Over a dozen Hollywood studios announce movies on Blu-ray

“More than a dozen Hollywood studios announced movie offerings in Japan Tuesday for players of next-generation Blu-ray Disc video,” Hiroko Tabuchi reports for The Associated Press.

“The film companies, including Walt Disney Co., Sony Pictures Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox, said at a press conference in Tokyo that some 75 Blu-ray movies will go on sale starting later this year,” Tabuchi reports.

Tabuchi reports, “Among the works are Sony Pictures’ ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and Walt Disney’s ‘Chicken Little,’ company officials told reporters at a Tokyo hotel. Blu-ray DVDs are already available in the United States, though the number of titles wasn’t immediately known.

“The Blu-ray format is competing against another new format called HD DVD. Blu-ray is backed by Sony Corp., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which makes Panasonic brand products, Sharp Corp., Hitachi and Pioneer Corp., among the Japanese companies, as well as by Samsung Electronics Co., Apple Computer Inc. and Dell Inc.,” Tabuchi reports.

Tabuchi reports, “HD DVD has the support of Japanese electronics makers Toshiba Corp. and NEC Corp., as well as Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced on March 10, 2005 that Apple was “pleased to join the Blu-ray Disc Association board as part of our efforts to drive consumer adoption of HD.”

According to The Blu-ray Disc Association’s website, HD DVD’s pre-recorded capacities are 15 GB for a single layer disc, or 30 GB for a double layer disc. Blu-ray Disc provides 67% more capacity per layer at 25 GB for a single layer and 50GB for a double layer disc. It’s par for the course that Apple backs the superior format while Microsoft supports the inferior one.

It does, however, bear noting that Apple is playing both sides of the fence in a wait and see mode. According to a press release from April 17, 2005, “Apple is committed to both emerging high definition DVD standards—Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD. Apple is an active member of the DVD Forum which developed the HD DVD standard, and last month joined the Board of Directors of the Blu-ray Disc Association.”

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Roxio Toast 7 for Apple Mac adds Blu-ray support – July 25, 2006
Apple and Microsoft showdown over Blu-ray vs. HD DVD? – July 14, 2006
Analysts: Blu-ray coming to Apple Macs sooner than later – July 14, 2006
Ricoh creates ‘universal’ optical disk lens; reads and writes Blu-ray, HD DVD, DVD, and CD – July 10, 2006
Blu-ray Disc blank media hits U.S. shelves – May 22, 2006
Blu-ray Disk Associaton: we’ll win DVD format war over HD-DVD – May 12, 2006
RUMOR: Apple asks studios to include iPod video content on Blu-ray discs – April 25, 2006
Sony postpones PlayStation 3 release until November due to Blu-ray delay – March 15, 2006
Broadcom announces decoder chip that plays both Blu-ray and HD DVD – January 03, 2006
Forrester Research: Apple-backed Blu-ray will win over Microsoft-backed HD DVD – October 20, 2005
BusinessWeek: ‘it looks as if HD DVD’s days are numbered’ – October 07, 2005
China to develop own as-yet-unnamed DVD format; Blu-ray vs. HD DVD vs ? – October 07, 2005
Paramount’s decision gives Blu-ray slight lead over HD DVD in next gen DVD format war – October 04, 2005
Record set straight on Blu-ray Disc Association’s superior high definition format – September 29, 2005
Microsoft backs cheaper, less sophisticated, lower capacity HD DVD over Apple-backed Blu-ray format – September 27, 2005
Twentieth Century Fox joins Apple, Dell, HP, others to support Blu-ray Disc format – July 29, 2005
Poll shows Apple-backed Blu-ray preferred by consumers over HD DVD for next-gen DVD standard – July 14, 2005
Microsoft allies with Toshiba on HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray Disc backers Apple and Sony – June 27, 2005
Apple joins Blu-ray Disc Association Board of Directors – March 10, 2005

30 Comments

  1. Its very early in the game. Recent test reports of Blu-Ray suggest an issue with inconsistent image quality across a range of discs ostensibly related to non defeatable video noise reduction processing in an initial Samsung player. A revised player with the noise reduction circuit switched off was shipped and tested but image quality still fell below that available in HD DVD. Meanwhile, players for both formats exhibit very slow boot up and response times relative to existing DVD players. Early adopters can be burned on multiple fronts including adopting the “Beta” version.

  2. As mentioned in the article HD DVD is 15 GB single layer and 30 GB dual layer while Blu-ray is 25 GB single layer and 50 GB dual layer. Studios are shipping HD DVD currently on both 15 GB disks and 30 GB disks. Almost all pre recorded media (mostly movies) has been with the dual layer, 30 GB, disks. While Blu-ray does support 50 GB disks no 50 GB pre recorded disks are shipping at this time. Rumors abound that by November 50 GB disks will shipping from the major studios. But that’s just rumor.

    Most of the HD DVD disks shipped so far use VC-1 compression. All Blu-ray disks shipped so far use MPEG-2.

    The combination of only shipping 25 GB drives so far and only using MPEG-2 on Blu-ray disks so far has hurt the quality of many of the movies shipped to date by the studios. Many of these disks have been rated very poorly by both reviewers and general bleeding edge adopters.

    The standards for both include MPEG-2, VC-1 and MPEG-4 Part 10 (aka AVC and H.264).

    Most two hour movies (at 1080p/24) compress down to about 15-20 GB using VC-1. You can probably expect similar file sizes for H.264. Given that, the 4+ hour epics (think of movies like The Ten Commandments, Cleopatra, or even the LOTR trilogy) will very likely NOT fit onto a single dual HD DVD disk (30 GB) unless they push the compression further — which will hurt image quality on playback.

    On the other hand, when Blu-ray gets its act together and starts shipping 50 GB disks and uses either VC-1 or H.264 (rumored to be in the November/December time frame) you should be able to get virtually all movies onto a single disk (except something like the Russian version of War & Peace [at 7+ hours!]).

    For personal computers, I do not know of a currently shipping HD DVD drive. They are supposedly shipping “soon”, but may not be available before October/November. Conversely there are a couple Blu-ray drives currently shipping — both internal and external models.

  3. I think it’s a shame that Apple are in the BluRay camp.

    BluRay is more anti-consumer than HD DVD: it has nastier DRM; and Region Encoding where HD DVD has none.

    Current BluRay discs have lower picture quality than equivalent HD DVD ones: they are single layer 25GB disc and use MPEG-2, whereas HD DVDs are double layer 30GB discs and use VC-1 which is like having twice the MPEG-2 storage (in laymans terms).

    Sony have said when they get round to double layer BluRay movies of 50GB they are going to use the extra 25GB for “extras” rather than picture / audio quality.

    It’s unknown when Sony will switch to H.264 encoding for the discs (which they use in other formats like PSP) but they need to because HD DVD movies look much nicer at the moment.

    The ONLY benefit BluRay has is that ultimately it will have higher storage capability, but in return for nastier DRM and lower picture quality is that what people want?

  4. BiggerIsBetter: “BlueRay discs and players are more expensive to manufacture.

    “HD DVD, although inferior in many ways, are apparently cheaper to manufacture as well. I think i read somewhere that the HD DVD players are also compatible with standard DVDs.”

    Blu-ray players are currently selling for about double what HD DVD players are. However, the disks (with the movies on them) are priced about the same, some higher some lower.

    While there are many reports which claim that Blu-ray disks are more expensive to make, the cost of manufacturing the disks is a very small fraction of what goes into the selling price. This is why the selling price of current pre-recorded disks (movies) is about the same across both HD DVD and Blu-ray.

    Also all Blu-ray Disk players shipping and announced so far read DVDs too — and many even play CDs.

    One constraint on the HD DVD side is the only manufacturer committed to making HD DVD drives is Toshiba. RCA was selling re-badged Toshiba players, but there are rumors rampant in the last couple of days that RCA has stopped shipping those leaving ONLY Toshiba. Conversely there are over a half dozen manufacturers committed to making Blu-ray players.

  5. I have done some research on the subject and HD DVD is the better format. The difference in the two formats is that while Blue-Ray offers morme space, the compression technology they use takes up far more space than HD DVD and the picture on a Blue-Ray disk looks worse than what can be displayed on HD DVD.

    Also, it should be noted that Blue-Ray media is very thin and scratches with little effort. This is why Blue-Ray was first seen enclosed in a plastic case.

    The other big issue with Blue-Ray is that the larger capacity disks do not currently exist and may not for quite some time. If any format is going to win, it will be HD-DVD.

  6. I have a question for anyone who knows. I just bought a 61″ 1080p input TV (it accepts a 1080p signal), but read somewhere that while Blu-Ray can output 1080p, HD-DVD can only do 1080i at best. Is this true? Up above someone says that HD-DVD can do 1080p as well.

  7. Kaleb, you should do a LOT more research and get the facts`…. either that or stop being a pro HD DVD troll.

    1. Both formats support the exact same compressino formats: MPEG-2, VC-1 and H.264. The first few disks from HD DVD came out with VC-1. The first few disks from Blu-ray came out with MPEG-2. Blu-ray disks within the next 30 days or so will start shipping with either VC-1 (from Warner and others) or H.264 (from Sony and others) as announced by the studios themselves. The compression technology chosen for either format (HD DVD or Blu-ray) is the responsibility of the studios. It is not the fault of the disks or players as both formats support all three compression technologies.

    2. Blu-ray data is indeed closer to the surface. However — and this is a major point — the Blu-ray format specifies a hard coat layer. Some of these hard coat layers (most notably the Durabis coating) have been shown to be impervious to scratching that would completely destroy the usability of a DVD or HD DVD such as roughly rubbing the surface with coarse steel wool. From the disks out in the public so far, there has been absolutely no evidence reported by users that Blu-ray disks are more susceptible to damage than any other optical media out there.

    3. All of the studios, player makers and disk manufacturers claim that 50 GB disks will be shipping by November — before the end of the year at the latest. In fact 50 GB write once and re-writeable disks and drives are already shipping for personal computer drives and have been for some time! To date there are no comparable 30GB drives or disks from the HD DVD side for your personal computer.

    Eric,
    The media for both HD DVD and Blu-ray support 1080p. However, the only currently shipping HD DVD player outputs at only 720p or 1080i. It does not ouput 1080p even if the disks have 1080p encoded onto them (and some HD DVD disks already shipping are recorded at 1080p). The HD DVD group claims that future HD DVD players will support 1080p output.

    However, the only currently shipping Blu-ray player does output at all three standard modes: 720p, 1080i and 1080p. The Blu-ray side says that future players from other manufacturers (next wave from several manufacturers due in September – November) will also support the full range of modes.

    The bottom line is that it is extremely likely if both technologies are around a year from now you can choose either one to get a true 1080p signal into your display.

  8. “pro HD DVD troll” says the pro BluRay troll. Let’s try and be a bit more honest…

    1. both formats can use all three codecs. HD DVD has all been VC-1 so far, and mostly on 30GB discs. Some new BluRay titles are VC-1 and are now identical quality to HD DVD ones. Unfortunately most titles are still MPEG-2 on 25GB discs, which most reviewers and AV fans say aren’t as good as HD DVD — compression artefacts, “looks like DVD” type comments. Furthermore, in Japan BluRay has used H.264 and had terrible results too.

    shadowself is right … it’s all about the codecs. So far VC-1 is looking the best. BluRay camp have made a mistake using an inefficient old codec (MPEG-2) on smaller 25GB discs, against a new codec (VC-1) that is three times as efficicent on larger 30GB discss. But on the few discs where BluRay use VC-1 they look identical to HD DVD.

    Eric,
    1080i versus 1080p is simply transport mechanism, with movie material 1080i is relatively easily reconstructed to 1080p. So it’s really just marketing nonsense, especially as 99% of tvs/displays/projects cannot accept 1080p signal today.

    However, the only currently shipping Blu-ray player does output 1080p but in an odd way. It uses the same Broadcom decoder chips as the only shipping HD DVD player, spooky how much they are alike actually, however to get the marketing button of 1080p (which is irrelevant to 99.9% of customers) they added an deinterlacer chip — so the Samsung player has 1080p content on discs, which it outputs as 1080i, which it then has a chip intercept and deinterlace to 1080p and outputs that … hardly elegant and prone to cadence errors apparently.

    It’s also not true to say “some HD DVD disks already shipping are recorded at 1080p”, it’s all HD DVD discs. HD DVD discs use VC-1 codec which requires 1080p-24 for mastering.

    Toshiba have already announced that the European models of HD DVD players include HDMI 1.3 and output 1080p.

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