 (SRP $29.99).
I would really love to see, for example, IMAX
Space Station, which was in amazing 3-D in its theatrical
release, issued on DVD with this kind of 3-D treatment. Warner - you
guys have the IMAX space thing going. How's about a DVD with full frame
and anamorphic widescreen version of the film, both in 3-D? Get working
on that, okay? Universal, what about Creature
from the Black Lagoon in its original 3-D? Hell, all of the
Universal Classic Monster titles need to be re-released again, with some
new additions to boot.
Speaking of Universal, we have a rundown for you of all the studio's
titles announced so far for 2004. On 1/2, look for American
Wedding in rated and unrated versions, Tremors
4: The Legend Begins, and several DVD "value packs"
featuring 2 Fast 2 Furious/Spy Game,
8 Mile/How High, Biker
Boyz/Head of State, The
Hulk/Jurassic Park III, The Mummy
Returns/The Musketeer, Scarface/The
Fast and the Furious and The
Scorpion King/Brotherhood of the Wolf. On 1/6, look for The
Anarchist Cookbook and lower prices on a whole range of
titles including A.I., Meaning
of Life and MANY other titles. 1/13 will see the release of
Bring It On Again, Johnny
English and Swimming Pool.
Then on 1/20, look for An American Tail,
An American Tail: Fievel Goes West,
An American Tail: Fievel Goes West,
An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan
Island, Biloxi Blues,
Night, The Little Rascals,
Repo Man, Stop!
Or My Mom Will Shoot and Tresspass.
Moving on to February, on on 2/3 look for Lost
in Translation and A Wedding for
Bella. 2/10 will see Intolerable
Cruelty, The Shrink is In,
Sitting Ducks, Sylvia,
a re-promotion of previous Best Picture winning films from the studio,
and those "franchise collection" titles including The
Adventures of Ma and Pa Kettle: Volume 1, Airport
Terminal Pack, The Best of Abbott
and Costello: Volume 1, Franklin:
Favorite Turtle Tales, Good
Morning Maisy, Good Night Maisy,
Imitation of Life: Two Movie Collection
and Play Time Maisy. Then on 2/24,
you'll get Fear of the Dark.
Titles announced so far for March include King
Ralph, Mad Dog and Glory,
Melvin and Howard, and more "franchise
collection" titles including Dragonheart:
2 Legendary Tales, Problem Child
Tantrum Pack and The Flintstones
Yabba Dabba 2 Pack on 3/2. On 3/9, you'll get No
Turning Back. Rounding things out on 3/23 will be Beyond
the Mat Ringside Special Edition, The
Rundown and The Skulls III.
You can also expect Schindler's List
on 3/9 according to Amazon, but it hasn't officially been announced yet
by the studio.
In terms of other studios, from Showtime look for Queer
as Folk: The Complete Third Season on 2/24. And from Fox,
Futurama: Season Three on 3/9.
Futurama will feature audio
commentary with the show's creators on every episode, plus storyboard
images, deleted scenes, international clips, Easter eggs and more.
By the way, if you want to see our own Adam Jahnke trying his hand at a
music CD review, check how his thoughts on Leon Redbone's
Island over at our
Just so you know, now that most of us are past this flu, we'll get back
to posting DVD reviews next week. Never fear. ;-)
See you back here on Monday! Have a great weekend!
This would technically qualify as Rumor Mill
worthy, but for ease of posting, we're going to mention it here.
Hollywood Reporter ran a story yesterday on videogame licenses
of Hollywood movies. The story focuses on Electronic Arts, and in
particular mentions their recent Lord of the
Rings games designed to tie into the film releases. Here's
the interesting passage DVD-wise:
"Looking ahead to next year, EA has The
Lord of the Rings Trilogy game shipping next fall, which should fit
in nicely with the anticipated DVD release of The Return of the King."
rumors have a DVD release of the film set for May 2004, which
would make sense if that's referring to the 2-disc Theatrical Version.
Then, say August or September (read "next fall"), New Line
releases the 4-disc Special Extended DVD Edition of the film. So that's
a pretty good guess as to when you might expect to be enjoying the King
Our friends over at the always excellent TVShowsonDVD
site are reporting that Columbia TriStar's News
Radio: Seasons 1 & 2 has being delayed. No word yet on a
new street date. They also have details on Kung
Fu: The Complete First Season (due to street on 3/16 from
Warner), as well as a possible A-Team
release and information on The Dick Van Dyke
Show: Season Three (due on 2/24 from Image). Do check it out.
Interested in Anchor Bay's new Time Bandits:
Divimax Special Edition? The 2-disc set streets on 1/27 for
an SRP of $24.98. It includes anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital
5.1 Surround EX audio, an interview with Michael Palin and Terry
Gilliam, The Directors: The Films of Terry
Gilliam career retrospective documentary, a Terry Gilliam
bio, theatrical trailers, a collector's booklet with liner notes, a
fold-out "Map of the Universe" and the original screenplay
accessible via DVD-ROM. By the way, a Divimax edition of Dead
Heat (1988) is coming from the Bay on the same day.
Here's the cover art for Time Bandits,
along with a pair of great upcoming titles from Image Entertainment:
Sarah McLachlan: VH-1 Storytellers
(due 1/6) and the aforementioned Dick Van
Dyke Show: Season Three.
We have some more new DVD announcements for you. New March and April
catalog DVD releases from Buena Vista will include The
Gnome-Mobile, Miracle of the White
Stallions, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride,
American Dream and Picture
Bride on 3/2 (we expect more titles to be announced soon). On
4/6, you'll get Angels in the Endzone,
Angels in the Infield, Before
and After, Blaze, An
Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, Deceived,
The Doctor, Father
Hood, Hello Again, Jefferson
in Paris, A Pyromaniac's Love
Story, Shoot to Kill
and Son of Flubber.
Finally this morning, Columbia TriStar will release Mambo
Italiano, Masked and Anonymous,
The Front, Nina
Takes a Lover and Under Pressure
(LATE UPDATE - 12/10/03 - NOON PST)
Thanks to all you loyal Bits
readers, we have some updated Zatoichi
DVD release information. We've learned that Media Blasters will release
Zatoichi (1989) on DVD on 2/24,
while Miramax will release Beat Takashi's Zatoichi
(2003) into theaters in the U.S. in June 2004, with a DVD release to
follow later in the year. We're still trying to learn more about Zatoichi's
Pilgrimage (1966) or the TV series, so if you know anything,
us a line. Our
DVD Primer has been updated, so be sure to give it another
look. Thanks to the many readers and industry insiders who have e-mailed
us so far.
Congratulations once again to all the winners of this year's
Exclusive Awards, which were shown last night on FX. Darned if it
wasn't a pretty nicely produced show. Special congratulations to DVD
producers Charles de Lauzirika and Michael Pellerin, friends of The
Bits both, who were recognized for their stellar work on the
Alien Quadrilogy and The
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - Special Extended DVD Edition
respectively. Hats off guys!
Hey... while I've got your attention, how about a little more DVD
release news? Expected from Columbia TriStar on 2/17 are The
Front (SRP $24.96), Nina Takes a
Lover ($19.95), Under Pressure
($24.96), Mambo Italiano ($26.96)
and Masked and Anonymous ($24.96).
(EARLY UPDATE - 12/10/03
- 12:01 AM PST)
We've said it before and we'll say it again. It's the little things
that make life grand. The little pleasures... like steaming hot rhubarb
pie, killer klowns, spaghetti westerns or a good giant robot flick. But
nothing, and we mean nothing, is better than watching a blind samurai
kicking all kinds of ass in the comfort of your own home theater. Todd
knows it's true, I know it's true... we've even gotten Matt to see the
Of course, there's only one blind samurai worth his salt... the
legendary Zatoichi, as only the late, great Shintaro Katsu could play
him. Several Zatoichi films are
now available on DVD, and if they're not part of your video library
already... well, that's why we're your friends here at The
Bits. It's our responsibility to remind you of the importance
of such things, so your other so-called friends don't shake their heads
in sadness and just give up on you.
Anyway, as I was saying, several Zatoichi
films are now available on DVD, and more are on the way from both Home
Vision and AnimEigo. So here's a freshly updated list of the DVD release
status of the 26 films in this series. Titles in white
are available now from Home
Vision. Titles in yellow are
available now from AnimEigo.
Titles in gray are coming soon - street date and distributor are
listed if known. The titles listed in red
do not yet have a U.S. distributor. Note that these are the U.S.
1 - The Tale of Zatoichi (1962)
2 - The Tale of Zatoichi Continues
3 - New Tale of Zatoichi (1963)
4 - The Fugitive (1963)
5 - On the Road (1963)
6 - Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold
7 - Zatoichi's Flashing Sword
8 - Fight, Zatoichi, Fight (1964)
9 - The Adventures of Zatoichi
10 - Zatoichi's Revenge (1965)
11 - Zatoichi and the Doomed Man
12 - Zatoichi and the Chess Expert (1965) - coming 5/18 from
13 - Zatoichi's Vengeance (1966) - coming 5/18 from Home Vision
14 - Zatoichi's Pilgrimage (1966)
- available on DVD in R2, R1 distributor/status unknown
15 - Zatoichi's Cane Sword (1967) - coming 5/18 from Home
16 - Zatoichi the Outlaw (1967)
17 - Zatoichi Challenged (1967) - coming in late 2004 from Home
18 - Zatoichi and the Fugitives (1968) - coming in late 2004
from Home Vision
19 - Zatoichi the Samaritan (1968) - coming in late 2004 from
20 - Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo
21 - Zatoichi at the Fire Festival (1970) - coming 12/19 from
22 - Zatoichi and the One-Armed Swordsman (1971) - coming 4/19
23 - Zatoichi at Large (1972) - coming 1/5 from AnimEigo
24 - Zatoichi in Desperation (1972) - coming 3/8 from AnimEigo
25 - Zatoichi's Conspiracy (1973) - coming 3/31 from AnimEigo
26 - Zatoichi (1989) - coming on 2/24 from Media Blasters
Z1 - Zatoichi Monogatari
(1974-1979) - Japanese TV series/100 hour-long episodes - status unknown
Z2 - Zatoichi (2003) - film remake by Beat Takashi - coming in
2004 from Miramax
Z3 - The World of Zatoichi (2003)
- hour-long Japanese TV documentary - R1 status unknown
As we've shown in the list above, Zatoichi's
Pilgrimage (1966) is currently available in Region 2, but not
in Region 1. We do not know who holds the DVD release rights in R1.
We've learned that Media
Blasters has obtained the DVD release rights to Zatoichi
(1989) and plans to release it on DVD on 2/24, in anamorphic widescreen
video (1.85:1). Audio will be Dolby Digital in Japanese with English
subtitles. Extras will include a photo gallery and liner notes by Inside
Kung-Fu columnist and Martial Arts
Movies author Ric Meyers. That comes straight from Media
Blasters president Carl Morano. All of the other titles coming soon from
Home Vision and
AnimEigo will be
released in anamorphic widescreen video, and all of the currently
available DVD are anamorphic save for The
Tale of Zatoichi (1962) and The
Tale of Zatoichi Continues (1962). We'd love to see those
remastered in anamorphic at some point by Home Vision, as they are (to
our knowledge) available in Japan in 16x9.
In addition to the original 26 films, there was a Japanese TV series in
the 1970s, featuring Shintaro Katsu as Zatoichi, we believe called Zatoichi
Monogatari. Some 100 hour-long episodes in all were aired
from 1974 to 1979. VHS copies of the TV series episodes are occasionally
available on eBay, although the legality of these is probably dubious at
best. We'd like to see restored, legal copies of the series released on
DVD for all to enjoy.
More recently, a new "remake" film has been shown in theaters
in Japan, called simply Zatoichi.
It's written and directed by Takeshi Kitano (also known as Beat
Takeshi), and stars him in the title role. We have learned that
has obtained the U.S. theatrical and DVD rights to the film, and
will release it in theaters on 6/4 (with a DVD likely to follow later in
the year). The film is already set for DVD release in Region 2 (from
Bandai) on 3/11 as a 2-disc set. If you're interested in this film,
great article on how Kitano got involved in the project at Time
In conjunction with the new film, an hour-long documentary on the Zatoichi
films was shown on TV in Japan, called The
World of Zatoichi (a.k.a. Zatoichi
no Sekai). It's available in Japan on DVD (Region 2), but
unfortunately is not subtitled in English to our knowledge. We have no
knowledge of a U.S. release. A series of three, limited edition Zatoichi
Collection (Zatoichi Zenshu)
DVD box sets is also currently available in Japan (Region 2). They each
contain 6 films from the series remastered in anamorphic widescreen, but
are again not subtitled in English to our knowledge. Together the three
sets contain 24 films from the series, save for (we believe)
Zatoichi's Pilgrimage (1966) and
Zatoichi (1989). Each box also
contains the documentary. Again, there is no planned U.S. release for
If anyone out there knows who holds the Region 1/U.S. DVD release
rights for Zatoichi's Pilgrimage
(1966), and the Zatoichi Monogatari
TV series, please
us know. In addition, anything you can tell us about the Japanese
documentary and the three Japanese DVD box sets would be greatly
While we're on the subject, here's a little trivia for you. Star
Shintaro Katsu himself directed Zatoichi in
Desperation and the final film in the series, Zatoichi,
but he choreographed nearly all of the sword fights in the films
himself. He also produced several of the films, and he produced the
popular Lone Wolf and Cub series
of films as well, which starred Katsu's older brother, Wakayama
Tomisaburo. It may surprise you to learn that Katsu was originally to
have played the title role in Akira Kurosawa's 1980 Kagemusha
(the role was written for him). It was eventually played by Tatsuya
Nakadai, when Katsu and Kurosawa were unable to resolve a conflict in
their work methods. Another long time Kurosawa collaborator, Toshirô
Mifune, starred with Katsu in two films: the 1970 Zatoichi
Meets Yojimbo (produced by Katsu, in which Mifune reprised
his role from Kurosawa's original 1961 Yojimbo)
and the unrelated Incident at Blood Pass
(which Mifune produced). For those who may be interested, both the Lone
Wolf and Cub series and Incident
at Blood Pass are distributed in the U.S. by
will eventually be released on DVD.
So there you go... everything you need to know about Zatoichi
on DVD. When we learn more about those titles that remain in question,
we'll post it here. I think maybe our next DVD book needs to have a
special chapter called "Zatoichi Kicks Ass". What do you
(LATE UPDATE -
12/9/03 - NOON PST)
We have a few more interesting items for you today. First up, Universal
is finally shipping the corrected V2 replacements for the defective Disc
One in their Monty Python's The Meaning of
Life release. As you may remember, the first batch of
replacements contained the same error as the original disc, causing
problems for viewers with progressive scan DVD players. You'll be happy
to know, however, that the new replacements are perfect. I've received
my copy and have checked it myself - the picture looks great. We've been
getting e-mails from many other readers who have also gotten the new
fixed versions and are satisfied with them. If you haven't yet sent in
your defective copy for replacement, now's the time to do it. You can
contact Universal's customer service people to arrange the exchange at
That's a mouthful, but it'll get the job done. ;-)
Filmforce has posted a good interview with Lord
of the Rings director Peter Jackson. In the text, Jackson
talks about the extended DVD versions of his films (including Return
of the King), as well as the cuts he made to the final
chapter of his film trilogy. It's well worth a read.
Speaking of Return of the King,
we've been getting TONS of e-mails from readers who have seen the film
at various early press and charity screenings held by New Line. The buzz
is, this is the best film of the trio and the perfect way to round out
the trilogy. Matt and I are waiting to see the film on 12/16, when we'll
brave the 12+ hour Trilogy Tuesday screening in Orange, CA. Maybe we'll
see you there!
We have a little more upcoming DVD cover art for you to check out
today. Here's a look at Universal's Johnny
English (1/13) and Intolerable
Cruelty (2/10), as well as Columbia TriStar's The
Gods Must Be Crazy I & II (2/3)...
We have a few more upcoming DVD release announcements for you today as
well. Artisan Entertainment has set American
Chopper: The Series - Black Widow, American
Chopper: The Series - Fire Bike and Babar:
The Movie for release on 1/20. Buena Vista will release Only
the Strong Survive on 2/3, with Cold
Creek Manor and Duplex
following on 3/2. Elite Entertainment has Monsturd
set for 2/3. Fantoma is releasing One from
the Heart on 1/27. Image Entertainment has added Emperor
Jones and Import Flava
to its 11/25 slate. MGM has announced Pieces
of April for 2/17, with Camp
following on 2/24, and Carbon Copy,
Dog Time, Spacecamp,
Take This Job and Shove It, Walk
Like a Man and Without a Clue
all due on 3/2. New Video will release My
Knees Were Jumping: Remembering the Kindertranspots and Radio
Bikini on 12/30. New Yorker has Underground
due on 12/23 and Boys of St. Vincent
following on 2/17. 20th Century Fox will release Le
Divorce on 1/27, Vanishing Point
on 2/3, Runaway Jury on 2/17, and
Belles on Their Toes and Cheaper
by the Dozen on 3/16. Finally, Wellspring will release Madame
Sata on 1/13.
Don't forget that the DVD Exclusive Awards will be broadcast tonight on
FX (at 8 PM ET/PT).
(EARLY UPDATE - 12/9/03
- 12:01 AM PST)
I wanted to drop in here with a quick update this morning to let you
all know that Amazon.com is now showing Steven Spielberg's Schindler's
List as set for release on March 9th. There's been no
official word on a street date yet from Universal, but you can expect
that to follow soon. In the meantime, Amazon is reporting three versions
of the film on DVD... separate
widescreen releases priced at SRP $26.98 each, as well as a
edition gift set containing (presumably) the widescreen version
plus other extras (SRP $79.98). Just thought you'd like the heads-up.
Thanks to Bits reader Carlen D.
for the spot.
By the way, did any of you sit through part one of Sci-Fi's new Battlestar
Galactica miniseries last night? Gods... I haven't been that
bored watching TV in a very long time. What a total snore fest. Two
hours and almost nothing happened... then, when it did, it was all off
screen. The shaky, gun camera cinematography to the battle footage was
cool, but that's about it. Don't think I'll be tuning in for part two.
What's the deal with Sci-Fi these days anyway? It's all this
pseudo-science reality-style crappola. Bryant Gumbel tracking down UFOs,
some half-baked schmoe guessing the names of your deal loved ones, or
watching people get the piss scared out of them by Shannon Doherty. Plus
the occasional B-grade "original" film... and about a hundred
hours of that Stargate TV show
every week. Yikes.
We've got another new TAP SACD
review for you this morning - Grey Cavitt's take on the Dylan classic
and Theft, newly reissued in high resolution by Columbia
More later. Stay tuned...
Well... flu season's hit The Bits
with a vengeance as it always seems to in December. Matt's been under
for a few days now, Todd's down but good and, at the moment, I'm lucky
to have good hearing in one ear. I've spent most of the last weekend
buried under a mountain of blankets, trying to sleep it off. Some of the
rest of the staff has struggled with the flu in recent weeks as well.
Hey... at least it only seems to happen once a year.
Anyway, sick or not, we've got some ground to cover today, so let's get
First up, 20th Century Fox has revealed two great upcoming DVD
releases. On February 17th, they'll release Runaway
Jury in both anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions.
There's no word yet on SRP or extras (Amazon.com has it priced for
rental at the moment, but that will no doubt change soon). On January
27th, the studio will release Thirteen
(SRP $27.95), which will include both anamorphic widescreen and full
frame on the same disc, along with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1. Extras
will include audio commentary by director/co-writer Catherine Hardwicke
and co-writer/actress Nikki Reed, another commentary featuring actors
Evan Rachel Wood and Brady Corbet, deleted scenes with optional
commentary, a making of featurette, a theatrical trailer and 2 Easter
eggs. Here's cover art for both:
As you may have noticed, we've also included art for AnimEigo's Zatoichi
the Outlaw, now available from
the company's website, as well as a trio of new Criterion titles,
Richard III, Maîtresse
and Pickup on South Street (all
due in February).
Speaking of Zatoichi, I've just
gotten word from Home Vision that three more titles in the series will
street on May 18th (we'll post the specific titles soon).
Also today, I wanted to post a couple of fun pictures. On Friday night,
Warner Brothers held a special cast reunion screening of A
Christmas Story at the Pacific Arclight theater in L.A..
Thanks to this flu, I was unable to attend (and it killed me, let me
tell you - I love this film), but I wanted to share a group shot taken
at the event. Left to right, here's R.D. Robb (Schwartz), Ian Petrella
(Randy Parker), Peter Billingsley (Ralphie), Bob Clark
(director/co-producer/co-writer), Scott Schwartz (Flick) and Zack Ward
Then on Saturday night, one of my best friends on planet Earth, David
Hovde (you Santa Barbara area readers might recognize him as the chief
meteorologist for KSBY TV),
got to co-host a Unity Shoppe telethon on KETY TV... with none other
than John Cleese (among others). So here's a pic you Python
fans will appreciate.
In other news today,
Engineering.com has a story on the approval of the HD-DVD
format that's worth a look.
Business is carrying a story on Blockbuster calling for an end
to region-coding... if you can believe that or not. You'll need to
register for that second story, but it's free and the piece is
definitely worth reading.
We also have a couple of interesting links in
Rumor Mill today, which will definitely be of interest to fans
of Star Wars, Lord
of the Rings and Babylon 5.
Don't miss them.
We've kicked off FOUR new
today. You'll have the chance to win copies of Warner's The
Ben Stiller Show, A Christmas
Story and other great holiday titles, MGM's To
Live and Die in L.A. and Fox's Buffy
the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Fifth Season and Firefly:
The Complete Series. We've also
the winners of our previous contests, so be sure to check that
Finally today, don't forget to check out our
of the Month for December - Emily Hare from the UK. She draws
great portraits of Lord of the Rings
characters and does animal portraits as well for those of your who are
looking for gift ideas. The pencil sketches for both start at only $86,
so it's very affordable. I know you Rings
fans are always looking for that unique item to add to your collection.
Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned...!
Here's a little something to get you Lord of
the Ring fans even more excited than you probably already
are. The theatrical edition of The Return of
the King reportedly clocks in at 210 minutes - or 3 and 1/2
hours long. Still not enough for you? Well, director Peter Jackson,
speaking to the press in New Zealand this week (according to The
Hollywood Reporter) reportedly hinted that The
Return of the King: Special Extended DVD Edition, due to be
released next year, could clock in at over 4 hours long! Set to be added
back into the film are a number of scenes, including one (much talked
about online recently) involving the fate of Saruman at Isengard. This
is also being reported at
(which just so happens to be a great site to visit for the latest Rings
information these days).
Around the Net this morning, there's
good roundtable discussion at The Hollywood Reporter on
the future of the DVD format. The discussion features the home
entertainment presidents of five major studios (Universal's Craig
Kornblau, Buena Vista's Bob Chapek, DreamWorks' Kelley Avery, Artisan's
Steve Beeks and Fox's Mike Dunn). Of note is mention by Chapek that
Buena Vista studio projections predict that the DVD format will peak in
2007: "Hopefully somewhere around that time we'll have the next
generation DVD format." Fox's Mike Dunn adds a reassurance we've
been told by industry insiders as well, specifically that the next
generation format will be backwards compatible with existing DVD.
Finally this morning, we have a quick heads-up for all you L.A. area
Bits fans. Our own
Jahnke is going to be appearing with Troma's Lloyd Kaufman at
Borders Books in Santa Monica tonight, to sign copies of Make
Your Own Damn Movie!: Secrets of a Renegade Director (Adam
was a coauthor on the book and has been a Troma insider for many years).
The fun begins at 7:30 PM. Borders is located at 1415 Third Street
Promenade, Santa Monica, CA 90401 (310) 393-9290. Drop on by and say
hello! For more information on this and other upcoming appearances with
Lloyd, be sure to visit
link at the Troma website.
(LATE UPDATE -
12/4/03 - 2 PM PST)
Okay... we want to start this morning by congratulating the big winners
of Tuesday night's DVD Exclusive Awards,
held here in Los Angeles. You'll be able to watch the program yourself
on cable's FX network on Tuesday, December 9 (at 8 PM ET/PT). Fox's Alien
Quadrilogy and New Line's The Lord
of the Rings: The Two Towers - Special Extended DVD Edition
both won two awards, while Disney and Pixar's Finding
Nemo took home three. Alien
Quadrilogy won Best Overall DVD,
Classic Movie and Best Audio
Commentary, while Two Towers
took home Best Overall DVD, New Movie
and Best New Movie Scenes. Nemo
walked away with Best Menu Design,
Best Games and Interactivities and
Best Deleted Scenes, Outtakes and Bloopers.
Other winners on the night included MGM's West
Side Story for Best
Behind-the-Scenes Program and Image's The
Dick Van Dyke Show - Season One for Best
Overall DVD, TV Program. Additional awards were given in
several "direct to DVD" categories as well, and director
Ridley Scott received a special Director's Focus Award for his
contributions to the DVD format. Congratulations to all the nominees and
winners from everyone here at The Digital
Bits. You can find on this event at
And be sure to tune in next Tuesday night to see host Jenny McCarthy
appear on stage in a dress made of nothing but DVDs. No kidding. Here's
a sneak peek...
My, my, my... this format's sure come a long way, hasn't it? Anyone
remember when some major studios were still claiming DVD would be just a
On to DVD release news. You Penn & Teller fans will be happy to
know that the first season of Showtime's Penn
& Teller: Bullshit! will be released on DVD in the the
2nd Qtr of 2004. The news comes direct from
duo's official website.
In other DVD announcements, 20th Century Fox will release Runaway
Jury on 2/17, with Futurama,
Volume 3 following on 3/9. To capitalize on all the Paris
Hilton infamy, The Simple Life
will debut on DVD from Fox on 1/20. And on 3/23, look for Cops:
Bad Girls, Cops: Caught In the Act
and Cops: Shots Fired.
Columbia TriStar will debut Radio
on DVD on 1/27. The film will be presented in anamorphic widescreen
video, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include deleted scenes,
a blooper reel, audio commentary with the director, producer and
cinematographer, 3 featurettes (Football: It
Ain't All Fun and Games, Righting
Radio and Tuning In: The Making of
Radio), and the theatrical trailer.
Other Columbia TriStar titles on the way include Lucky
Seven, Sin, The
Gods Must Be Crazy I & II, The
Animal: Uncut Special Edition, Labyrinth
Collector's Edition Box Set, The
Best of the Muppets Show: George Burns, Cyborg
009: The Battle Begins, Cyborg
009: Good vs. Evil, Cyborg 009:
Unedited and Uncut, Good Times:
The Complete Second Season, News
Radio: The Complete First and Second Seasons and What's
Happening: The First Season, all on 2/3. Following on 2/10
are In the Cut (R-rated) and In
the Cut: Director's Edition (Uncut), Once
Upon a Time in the Midlands and Returner.
Also today, just announced from Criterion are DVD releases of Maîtresse
(catalog no. 223), Diary of a Country Priest
(222), Tunes of Glory (225), Pickup
on South Street (224), Le Corbeau
(227), Salvatore Giuliano (228)
and Richard III (213), all set for
Here's a look at the cover art for Radio,
News Radio: The Complete First and Second
Seasons and 20th Century Fox's new Planet
of the Apes: 35th Anniversary Special Edition (due on 2/3).
Around the site today, we've updated all the DVD sales and rental data
charts that we
keep track of above, including the
DVD Player Sales numbers.
In other DVD news around the net, the Minneapolis
Star Tribune has an article up on the Alien
Quadrilogy that's worth taking a look at. You can find that
(you have to register to read it, but it's free). Thanks to Bits
reader Kal K. for the link.
another story by the Dow Jones on the recent DVD Forum vote to go
forward with NEC and Toshiba's AOD spec for HD-DVD. There's also
good piece on this at the EE Times, as well as
on China's EVD format.
And here's a bit of non-DVD news that we think you'll find interesting.
With the final chapter of The Lord of the
Rings trilogy, The Return of the
King, on its way to theaters everywhere on 12/17, word has
Line is officially pursuing the film rights to the prequel story The
Hobbit. Apparently, director Peter Jackson would like to shoot
The Hobbit after he finishes his
forthcoming King Kong remake. Rings
actor Ian McKellen (Gandalf)
expressed interest in participating. The unfortunate stumbling
block in this pursuit, however, is none other than the Tolkein estate.
Cross your fingers, Ring bearers.
Back with more tomorrow. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 12/4/03 - 12:01 AM PST)
Morning everyone! We're finally back from our break... a day later than
expected, but here we are. Sarah and I spent an extended weekend in Lake
Tahoe, just relaxing. Of course, while relaxing, I somehow managed to
wipe out in the snow and ice at 9,100 ft at the Heavenly Mountain ski
resort and screw up my back (and no, I wasn't even skiing). I also
managed to return from said relaxing vacation with the mother of all
head colds. There's a reason I only take a vacation once in a blue moon,
Anyway, we've got some catching up to do, so we'll get started on that
later this morning. We've got lots of news updates on the way, and more
new reviews from the guys later this week. Just wanted to let you know
that we hadn't completely disappeared off the face of the Earth. ;-)
In the meantime, Grey Cavitt of our TAP
crew has a new SACD review for you to check out... Bob Dylan's
Side of Bob Dylan. Enjoy!
Back later with our normal post. Stay tuned...
Okay... hope you all had a great holiday yesterday. Here in the U.S., a
lot of you are probably out shopping for Christmas gifts or maybe even
putting up the Christmas tree today. So enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Our best to you and your family!
We're going to be dark on Monday and Tuesday, due to the holiday, to
give our staffers a well deserved break for a couple of days. But we do
have a couple of things for you first.
We've gotten updated word from Universal on the problem with those
still-defective Meaning of Life
replacement discs. It seems that the first batch of replacement discs
were mistakenly pressed using the same defective master as the
originals. The good news is, people who sent in their discs have been
getting e-mails from the studio's customer service department over the
holiday. Here's the exact text:
Re: "Monty Python's: The Meaning of Life"
Please disregard the replacement version 2 disk for "Monty
Python's: The Meaning of Life" you recently received. A new updated
version will be sent to you shortly. For further information please
email or call toll-free:
Universal Studios Home Video
Consumer Relations Department
We don't know the exact timeline for the mailing of the new discs, but
you can bet the studio is working hard on this. Thanks to Bits
reader Sean K for sending that in.
Also today, we're very pleased to bring you
latest edition of Barrie Maxwell's Classic Coming Attractions.
This month, Barrie reviews 11 recently-released classic titles on DVD,
Drive By Night,
Have and Have Not, both versions of
Italian Job, the
Chaney Collection and
Ox-Bow Incident. He also runs down a list of recent classic
title announcements and rumors of titles in the works. There's some
really great stuff in this column, including word on Warner's Meet
Me in St. Louis, the Forbidden
Planet: Special Edition and (at long last) DVD releases of
The Flintsones and The
Jetsons. You definitely don't want to miss this.
Finally today, there's
AP press release up over at Yahoo with more details about
recent DVD-Forum vote to adopt the AOD platform as the basis for
the future HD-DVD format. It's definitely worth a look.
So there you go! Have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on
Wednesday, December 3rd. Best wishes!
We've been getting a lot of reports in the last few days from
frustrated readers who had sent their Monty
Python's Meaning of Life DVDs back to Universal for
replacement. As you may remember, there was a problem with the coding of
the disc, such that those with progressive-scan DVD players were
experiencing severe video artifacts. Universal created an exchange
program to take care of the problem, and a lot of people took advantage
of it. Unfortunately, many who have gotten their replacement discs in
the mail are telling us that the "fixed" disc has exactly the
same problem as the first one did. We'll try to get some kind of
official response on this, and we'll post it when we do.
In other news, there's
great story up at Video Store magazine on the elaborate
restoration work that was required to bring Sergio Leone's Once
Upon a Time in the West to DVD looking as good as it does. If
you love the film (and the disc) as much as we do, I think you'll be
impressed with the work of all involved. By the way, we've updated
review of the disc with word on an Easter egg readers have
reported on the disc - a pretty cool trailer for the film, edited in a
more modern style. Nice.
A couple of quick new announcements... Warner will release The
Sunshine Boys, Prisoner of Second
Avenue, The Late Show
and Going in Style on 3/30 (SRP
$19.98 each). Also, MGM has added Camp
and Pieces of April to its
February slate (street dates 2/17 and 2/24 respectively). Camp
will feature The Making of Camp
featurette, outtakes and extended scenes, a live cast performance of
How Shall I See You Through My Tears,
a soundtrack spot and the theatrical trailer (SRP $29.98). Pieces
of April will include a behind-the-scenes featurette, audio
commentary by writer/director Peter Hedges and a trailer (SRP $25.98).
Here's a surprise for you Quantum Leap
fans... Universal has informed the show's executive producer, Deborah
Pratt, that they're going to be releasing the entire first season on
DVD. You can read more in
recent interview with her at the Project Quantum Leap website.
Just for sh!ts and giggles, here's a scan of the cover art for the new
Ed Wood: Special Edition (due 2/3)
from Buena Vista. It's mostly B&W and, we think, very cool.
Finally today, we're pleased as punch to be able to present
great Bottom Shelf column from our own Adam Jahnke. In
this edition, Adam takes a look at 10 great films that have yet to grace
the DVD format, and 6 more that are in dire need of re-release as better
editions. As you've come to expect from us here at The
Bits, they aren't necessarily the films you'd expect. Enjoy.
Okay... with that, we're done for the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving to
all you Yanks out there. Don't forget... gravy is the ultimate food
lubricant, so if you're having trouble getting that last bite of turkey
and stuffing down, douse liberally. And watch out for the tryptophan
See you back here on Friday. Best wishes!
Well... we have some news for you today about HD-DVD. As we mentioned a
few days ago, the 17-member steering committee of the DVD Forum was
expected to vote in New York last week on whether or not to adopt
Toshiba and NEC's Advanced Optical Disc (AOD) proposal as the basis for
the eventual HD-DVD format. In a previous vote earlier this year, the
proposal failed to pass because members of the Blu-ray group, who are
also DVD Forum members, either voted "no" or abstained. While
AOD was developed within the DVD Forum, Blu-ray is being developed
outside it, and is being positioned as a direct competitor for HD-DVD.
By voting AOD down, or abstaining, the Blu-ray group members were
effectively working to kill momentum for AOD, and thus give an advantage
to their own rival product. For last week's vote, however, the DVD Forum
changed its rules so that abstaining votes no longer counted as "no"
votes. In the resulting ballot, the steering committee voted to adopt
AOD as the basis for HD-DVD by an 8-6 majority. That moves HD-DVD a step
closer to becoming a reality, and a step closer to eventually replacing
existing DVD (although there are still a number of technological issues
to be addressed, including the creation of a more robust copy protection
scheme, before the high-definition format could be launched).
Meanwhile, the Blu-ray group continues to develop its high-definition
disc format, and now China's EVD had entered the fray as well. It's
worth noting, however, that EVD is a red laser based format that uses
greater digital video compression, while both AOD/HD-DVD and Blu-ray use
blue lasers and higher capacity discs.
You can read more about this vote (and EVD)
at Video Business (you'll need to register, but it's
free). You can also bet that we'll be talking a LOT more about these
next-generation, high-definition disc formats in the months ahead. In
the meantime, our best guess is that the first hardware and software
could start appearing in the U.S. in late 2005. Keep in mind that
everything we've been told by manufacturers and industry reps is that
both AOD/HD-DVD and Blu-ray hardware will be backwards compatible with
existing DVD software.
Now then... moving on today, we've got
Doogan's Views column from Todd for you to enjoy. Todd's
starting a 3-part DVD journey, featuring reviews of great films from
around the world. In this first piece, Todd reviews Rainer Werner
Fassbinder's The Marriage of Maria Braun,
Veronika Voss and Lola,
compiled by Criterion in
BRD Trilogy - an amazing new box set and perhaps their best
release to date. Also reviewed on disc is
Cathedral, the Academy Award nominated animated short film
from Tomek Baginski. All the titles in the column this week are German
films and are well worth your time.
We also have a few upcoming DVD announcements to tell you about.
Paramount has added Marci X to its
1/20 release slate, with MTV's Wut-hering
Heights following on 1/27 and Fighting
Temptations due on 2/3. VCI will release The
Great Train Robbery: 100th Anniversary Edition on 12/16,
along with King of the Royal Mounted
and Zorro's Cliffhanger Collection.
Warner will release American Experience:
Bataan Rescue and American
Experience: MacArthur on 2/3, with Superbowl
XXXVIII and Emmanuelle in Rio
(rated and unrated) following on 2/24. Finally, Warner Music's Blue
Man Group: Complex Rock Tour Live streets today (11/25), in
case you're in the mood for a little something... you know... blue.
Finally today, we've updated a number of the DVD format stats we track
DVD Player Sales numbers. For the record, some 708,501 DVD players
shipped to retailers in the week ending November 7th here in the States.
We'll be back tomorrow with a new Bottom
Shelf column from Adam and more. Stay tuned!
Hope all of you had a great weekend! One thing's for sure - the weather
is getting colder. I know some of you are probably seeing serious snow
on your doorsteps these days. November is definitely winding down and
the holidays are almost upon us. I can almost smell the turkey and
Cold though it may be this morning, I suggest you fill up your coffee
cups and get a load of this... we've got a long awaited update of our
DVD Cover Art section for you to enjoy. You guys have been
begging for us to get that section updated for a while now, and with the
server move, it's been on the back burner. But now we've got nearly a
100 new cover scans for you to check out. You may have noticed that
we've switched all our purchase links to Amazon.com.
Our affiliation with DVD Planet has come to an end, with Planet having
recently been bought out by another company. So right now, Amazon.com is
where we're recommending our readers buy DVD software. Each purchase
through our links to Amazon helps to fund our efforts here at The
Bits, so we appreciate your support.
Moving on today, Lindsay Planer's reviewed the new
Dead: The Closing of Winterland DVD over at our
MusicTAP site, so be
sure to check that out. More reviews are on the way.
We've also kicked off a trio of new
today. You've got the chance to win X-Files,
great NFL titles and more. As always, you can find a list of winners for
the just completed contests in
One last thing for you this morning. Judging by the amount of e-mail
we've been getting, a lot of you are wondering if Warner and the BBC's
MI-5: Volume One (due on 1/13)
will feature the original, longer versions of the episodes originally
seen on TV in the U.K.. The answer is yes. Each episode on the DVD set
is some 15 minutes longer than what was shown here in the States on A&E.
So there you go.
(LATE UPDATE - 11/21/03
- 5:30 PM PST)
It's official... Matrix Revolutions
will NOT be released in January
has had been
rumored. I've just heard from a representative of Warner Home
Video, who explained that the DVD will, in fact, be released later in
2004. Expect an official announcement in January, but no disc.
This next bit is Rumor Mill
worthy, but to save time, I'm going to post it here instead. Word is,
Columbia TriStar next week will announce Radio
for release on DVD on January 27th (SRP $28.95). Look for audio
commentary, deleted scenes and three featurettes.
Finally today, we have at long last completed our review of Fox's
Quadrilogy, with a detailed look at
Eight, which contains the bonus features for Alien
Resurrection. This awesome 9-disc box set streets on 12/2
(SRP $99.98), and
can pre-order it now from Amazon now for only $69.99. We'll tell
you this in all honesty... Quadrilogy
is right now the odds-on favorite to be our pick for the best special
edition DVD release of 2003. If you're a fan, you definitely don't want
to miss it.
With that, another week bites the dust! Have a great weekend and we'll
see you back here on Monday!
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/21/03 - 12:30 PM PST)
Okay... we've got a bunch of things to post today, so let's get
First of all, we're pleased to present the newest of our own Robert A.
Harris' regular columns here at The Digital
Bits. In this installment,
Traveling Column, Robert talks about a wide range of recent
DVD releases from a variety of studios, and discusses their quality. He
also talks about the films of directors David Lean and Carol Reed. It's
another great piece and is not to be missed.
Next up, we present
complete transcript of the live chat our friends over at the
Theater Forum held about a week ago with DVD producers J.M.
Kenny and Jeff Lerner of New Wave Entertainment. I've met these guys
before many times - they're both very talented and I think you'll be
surprised how many great DVDs they've been involved with. Kudos to them
and thanks to Ron and the guys at HTF
for sending over the transcript.
Also this morning, we've excited to announce that
DVD format has officially passed the 60 million players mark here
in the United States. Some 1,278,839 players were shipped from
manufacturers to retailers here in the last week of October, pushing the
total number of units in the States to exactly 60,282,192 according to
CEA. Anyone who doubts that DVD is mainstream now has been drinking too
much extra strength cold medicine. ;-)
And we've got one last thing for you for now... a look at the cover art
for the individual film, 2-disc special edition releases of the Alien
films, which Fox has planned for 1/6 (SRP $26.98 each). These are the
same awesome discs that will be available next month in the Alien
Quadrilogy (on 12/2), with the sole exception of Disc Nine,
which is only available in the box set. The first film is
for pre-order now on Amazon, and the others should be up soon.
Speaking of the
we'll be back to wrap up our review of the set later this afternoon
(finally)! And just to let everyone know, we've got a big
DVD Cover Art update due on Monday. I know a lot of you have
been waiting for it, so it's coming.
Back later. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 11/20/03
- 12:30 PM PST)
Just one last update for you today - Warner Bros has officially
announced the DVD release of Ridley Scott's Matchstick
Men for 2/24. The disc will be available in both anamorphic
widescreen and full frame versions (SRP $27.95) with Dolby Digital 5.1
audio. Extras will include audio commentary with Scott and writers
Nicholas Griffin and Ted Griffin, the Tricks
of the Trade: Making Matchstick Men documentary (described as
an "intimate, day to day account of the filmmaking process with
director Ridley Scott, from pre-production through the film's final edit"),
the theatrical trailer and more. Here's a look at the cover artwork...
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/20/03 -
11 AM PST)
Well... as some of you probably noticed over the last 48 hours, the new
server's experienced a few bumps. The site has been very slow the last
couple of days, our web address was directing to another site for a
brief time yesterday morning, and we've been unable to sign in to make
updates until now. All of this was due to some work that was going on
behind-the-scenes here at The Bits.
The good news is, we now have a brand new T3 line attached to the
server. You should already be experiencing the benefits in terms of
access speed. We've got a little more work to finish up, so naturally
our post today is a little thin until we can get it all done. As always,
we do appreciate your patience. Keeping The
Bits free for all of you to access is our number one goal,
but unfortunately it doesn't come cheap, so that means a little more
advertising (including some pop-ups) and the occasional server work to
make it all happen.
On that note, we'd like to announce a new on-going partnership between
The Digital Bits and an old friend
of ours... Doc DVD.
You long-time readers might remember him from the early days of The
Bits. We're teaming up with the good doctor in a number of
exciting ways, which you'll be seeing more of in the coming weeks. One
of the benefits to you right now is the availability of free DVD tech
support for readers of The Digital Bits
and MusicTAP (available by
clicking on the logo at the top of this page). He can help you with
problem discs, player glitches and other issues. Doc
DVD, through his DigitalAudioVideo.com
website, can also help you with ISF Calibration of your home theater
equipment, and even discounted pricing on the latest DVD players, audio
receivers and more with local retailers in your area. This new
partnership is going to help us keep The Bits
both free and fast, so we'd appreciate it if you'd check his service
out. Watch for more news about this in the weeks ahead.
Now then... there is one bit of news that we wanted to address today,
and that's this announcement of
new EVD video disc format. It seems that a Chinese firm, backed by
the Chinese government, is trying to launch a next-generation
replacement for existing DVD. It's called Enhanced Versatile Disc (EVD),
and it would provide high-definition video to consumers. The reason for
this development is that China wants to provide a home-field advantage
for Chinese manufacturers in the lucrative video disc business, and
alleviate them from having to pay videodisc technology royalties to
foreign companies (mostly Japanese). What the Chinese government doesn't
get, is that even if China adopts the format, the rest of the world is
VERY unlikely to follow suit, especially given that HD-DVD (AOD) and
Blu-ray are already in development to replace existing DVD. Not only
that, the Hollywood studios would have to agree to release films on EVD,
which is somewhat unlikely given the difficulties the studios have had
with digital piracy in China. So while this is an interesting wrinkle on
the technology landscape, our advice is that it's nothing any of you
should be too concerned about. EVD is not likely to replace current DVD
anywhere but China, and it's extremely unlikely to be a viable
competitor to either HD-DVD or Blu-ray (again, except possibly in
China). So there you have it.
Also today, we've got some interesting information in
Rumor Mill concerning a possible release date that's being
reporting for Matrix Revolutions,
along with more changes that we've been told are being made to the
original Star Wars films, possibly
for next year's DVD release. You definitely don't want to miss it.
We have a quick music review for you this morning as well. Marco
Passarelli has given the new Megadeath DVD-Audio version of
Sells... But Who's Buying? a look over at TAP.
Little something for you metal heads out there. ;-)
Finally this morning, in a sad note, we would like to take a moment to
passing of composer Michael Kamen. Kamen's work included
involvement with some Rock music's biggest bands, as well as
film scores. He'll most definitely be missed.
Okay... we'll be back tomorrow morning with a bunch of stuff we've been
meaning to post this week, server issues permitting. Thanks for hanging
in there, Bits faithful.