Who Am I?

My photo
Writer, director, musician, and multimedia junkie. www.felixemartinez.com © 2008-2009 F.E.M.

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    Netflix Raising Rates For Blu-ray Customers?

    Disappointing news. And rather shortsighted. Bad call, Netflix. Bad call.

    Feel free to call Netflix and lodge a complaint if you're so inclined. Their toll-free phone number is 888-638-3549. The rep I just spoke with was quite nice and logged the complaint. I do know that when Netflix began the practice of sticking obnoxious labels around disc hubs a while back, enough people complained and I haven't seen a Blu-ray/DVD with a sticker since. So there's hope.

    Listen up, Netflix...

    Monday, April 21, 2008

    Improving BD-Live Tools - Is It All That?

    This article over at Myblurayplanet.com discusses the efforts of Sonic Solutions and Sony to "reduce costs" and "make BD-Live more available."

    Is this Fantasyland? Blu-ray authoring is still mighty expensive and out of the reach of most content producers. Here's what Neil Wilkes of Opus Productions had to say about authoring on the Blu format (the context being the possibility of Blu-ray being the next surround music format):

    "Authoring is brutally expensive, requiring either Sony's Blu Print or Sonic Scenarist. Both these are $50,000 plus mandatory extras - Blu Print has a $7k to $10k 'service agreement' that is also mandatory. No other application can deliver replicable content. It's BD-R and BD-RE straight down the line. Costs per title are serious. You are looking at over $30,000 per title - before replication costs & authoring costs - just for the mandated licenses alone."

    One of the reasons DVD took off around Y2K is because authoring became affordable and available to the masses. Forget VHS - everyone wanted their wedding on DVD. Now hi-def is upon us. It's cost effective and within everyone's reach to originate and view content in HD, but not cost effective to distribute it. Once that changes, the paradigm shift from standard def to hi-def will be complete.

    I'm waiting...

    Saturday, April 19, 2008

    "DVD" Sales Jump, Thanks To Blu-ray; Natural Born Killers Turns Blu

    The Hollywood Reporter erroneously proclaims, "Good news for studios: DVD sales jump." In fact, the article reveals that "The nascent Blu-ray Disc saved the day for the sellthrough business, per Nielsen VideoScan sales data, with DVD unit sales in the first quarter down 1.2% from the first quarter of 2007 but Blu-ray Disc sales up a whopping 351%. "

    And yes, I am aware that Warner recently announced "Natural Born Killers" on Blu-ray; I'm just pissed they still don't have the rights to the Director's Cut.

    Friday, April 18, 2008

    High-Def Disc Sales "Ready To Explode"; Starship Troopers Arrives On Blu-ray

    This nearly slipped under my radar: Home Media Magazine reported some comments that Warner Home Video President Ron Sanders made at the 16th annual PEVE home entertainment conference in Paris. Sanders waxed about the state of high-def growth in Europe. Some juicy bits:

    “We are going from 39 million homes with HDTVs in Europe last year to 139 million by 2012,” he said. “That is an enormous opportunity if we can convert those home into buyers of high-def DVDs.”

    “Software sales are ready to explode,” he said, warning that, “This also creates a challenge for the industry because the replication capacity has to catch up with the demand if we are going to fulfill this opportunity.”

    The big take-away is that the transition to high-def is going to fuel software sales globally, to the point that demand may overwhelm supply in the short-term. With HD downloads far from being a practical reality, methinks Blu-ray has a nice future in the years to come.

    Blu-ray.com is also reporting that "Starship Troopers" will land on the Blu-ray format on July 29. Can't wait to see this guilty pleasure in 1080p. Kudos to Sony for porting over the supplements from the special edition DVD set.

    J&R Blu-ray Sale This Weekend

    J&R has a Blu-ray sale running this weekend. Looks like the same Anchor Bay titles that are in the DeepDiscount DVD sale I posted about on Wednesday; however, J&R has them slightly cheaper and they've also included some non-Anchor Bay music/concert titles as well. Mind you, DeepDiscount has free shipping, so that might still be the better deal.

    Still worth checking out for the music titles and in case a particular Anchor Bay title is out of stock over at DeepDiscount:

    J&R Anchor Bay Blu-ray Sale
    J&R Music Blu-ray Sale

    Thursday, April 17, 2008

    Universal's Blu-ray Plans For 2008

    Universal finally announced its Blu-ray plans for 2008. This is very welcome news, but it underscores how far behind the ball they are. Which reminds me: where are you, Paramount...?

    Wednesday, April 16, 2008

    Anchor Bay Blu-ray Discs 59% Off

    DeepDiscountDVD has a number of Anchor Bay Blu-ray disc titles at 59% off. Horror fans may very well be tempted to pick up the following classics on sparkling high-def for $12 and change: Halloween, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, and Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn.

    HDTV Etc. Online Is Live; Porcupine Tree's Newest DVD-Audio

    Been hard at work for the past few weeks. Hopefully the lengthy update will make up for the radio silence...

    HDTV Etc. Online is now live. I'm working on a pretty fabulous interview with Charles de Lauzirika, the gent behind the outstanding Blade Runner Blu-ray set and many other decadent DVD special editions. Software reviews will also be forthcoming.

    Just received Porcupine Tree's new CD + DVD-Audio re-release of their album from 2000, "Lightbulb Sun." Simply amazing. Rock fans and surround music aficionados should pick up this title asap, along with last year's DVD-Audio release of PT's newest album, "Fear Of A Blank Planet."

    Also received Telarc's forthcoming SACD, "Bolero & Others." Sonically, a top-notch affair; however, the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra (under the baton of Erich Kunzel) tears thru the piece at near breakneck speed - under 13 minutes if memory serves. I prefer a slower performance of "Bolero," approaching Ravel's documented preference of about 17 minutes (ironically discussed in Telarc's liner notes). But if you like your Bolero fast and breezy, check it out.

    Linn Records recently sent me a couple of new classical releases that are real winners. First, we have "Mozart Symphonies 38-41." The Scottish Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras, is truly up to the task; the performances are sublime. The other release - "Bach's Matthew Passion," performed by the Dunedin Consort - is also a winner; nonetheless, the Mozart disc has the edge, sonically: the surround mix is a bit more enveloping, and the clarity is striking.

    When HDTV Etc. Magazine slipped into hiatus during the transition to an online format, a few software titles fell through the cracks. I will try to backtrack and cover them during the coming weeks.

    © 2008 Felix E. Martinez