Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Departed on HD DVD - Some early details

Much earlier, we've posted that The Departed would be released on HD DVD in 2007. Warner Home Video Australia has also announced that it would be available at retail in Australia on March 7.

Some unofficial sources have informed us that the North American HD DVD release of The Departed will also feature Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track on top of the usual Dolby Digital-Plus tracks.

All the bonus materials featured on the 2-disc Special Edition DVD release can also be found on the HD DVD release. They include:
  • 9 Additional Scenes with Introductions by Director Martin Scorsese
  • Featur-Length TCM Career Profile Scorsese on Scorsese
  • The Story of the Boston Mob Featurette: The Real-Life Gangster Behind Jack Nicholson's Character
  • Crossing Criminal Cultures: How Little Italy's Crime and Violence Influence Scorsese's Work
  • Theatrical Trailer

The availability of HD DVD exclusive extras is TBC. When an offical announcement is available about the HD DVD release, we will provide the details here.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

HD DVD Format @ CES 2007

North American HD DVD Promotional Group, Inc will hold a press conference on Jan 7, highlighting each supporting company's plans for 2007. So we could expect some announcements/mention of HD DVD titles planned for 2007 from Warner, Paramount, Universal, Weinstein, and possibly (hopefully) New Line.

It is reported that Toshiba is also planning an announcement regarding the hardware front, on the same day.

Any expectations with respect to the HD DVD titles planned for 2007? What are the three titles that you'd want to own on HD DVD in 2007? Any takes on speculating what Toshiba might be announcing on that day? We would like to hear from you at hd_dvd_format AT yahoo DOT com (Subject header: CES 2007).


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

We would like to wish all readers and supporters of our blogs a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays...

This blog will not be updated during this holiday period - December 24 to December 27. We will be back to our usual posting schedule should there be anything new and interesting, starting December 28...

We've also upgraded/migrated our blog to the newer version of Blogger. All blogposts dated from Oct 1 will have labels provided at the bottom of each post - HD DVD Hardware, HD DVD Software, General News Updates, etc... Clicking on them allows you access to all related blogposts.

Harry (Wild Bear) & J.Z.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The final installment of Harry Potter series (Book 7) is titled...

...Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Both U.S. (Scholastic) and U.K. (Bloomsbury) publishers of the Harry Potter books have confirmed this respectively...

The publication date has not been set.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

International HD DVD Releases (Updated - Dec 17)

With the impending European & Australian launch this December, all the titles from major studios that debut for the HD DVD launch in North America will be making their rounds again in Australia and in the European continent. So is there anything new that can be expected?

[Spain] On December 20, El Hundimiento (Downfall), El pianista (The Pianist) & El secreto de los hermanos Grimm (The Brothers Grimm) will be released on HD DVD.

The main feature on each of these HD DVDs will be presented in 1080p High Definition Widescreen OAR. All three will have Dolby Digital-Plus 5.1 (Spanish) audio tracks and Dolby Digital-Plus 5.1 (English) audio is available only on El pianista (The Pianist) and El secreto de los hermanos Grimm (The Brothers Grimm) HD DVDs.

They will also not be barebones release, most if not all of the bonus materials present in the respective titles' DVD releases will be ported over to this new HD DVD release. Spanish subtitles are provided for all three titles.

[Germany] Rides Volumes 1 - 3 (10 episodes / 3 discs) HD DVD is currently available for sale in Germany. Volumes 1 - 3 are available for sale as seperate discs (HD-30) or as a bundle. The main feature of all 3 discs is presented in 1080p/24fps High Definiton video encoded using VC-1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (English).

[France] Studio Canal has earlier announced the availability of the following titles on HD DVD in France, starting Nov 20:

  • Basic Instinct
  • Elephant Man
  • Fog
  • La Haine
  • The Pianist
  • King Kong (1976)
  • Rambo I - III
  • Total Recall

The next wave for titles due for HD DVD and on the local VOD High Definition service simultaneously in France, starting March 2007:

  • Arizona Dream
  • Voyage Au Bout De L'enfer
  • La Grande Vadrouille
  • L'arme Des Ombres
  • Le Laureat
  • Le Pacte De Loups
  • Leaving Las Vegas
  • Million Dollar Baby
  • Mulholland Drive
  • Ran
  • Serpico
  • Terminator II
  • Traffic
  • We Were Soldiers

You may want to refer to the below blogpost for specs and cover artwork of all the above-mentioned titles from Studio Canal.


[Japan] Paramount's Black Rain (2-disc HD DVD) and Universal Pictures' King Kong (2005) will now due for retail on Feb 23 and Jan 12. The same fate goes for Universal Pictures' Fast & The Furious movie franchise which was suppose to be released on HD DVD this Dec 22. A new release date is yet to be confirmed.


[Australia] The first HD DVDs will be available at retail starting Dec 29. I guess that's because it is expected that the HD-E1s, HD-A2 and the HD-XF2 will be ready for retail by late December. The first titles due on Dec 29 are all from Universal Pictures (Australia), they are Apollo 13, Bourne Supremacy, Doom Unrated Extended Edition, Jarhead, King Kong (2005) & Serenity. Universal Pictures (Australia) will also be distributing the following titles on HD DVD, Rambo I - III and Total Recall in Australia, even though they are distributed on HD DVD in Europe by Studio Canal.

For future waves of HD DVD releases, one can expect Batman Begins, Fast and the Furious, Superman Returns, V for Vendetta...

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

HD DVD Releases in 2007... Some details

As we patiently wait for the possible announcement of titles commited to HD DVD in 2007 by Warner Home Video, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, New Line Home Entertainmnt, Paramount Home Entertainment, HBO Video, Weinstein Company and other content distribution companies, at the CES 2007, below are some titles which can be expected on HD DVD in 2007 (they are not speculations as they had been officially mentioned by the studio). This blogpost will be updated as and when we have information of additional titles to expect in 2007.

First on the expectation list is Dirty Harry Collection (Dirty Harry, Magnum Force, The Enforcer, Sudden Impact and The Dead Pool). All 5 films will be re-released on DVD and HD DVD in 2007, most probably in the 2nd half of 2007.

Coming next is the 45-mins-additional extended cut of Alexander, named Alexander Revisited: The Unrated Final Cut is also being planned for a HD DVD release.

Ocean's Twelve and The Departed can also be expected on HD DVD in 2007. Along with Harry Potter feature films and Happy Feet...

Both Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Warner Home Video have earlier indicated their January and/or February releases. The list can be viewed by clicking on the HD DVD Release List weblink located on the right side of this blog.


The Debut of Next-Generation HD DVD Players... (Updated - Dec 19)

[North America] Some user reports posted at AV Science Forum suggest that the stocks of HD-A2 had started to trickle down to retail stores since Dec 8, despite some sites having reported that the HD-A2 may arrive at retail stores late December. HD-A2 is priced at $499.99 MSRP. Click here for full specs and information of the HD-A2 from Toshiba (America). Another higher-end model, HD-XA2 priced at $999.99 is also expected soon... A summary of the differences between HD-A2 and HD-XA2 is available at the bottom of this blogpost.

There is also an ongoing promotional offer where any Toshiba HD DVD player (HD-A1, HD-D1, HD-A2, HD-A2W, HD-D2, HD-XA1 and HD-XA2) bought between the period Nov 1, 2006 - Feb 28, 2007 entitles the buyer to a choice any 3 Free HD DVDs from the given list. Full details of this promotion here (for U.S.) and here (for Canada)

[UK] Toshiba is now accepting orders for the HD-E1 [£449.99 (inc VAT) with free delivery, First image below]. HD-XE1 (899 Euros, Second image below) should be available soon although there still has been no confirmation of the release date since the delay.

There is also a special offer for every purchase of HD-E1, where every player sold comes bundled with 8 FREE DVD rentals (fom LoveFilm.com). Full details of this special offer can be accessed here.

Click on the respective weblinks for full specs and information of the HD-E1 and HD-XE1 from Toshiba. A summary of the differences between HD-E1 and HD-XE1 is available at the bottom of this blogpost.

[Australia] The HD-E1 (Aus$1099, First image below) is scheduled to be available at retail from mid-December while the HD-XE1 (Aus$1,599, Second image below) is expected to be available from February 2007. Full specs of HD-E1 and HD-XE1... A summary of the differences between HD-E1 and HD-XE1 is available at the bottom of this blogpost.

[Japan] Toshiba will roll out two new players, HD-XF2 (First image below) and HD-XA2 (Second image below) , in Japan from late December. The HD-XF2 seems to be the renamed HD-A2 and/or HD-E1 due for the North American and European markets respectively. A summary of the differences between HD-XF2 and HD-XA2 is available at the bottom of this blogpost.

Main differences between the 2 models:

  • SD (DVD) Upscale to HD resolution via HDMI:
    - HD-E1/A2/XF2 (up to 1080i)
    - HD-XE1/XA2 (up to 1080p)
  • HD output resolutions:
    - HD-E1/A2/XF2 (720p, 1080i)
    - HD-XE1/XA2 (720p, 1080i, 1080p)
  • 297MHz/12bit Video DAC (HD-XE1/XA2 only)
  • HDMI connection supported:
    - HD-E1/A2/XF2 (HDMI 1.2a)
    - HD-XE1/XA2 (HDMI 1.3: Deep Colour feature supported but requires compatible display compliant with this feature)
  • Audio connections:
    - HD-E1/A2/XF2 (2-ch analog, Digital Optical)
    - HD-XE1/XA2 (2-ch analog, 5.1-ch analog, Digital Coaxial, Digital Optical)


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

"The Departed" HD DVD, and more...

We've been informed that Warner Home Video has indicated that The Departed will be released on HD DVD, March 7 in Australia. Please note that it is possible that the date may change. But this piece of news suggest that The Departed is very likely to be one of Warner's HD DVD releases in 2007, making its round in various continents. No additional details are provided, at the present moment.


Digital Leisure, Inc has announced last month the availability of Dragon's Lair for the first time in 1080p high definition on the next generation HD DVD format.

Dragon's Lair was first introduced in the arcades in 1983 and its laser disc video quality and Don Bluth animation made it an instant smash hit. Now, Digital Leisure and authoring studio Infinite HD Inc. have systematically gone through frame by frame and digitally restored this beloved classic arcade game to full True HD film quality.

All special features on the disc are in full 1080p HD including new interviews with creators Don Bluth, Gary Goldman and Rick Dyer, and even a full length visual commentary of the game.
Digital Leisure plans to follow up Dragon's Lair HD DVD with the release of Space Ace and Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp in the HD DVD format over the coming months.

Dragon's Lair HD DVD will be available this holiday season at many fine game and movie retailers as well as at http://www.digitalleisure.com/. In Australia, Simitar DVD will be releasing the HD DVD in February 2007 and it will feature similar specs.


Much earlier this year, titles like Harry Potter (Goblet of Fire) and The Matrix were announced for release on HD DVD format, but Warner has not announced any release date for them despite Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire HD DVD available for sale in some European countries.

I do hope that the delay of these 2 titles isn't largely due to its promise of format neutrality, otherwise, it would be very disappointing.

On the other hand, the delay might be due to Warner reintroducing the existing Harry Potter film franchise (from Sorcerer's Stone to Goblet of Fire) on both DVD and HD DVD just weeks before the 5th film (Order of the Phoenix) makes it theatrical debut (since Warner has earlier announced that the Harry Potter I - IV DVDs will be placed on moratorium from January 2007).

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Toshiba HD DVD European Consumer Website...

Now available in Italian, German, Spanish, Greek & French @ www.highdefinitiondvd.eu.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Cover Art of Weinsteins' Jan 16 HD DVDs

All titles will be available at retail January 16. All will be presented in 1080p High Definition OAR (Original Aspect Ratio) with Dolby Digital-Plus 5.1 (English) audio. Bonus materials included will be similar to those found on the DVD releases of the respective titles.

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Cover Art of Weinsteins' Dec 19 HD DVDs

All titles will be available at retail December 19. All will be presented in 1080p High Definition OAR (Original Aspect Ratio) with Dolby Digital-Plus 5.1 (English) audio. Bonus materials included will be similar to those found on the DVD releases.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Some News Updates...

During the 2.5 weeks of my absence from posting on this blog, I guess a lot must have taken place... now, I'm back to resume posting almost everything about HD DVD on this blog.

Firstly, our HD DVD release list has been updated. And yes, its true, Poseidon (2006) HD DVD will not be available at retail on Dec 5, as was previously indicated. Instead, our sources have informed us that we could expect this HD DVD being released before the end of Feb 2007.

Secondly, Image Entertainment has confirmed that the retail availability of all Discovery Atlas HD DVDs (4 standalone releases) have been delayed till 30 January 2007... although Discovery Channel Store (Online) seems to be shipping them earlier to consumers who pre-ordered the discs directly from them via the online store.

Next, the North American HD DVD Promotional Group has updated its HD DVD promotion website The Look And Sound of Perfect. There are quite a number of High Definition trailers (720p & 1080p) of movies (The Hulk, Tokyo Drift, Bourne Supremacy, etc) released on HD DVD available for download on that website.

Lastly, please note that we will be updating the various sections of this blog over the course of next few weeks.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Coming Soon to HD DVD in 2007...

Based on inputs from various sources. List may not be considered as finalised and exhaustive.

  • Dirty Harry Collection (Dirty Harry, Magnum Force, The Enforcer, Sudden Impact and The Dead Pool)
  • Alexander Revisited: The Unrated Final Cut
  • Ocean's Twelve
  • The Departed
  • Failure to Launch
  • Babel Special Collector's Edition
  • Payback Straight Up: The Director's Cut
  • Happy Feet
  • Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone
  • Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets
  • Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire


"Half Baked" on HD DVD, Jan 30

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has indicated that Half Baked will be due on HD DVD/DVD Combo disc ($29.98 SRP), come January 30. The main feature will be presented in 1080p High Definition Widescreen 1.85:1 and will feature Dolby Digital Plus audio tracks (5.1 English, 2.0 Spanish and French) and DTS 5.1 (English). All the bonus materials included will be similar to those found on the previously released Fully Baked Edition DVD.

Will be back with some sections revamped next week...