My Two Cents

All right, we’re closing out the week at CES 2017 with a couple of additional bits of 4K and industry-related news.

But first, Disney and Marvel have just officially announced the Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray Combo, Digital SD, DVD, and On-Demand release of Doctor Strange on 2/28. The Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere release is expected on 2/14. Extras on the Blu-ray versions will include audio commentary by director Scott Derrickson, 5 deleted scenes (Strange Meets Daniel Drumm, Kaecilius Searches for Answers, The Kamar-Taj Courtyard, Making Contact, and Lost in Kathmandu), 5 featurettes (A Strange Transformation, Strange Company, The Fabric of Reality, Across Time and Space, and The Score-cerer Supreme), a Marvel Studios Phase 3 Exclusive Look, the Team Thor: Part 2 spoof (with Thor and his roommate, Darryl), and a gag reel. The Blu-rays will feature 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Per Disney tradition, the digital release will also include its own exclusive featurette (Through the Keyhole: The Science of the MCU). You can see the cover artwork for the Blu-ray versions left and below.  [Read on here…]

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

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

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

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

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

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All right, I’ve finally had a week or so to process my experience of Ultra HD Blu-ray at CES 2016, so I wanted to offer a few thoughts and insights on it all – perspective filtered through my 20 years of experience working in and around this industry here at The Bits.  [Read on here…]

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

This morning, I had the chance to participate in a virtual roundtable discussion featuring Victor Matsuda, the Blu-ray Disc Association’s Global Promotions Committee Chair, Paul Erickson, Senior Analyst for IHS Technology, and TK Arnold of Home Media Magazine. The session started with a video presentation in which the group discussed the outlook for UHD BD and confirmed that licensing of the format spec is going to begin very soon, which means the first official UHD BD players and movie titles could appear by year’s end.  [Read on here…]

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

All right, we’ve got a couple new Blu-ray reviews for you today from our own Shane Buettner – his thoughts on Universal’s As Above So Below and Kino Lorber’s The Missouri Breaks. Do check them out.

I’m going to check in again tomorrow to update you all on the latest Blu-ray and DVD release news from the last few days, but I wanted to offer you all more CES coverage this afternoon with some major new information and details related to 4K Blu-ray – really the first significant news about this format to date, fresh and direct from the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA).  [Read on here…]

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We have a little more for you today on the revelation yesterday that 4K may be coming to Blu-ray in the year ahead.  Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Blu-Ray Disc Association’s global promotions committee chair, Victor Matsuda, revealed that ‘the BDA board recently approved work to extend Blu-Ray to include 4K and will be exploring the best possible technical blueprint.’  The work is being done by a task force of representatives from 17 companies including Sony, Technicolor, Dolby, Fox and Disney.  And based on last night’s story, Samsung as well.  [Read on here…]

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