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Sunday, February 17, 2008

New feature Blog (Hot News)

Remember the new section (Hot News) at the top of the page, where you can see up to date news, and it can be accessed from any RSS Reader via

New Yamaha AVR model RX-V663

Very soon we will start seeing the newest Yamaha AVR models coming out. One of the most interesting is the RX-V663. This will replace the current RX-V661 and have the same retail price. You can see the official web page HERE.

Essentially, the 663 adds HDMI 1.3 and video up-conversion, which are outstanding additions to a receiver in this price range. It also adds all the HD audio decoders and the ability to accept bitstreamed HD audio for decoding, (including 7:1 bitstream), or MPCM. It also will support 1080p/24 HDMI video.

Previously, you needed to double the price to get these features in any of the Yamaha models.

For a comparison of the 661 and 663 models, you can look HERE.

For folks trying to break into the AVR game with a minimal investment, this is a great option and will play nice with any of the current HD players, PS3, you name it. I have a 661 and can attest to the awesome sound quality speaker and ease of use. The Yamaha AVRs also offer the option of using a 7:1 audio decoder on all 5:1 signals, which is unique in this price range and a real plus for anyone with a 7:1 setup.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

New feed link

To up to date news, a new link that is part of my blog;

* More about later...

HD DVD and Blu-ray releases on February 5th, 2008

The Assassination of Jesse JamesWhen you look at the lineup this week, don't be too quick to passover these titles. While nothing in the lineup really jumps out at us, we were very surprised to see how highly rated some of 'em were on IMDB, including the biggest title of the week, The Assassination of Jesse James, with a crazy score of 8.0. If none of the new releases are up your alley, then there is sure to be a catalog title for you, seriously, who doesn't like Wall Street? The red fans will have to be content with Elizabeth: The Golden Age this week, but it should hold them over as two big titles are coming down the pipe later this month. After looking at the lineup for both camps this week, we have no doubt that the VideoScan results will be a landslide again, but it will be very interesting to see how red does when American Gangster and Beowulf hit the shelves in a few weeks.

HD DVD 384 vs Blu-ray 437*

* Blu-ray total does not reflect 32 Paramount titles that were previously available.

from Engadget HD

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl Ads

To watch them all, go to

HD war not over by a long shot.

Upon the release of recent news on Warner Bros. shifting its HD home video support from both formats to only Blu-ray, many of the mainstream media outlets quickly jumped to the conclusion that “the HD format war was over.” The idea of the format war being over couldn’t be further from the truth, although Sony’s Blu-ray is without question picking up supporters. Conjecture from the recent Consumer Electronic Show suggests Sony is helping their cause with as much as $500,000,000 per studio willing to jump on to their sidelines, but that support and the figure have not been easy to confirm so far. The same rumors surfaced when Sony was battling for high-resolution audio supremacy with their SACD format vs. the also-doomed DVD-Audio format.

Sony knows the stakes are high, but so do the likes of Toshiba and Microsoft. The pace of this war is playing out quickly, as HD DVD had booming sales at the end of 2007. Prices for some HD DVD players dropped to as low as $99 per unit. Then Blu-ray stole the spotlight back by persuading Warner Bros. to support only their side.

Some industry experts say content rules supreme and Blu-ray clearly has the edge in terms of big-ticket titles. However, many prominent retailers say that without the players in the marketplace, selling the discs is nearly impossible. Sony benefits from their Playstation 3 system being the most stable of all high-def players, but most mainstream consumers don’t play video games and don’t look to an odd-sized game machine with clunky controllers and no RS-232 jack as a source for movie playback. In terms of set-top boxes, HD DVD has lower-priced models with that magic word “DVD” on them, which every consumer understands. Blu-ray, as a brand and as a concept, is still new to the soon-to-be-HDTV-converted marketplace. Moreover, people who already own set-top Blu-ray players suffer from the frequent need for firmware updates. Even the most recent players from Sony and Pioneer will not effectively play the latest blockbuster titles from Blu-ray-supportive studios, such as Disney, with its Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy.

Can The HD DVD Camp Right The Ship?
With HD DVD on the ropes after the “Blu-Friday” Warners announcement, the HD DVD camp looks to regroup. It's likely too late for Microsoft to re-engineer their Xbox 360 system to run HD DVD internally, and with its overall success in the gaming world, who can blame them? What Microsoft can do is give people the incentive to add the company’s HD DVD drive to the vast base of players on the market. Perhaps extending the promotion where gamers would get close to the equivalent of the price of the Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on drive in free titles would convert a few million more people to the world of HD DVD.

Microsoft is the key to the future of HD DVD in terms of success with software and implementation. Amazingly, the actual specification for Blu-ray isn’t yet fully implemented in the majority of current Blu-ray players, thus leaving early adopters increasingly angry at Blu-ray 2.0 discs for not playing effectively in older Blu-ray players. This leaves the door open for Microsoft to produce the best, most meaningful software and code they have ever written if they want to potentially rally HD DVD back on top of this fray. HDMI is still a nightmare for consumers, installers and equipment companies, yet there is no faster way to get a Hollywood studio’s attention than to show them that you (with help from Intel, a long-standing partner of Microsoft) have the best, most reliable copy-protected connection. Right now, players of each format have HDMI connectivity issues, but it’s the only way to get uncompressed audio and 1080p video from the player to the monitor and/or receiver. If Microsoft can whip up a strong solution here, consider it a major battle won.

Back to the world of conjecture, if studios can be bought for $500,000,000, then Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer should be fueling the company Gulfstream 550 and heading down to Los Angeles to see the likes of Fox, and then swing a quick U-turn over the Southland to see the bigwigs at Disney in Burbank. $500,000,000 is a lot of coin to dangle in front of a company and will certainly get someone’s attention at the studios. If that is the cost of doing business and how the game is being played, then it is time for Microsoft to step up, as nobody has the ability to pay more than the Seattle software superstar.

The Last Battle of a Two-Front War
The structure of the format war reminds me in some ways of World War II, in that the battle isn’t as simple as England and the United States vs. the Axis powers in Europe and Japan. Even if Blu-ray runs away with the format war (think one or two more studios going to Blu-ray), they still have the fight of their lives left to wage. The last battle in the format war is with the consumer darling, the almighty traditional DVD.

For consumers not wowed by impressive 1080p video or are afraid of taking sides in a VHS vs. Beta-like format war, DVD offers millions of meaningful titles, quick load times and players that cost well under $100. Want to placate the hyper kids in the back of the minivan? Don’t look to Blu-ray and HD DVD, as traditional DVD rules this multi-billion dollar world of mainstream consumers. Want to sell movies in bulk at grocery stores, drug stores and even Costco? Well then you have to knock off the mighty DVD in the eyes of the everyday consumer. There are still vast technical issues that frustrate and delay millions of mainstream consumers from making the move from standard-definition DVDs to HD discs of both formats. Wanna watch a movie while traveling the country? Traditional DVD rules that world, too, despite Apple’s “support” of Blu-ray and Toshiba’s spattering of HD DVD-drive laptops.

In the end, when the HD battle is over and the charred Earth is starting to cool, the final battle will start to rage and that is a battle to kill off the DVD. Don’t think for a second that Microsoft and Toshiba don’t know they have the format with “DVD” in their name, and that they don’t know the value of that branding. They know what they have and are going to fight to the end to try to win. Right now, Sony and their teammates have them on the ropes, but even with a lead, both sides have their weaknesses.

I don’t want to predict who is going to win the format war at this stage, as there are too many battles left to fight. However, I can tell you, no matter what you read in the mainstream press, this war is not quite over yet.

by: Jerry Del Colliano ( AVS Forum)

Latest NPD report shows Blu-ray sales were no trend

NPD Groups data for the week after Warner's announcementMany were quick to claim that HD DVD was dead when the NPD group's numbers showed Blu-ray players had a 93 percent share the week after Warner's announcement. While those numbers were staggering, those with a level head wanted to wait to see if the blue camp could keep it up, and now according to the same firm, it did not. In fact the very next week sales were back to where we'd grown to expect them, about 65 percent Blu. As interesting as these numbers are -- as many have pointed out in the past -- Amazon and other online retailers are not included, and we all know how popular HD DVD players are on Amazon. While at the same time Blu fans would argue that many buy the PS3 as a Blu-ray player, which is also not counted in the study. Regardless, the better metric for the success of a packaged media format is media sales and with two weeks at about 84 percent and almost no decent red titles in sight, we'd be surprised if Blu victory in that court didn't continue.

from Engadget HD

HD DVD ad to air during Super Bowl XLII, BDA sez it's futile

While we wouldn't say this is anywhere near a last ditch effort, Toshiba's VP of marketing for the Digital A / V Group has affirmed that it will air a 30-second spot during Super Bowl XLII extolling the HD-A3, HD-A30 and HD-A35 players. The plug is said to be a part of its revised strategy to "reinvigorate HD DVD," and oddly enough, it won't be running its ad up against that other format. Apparently, the BDA decided not to buy discounted airtime for a commercial after realizing that it couldn't complete a "Super Bowl-caliber ad" in time, but it seems as if the Blu camp isn't worried about a thing. Andy Parsons, SVP of industrial solutions business research group for Pioneer and BDA loudmouth, noted that he "admired [Toshiba's] chutzpah," but continued by saying that "running a Super Bowl ad is not likely to convince consumers that HD DVD will win the format war." Go on Andy, tell us how you really feel.

from Engadget HD

HD DVD and Blu-ray releases on January 29th, 2008

The InvastionAnd so it begins this week, as Warner's first title to be affected by the three week delay for HD DVD is released for Blu-ray. Meanwhile HD DVD fans will have to wait until February 19th to check it out. But that isn't the only thing that is in three weeks, as the first decent title for the red camp also comes out that day in the way of American Gangster. But the bad news for red doesn't end there this week because there are only three titles and we can't say we've ever heard of any of them. Of course this isn't that surprising considering HD DVD's ace in the hole Universal and Paramount are on the bench for the third week in a row. At the same time Blu-ray's lineup isn't anything to call home about either, but at least it includes a day and date in Invasion and Daddy Day Camp -- yeah, we're not excited either. Probably the most interesting title this week is the cult comedy classic Mony Python's Life of Brian, which includes both a TrueHD and LPCM sound track, that the reviewers say doesn't really sound any better -- but at least the video quality delivers. Looking ahead to next week, there isn't much to get excited about either, but at least Universal has a title for red.

HD DVD 381 vs Blu-ray 427*

* Blu-ray total does not reflect 32 Paramount titles that were previously available.

from Engadget HD

Nielsen VideoScan High-Def market share for week ending January 20th, 2008

While one week is not a trend, two weeks in the row could be the start of one. And according to this week's Nielsen VideoScan numbers courtesy of Home Media Magazine, Blu-ray has once again defeated HD DVD handily with a 83/17 split (4.9:1). The other thing to happen two weeks in a row that could also become a trend is that -- despite the fact that four of the top ten titles are also available on Blu-ray -- not one HD DVD made the list. You might be quick to say this is Warner's doing, but we can't forget that it has been a month since HD DVD released a decent title. So this situation is as much Universal and Paramount's fault as anyone else. Of course the real bad news here for the red camp is there aren't any hot titles to speak of until American Gangster hits the street in about a month. And to top this off -- looking at the entire release schedule for the red camp -- there are only ten HD DVD exclusive titles. If HD DVD is really trying to win this thing, they need to push Universal and Paramount to release the hottest catalog titles in their vaults, otherwise we don't see how this thing can be turned around.

NPD clarifies Blu-ray's market share the week after Warner went Blu

HD DVD vs Blu-raySome were very quick to crown Blu-ray the winner when we learned that the Blu-ray player owned 93 percent of the HD movie market the week after Warner went Blu. Evidently the numbers were leaked and the NPD group was quick to respond in an attempt to clear things up. As expected, some were just as quick to discount the Blu-ray success -- which is just as silly as saying the numbers alone mean Blu-ray has won. Two things happened that week that we're not so sure could continue forever; HD DVD sales were down, and Blu-ray sales were up. With some help from a a few promotions (free player with a new TV) -- stand-alone Blu-ray player sales were up 30 percent (22k, up from 15k) -- but this alone wasn't enough to shift HD DVD share from 40 percent down to 7. HD DVD only sold 1,758 stand-alone players during the same week, compared to 14,558 the week before. So while Blu-ray was up 30, HD DVD was down 88 percent. So it isn't that the Blu-ray sales were all that spectacular, but instead it was that HD DVD sales were way down. At this point it doesn't mean anything, but if it continues for more than a month then that's whole 'nother story entirely.

from Engadget HD

The Kicker zKICK ZK500 in High Resolution

I like speakers that sound good, speakers that have a bit of muscle; that's why I just wasn't all that impressed with the Altec Lansing M604. I've written about the zKICK ZK500 from Kicker before, but since it was hard to make out much detail about the unit from the video I took at CES (YouTube and their low-res quality), I thought I'd upload some sweet high-resolution images.

[click the image above for the 2000 pixel wide JPEG, 879 KB]

[click the image above for the 2000 pixel wide JPEG, 802 KB]

I can't wait to check one of these out when they start shipping!

GTAIV officially dated April 29

Take Two has finally pinned down the official release date for the game, April 29. We should note that this is the worldwide release date for GTAIV, so gamers the world over can officially start getting excited now. If you're not excited, then perhaps you should direct your attention to the flood of previews that swept the internet yesterday. Once you've reached the proper level of excitement, please read this post again and react accordingly.

Paradigm reveals SIG-LCR 5 and SA-LCR 3 in-wall speakers

Paradigm's latest duo isn't exactly cut out for retrofit applications, but if you're looking to add a wing and have a thing for keeping your speakers extra close to your insulation, these just may do the trick. Both the six-driver SIG-LCR 5 and four-driver SA-LCR 3 require the firm's Backbox support frame, and each can be installed in a variety of configurations depending on application. It should be noted that these suckas pack more than just good looks, and for more on the specifics of the $2,999 SIG-LCR 5 and $1,199 SA-LCR 3, click on through for the full release.

Continue reading Paradigm reveals SIG-LCR 5 and SA-LCR 3 in-wall speakers

from Engadget HD

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Devil May Cry 4 Demo is coming Tomorrow!


Warm those broadband connections. The Devil May Cry® 4 playable demo hits both the PLAYSTATION®Store and Xbox LIVE® Marketplace this Thursday, January 24, 2008. Devil May Cry 4 has been rated M for Mature by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB).

The demo introduces gamers to the gothic-inspired supernatural world of Devil May Cry 4, new protagonist Nero and the awesome power of his Devil Bringer. The demo consists of a sampling of sections from the full game, chosen to showcase Devil May Cry 4's varied locales, allowing gamers to familiarize themselves with Nero's unique abilities. Players will receive instruction on the various new actions that the Devil Bringer bestows, such as the ability to slam creatures to the ground, cover great distances in a single bound or even grab enemies while on the ground or in the air and pull them towards Nero to continue an attack combo. The Exceed system allows Nero to "rev up" his sword as if it were a motorcycle throttle and unleash devastating attacks. Players will need to master all these techniques before the end-of-demo showdown with the mighty Berial.

Fully demonstrating the power of the next generation of consoles, the Devil May Cry 4 demo brings to life the coastal city of Fortuna and its surroundings in exquisite detail, such as the port and the snow-capped mountain ranges. Devil May Cry 4 delivers its intense action at a constant 60 frames per second at 720P resolution on HD monitors, ensuring seamless and breathtaking gameplay in stunning high definition.

Zune Desktop Software 2.3 Fixes Explained

Well, well - it seems that 2.3 software update contains more than just a few little fixes - there's some very significant stuff in the update. I've re-published the list here for your convenience.

"Key Marketplace fixes

* Allow users to view top music videos in marketplace
* Misc improved error messaging including splitting sign-in issues into 4 separate errors for customer and support benefit
* Resolved most cases where retrieval of subscription download history stalls
* Better handling of accounts that have expired credit cards
* Podcasts with spaces in their name can now be subscribed to
* Marketplace no longer blocks explicit content purchases when parental controls are set to allow
* Points balance label is now updated when user purchases new points

Key Player UI fixes

* Allow zooming in/out (2x, 4x, fullscreen) during video playback to prevent stretched playback
* Ability to switch Zune to GDI mode through command-line parameter

Key Podcast fixes

* Allow subscriptions to podcasts larger than 10MB
* Fixed some parsing errors that prevented some podcasts from syncing to the device
* Fixed bug where podcasts were unsubscribing themselves

Key Setup fixes

* Fixed numerous bugs affecting build to build upgrades
* Improved installation for users accessing from corporate networks
* Fixed driver uninstall failures
* Included device 2.3 firmware in client download
* Failure in creating system restore point no longer blocks client installation

Key Sync fixes

* Fixed issues with reverse sync
* Fixes issues with sync meter UI showing incorrect information as to what is on the device
* Fixed issues using wireless sync with multiple devices to the same PC
* Fixed a few different issues setting up wireless sync
* Device is no longer being reported as full even after deleting large file from device
* Device content is no longer being turned into guest content when it shouldn’t be
* Content with bad metadata now shows properly so it can be removed from device
* Turning off “autolaunch when a Zune device is connected” no longer prevents “Sync Now” from working from a wirelessly connected device
* Podcast bookmarking is now transferred/saved to the device
* Wireless sync connection continues to work after rebooting host computer
* Unsubscribe podcast from device now works properly
* Changing album art in the client now updates the device as well
* Duplicate tracks are no longer synced to the device twice

Key Xbox Streaming bug fixes

* Xbox Streaming now monitors the rip folder if user changes default location
* No need to reinstall client to fix Xbox Streaming when upgrading from XP to Vista

Key Infrastructure fixes

* Vista x64 customers can now get to web help from error messages
* Client no longer crashes if database is corrupted

Key Library fixes

* Changes in pictures or video metadata made outside client will now get updated in the library
* UI is now smoother during file groveling
* When a track is added to an album we will now always update the track on disc
* User can now update album art for marketplace tracks
* 'Unknown Artist' metadata is no longer written to files when writing out user edit of album name
* Renaming an artist now more reliably keeps the change
* Two different copies of the same album no longer get duplicated down to one when it shouldn’t
* Access violation no longer occurs when checking song properties in the burn list
* Multi-disc albums imported from iTunes no longer show in the client as a single disc album
* Thumbnails for video content now extract on XP properly."

from Zune

Universal exec says studio and HD DVD are moving forward

Universal exec says studio and HD DVD are moving forwardIn an interview, Universal executive vice president and HD DVD Promotional Group co-president Ken Graffeo gave some insights to the recent format war developments. First up, he addresses the obvious: the pre-CES Warner announcement was a surprise, and the necessary re-jiggering of the HD DVD press conference is what led to its cancellation. Graffeo also reiterates that Universal will continue to stand behind the HD DVD format and roll out new titles; "business as usual" as he calls it. It's a brave face to put on the embattled format; but if consumer purchases are the strongest statement that can be made, then how can the 60:40 split in sales figures be reconciled with his statement that "... we just haven't addressed (Warner's move) yet?".

from Engadget HD

Is the future really Blu?

Ok, I am back from my break.. With the holidays and CES (I worked the whole show - a week in Vegas is 4 days toooo long) I needed some time to rest. So at CES our good friend Warner turned the tables on HD-DVD, backing only Blu come May of this year. The announcement was a shock to many and the reason they defected made very little sense. If you are truly concerned with the Economy (because of rising gas costs, housing, etc) your best move is to continue to back both formats as Warner is making money off both. This really bothered me along with the noise on the show floor that strongly suggested that Blu paid to end the war. I heard 400 million on several occasions but of course had no evidence. Then the week after CES some news drops of what really went down. A reputable reporter for the Pittsburg Post Gazette claims that Fox was going to defect from Blu to join Warner in the HD-DVD camp. This started to explain my Fox had been selling Blu-Ray discs at 2 for 1 prices in Nov and Dec. Remember when I talked about Blu-Ray yields and cost production and many of Blu Fan boys called me a liar? Strange how the main motivator for Fox was Blu-Ray production costs and issues.. Apparently Blu paid 120 million to get Fox to stay and then Warner felt like they had no choice but to side with Blu helping to bring things to an end (after taking a reported 500 million). It appears Warner did not want go over to HD-DVD alone... On some level you have to appreciate Warner aggressiveness in ending the war. They did make a real effort to back the superior format first but when $$$ prevailed, HD-DVD was doomed.

With Blu finally embracing features that made HD-DVD the format to beat, things "should be" ok but unfortunately the consumer will pay for Blu's victory. The PS3 is the best Blu-Ray player the camp has. Not because of Visual Quality but because it can support profile 1.1 and 2.0. Other Blu owners are screwed scrambling to spend more of their hard earned cash on future players. Visual performance of the PS3 is weak. The PS3 suffers from soft images just like the 1st gen Samsung player (Samsung 2nd Player schools the PS3 in visuals). It is a shame that the camps best player is "half-ass" with profile support but weak visuals. Remember, the PS3 is a software player and not driven by an SoC (System on a Chip). Microsoft did a much better job on visual performance with the 360 HD-DVD Player than Sony did with Blu-Ray support in the PS3. Will Sony work to improve the visual quality of the PS3 (actually putting the CELL to work)? I sure hope so because right now it is the only player to own.

With Blu's ever changing profiles and high cost, Blu will never reach the mass acceptance that DVD has. HD-DVD has a damn good chance to take on DVD as the prices are getting very close to the sweet spot but Blu is doomed and Digital Downloads will rule the future (believe that). At CES this year Digital Content was front and center ready to dominate our digital lives in the near future. :)

from : The High Definition World... Simplified!

CES 2008: Candid conversation with Blu-Ray BD LIVE Programmer!

Naturally I stormed the Blu-Ray booth like Darth Vader and his Storm Troopers looking for Princess Leia. I immediately dropped the "LOADED" question: Why does Blu deserve to Win? My adversary for this little conversation was a Blu-Ray BD LIVE Programmer. I am going to withhold his name because he was candid with me which is something I appreciate. There is nothing I hate more than listening to some marketing clown (do not get me wrong, marketing is needed but should always be done right) who probably is not capable of finding his way out of a wet paper bag let along give me real answers. ;) This guy was VERY COOL and we had a sweet conversation. I first accused Blu of playing copycat. He did NOT respond with denial but instead admitted that the camp had a tough time collaborating on the 1.1 profiles so Blu consumers could utilize PIP and other interactive features. With so many members it turned out to be a tough task. Having worked in alliances I know how hard collaboration can be... He realized consumers are getting the short end of the stick and once 2.0 profile is here, things will be stable.

Next I went after codecs. I pushed on why Blu-Ray studios did not utilize VC-1 over MPEG-4 and MPEG-2. We both agreed that MPEG-2 is not sufficient for HD content as the codec is aging, lacks the necessary compression, color spaces, etc. I of course love the VC-1 codec and implied that I believe the codec is superior even to MPEG-4. I used several examples such as Spiderman III and Resident Evil 3 vs a hand full HD-DVD titles (Bourne 3, Matrix, Batman, etc). He argued that we could argue all day over which one is superior and that he has learned one thing in the business. There is NO such thing as bad compression just a bad compressionist. Essentially he was admitting that the Blu-Ray studios could do a better job of encoding. I agree with this as well because if you put Resident Evil 3 against Transformers, both encoded in MPEG-4 AVC, Transformers stomps all over Milla (I do LOVE that movie). The difference in visual quality is huge (my comparison is with Toshiba HD-DVD Player vs PS3 using 1080i - full review coming soon) and makes you go "hmmm"....

Next we talked about upcoming BD LIVE features such as interactive games that are playable while viewing a movie. On display Fox had a version of Aliens vs Predator where two people can shoot facehuggers and aliens (scoring points) while watching the actually movie. This type of interactive content is possible via Java that is utilized by BD LIVE. With HD-DVD's HDi being browser based there are some limitations and creating interactive content such as the game in AVP, can actually become very difficult using HDi.

We ended our conversation with him asking me "how I know so much"? Told him hey, I work and play in the technology sector. It is what I do. :) We agreed to talk more in the future.. :D

from : The High Definition World... Simplified!

HD DVD and Blu-ray releases on January 22nd, 2008

SAW IVThe slow new releases continue for both camps, but both camps have the same number of titles this week, two. But while Blu-ray has movies from Disney and Lionsgate respectively, the red camp gets one from Vanguard Cinema and one from Music Distribution. The one ting in common for both camps is that there isn't anything to get excited about. That being said, with this lineup from Blu-ray we'd expect about the same sales share for HD DVD as it had last week. Looking ahead, this trend looks like it'll continue and if HD DVD's lineup doesn't improve -- unless of course Universal and Paramount step up soon -- we don't see this being much of a war. But of course we said the same thing about this time last year and we couldn't have been more wrong.

HD DVD 378 vs Blu-ray 420*

* Blu-ray total does not reflect 32 Paramount titles that were previously available.

from Engadget HD

Xbox LIVE Arcade Undertow Free of Charge

Recently, posted a letter from Marc Whitten, General Manager of Xbox LIVE, thanking subscribers for their patience with the service. We’ve implemented several improvements to the service, to help ensure ongoing reliability and performance. As the popularity of Xbox LIVE expands, we’ll continue to closely monitor the service and make adjustments. As always, if you are having any problems, please contact your local support (1-800-4-MYXBOX in North America) so that we can assist you.

Marc announced that all Xbox LIVE members (Gold and Silver) around the world would have access to a full Xbox LIVE Arcade game to download free of charge. We’re pleased to announce that beginning next Wednesday, 2:00 a.m. PST through Sunday, 11:59 p.m. PST, Xbox LIVE members worldwide can download the full version of the recent award-winning Xbox LIVE Arcade game, Undertow.

Developed by Chair Entertainment Group, Undertow is one of the highest-rated and best looking games available on Arcade. Undertow redefines aquatic based shooters through a mix of high-definition graphics, intuitive controls and multiple modes of game play action. The game features a full story driven-single player campaign, on and offline co-op, and multiplayer for 2-16 players over Xbox LIVE for Gold subscribers. Players battle for control of the oceans as one of three selectable races, each with four unique, upgradeable units. "Undertow" is available worldwide (normally 800 Microsoft Points) and is rated E10+.


For more details on “Undertow,” please visit

NPD Numbers for December Released into the Wild

Every month, the numbers crunchers from all the console and games companies huddle in their dark offices, analyzing the numbers released from NPD. And every month, we send out our take on what they all mean, and why they make us our platform victorious. (If you're curious about NPD, and why you should care, listen to a podcast interview we did a few weeks ago with our own analyst, Mike Sabine. You might find it informative.)

Here are some interesting stats we just released.

Consumers spent more dollars on Xbox 360 in 2007, with more than $13.7 billion in total consumer spending. Xbox 360 had $4.8 billion in total consumer spend (45 percent of total industry figures) compared to Wii with $3.5 billion and PlayStation 3 with $2.2 billion.

Xbox 360 games portfolio has the largest collection of “Everyone” and “Teen” rated games.

Of the top 20 best-selling titles in 2007 for this generation, 11 were on Xbox 360; while only seven were sold on the Wii and two sold on the PS3.

NPD reported that this holiday’s leading multiplatform blockbusters continue to sell better on Xbox 360:

  • “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” for Xbox 360 was the leading game last month with 1.5 million copies sold, outselling the PS3 version nearly 3:1.
  • “Assassin’s Creed” for Xbox 360 was the fourth best selling title, having sold 894,000 units. It outsold the PS3 version more than 2:1.
  • “Guitar Hero III” outsold the PS3 nearly 2:1, having sold 625,000 copies.
  • “Rockband” continues to rock the charts, selling 463,000 units for the Xbox 360 platform, compared to 174,000 units for the PS3

To date, 33 third party games on Xbox 360 hit the top 10 list across all consoles compared to five third party games on PS3, and four on Wii.

In its fourth month on the market, Halo 3 continued its strong performance and was the sixth best selling title in December, selling another 742,000 units. In 2007, NPD projects that Halo 3 has sold 4.8 million units in the U.S. since its launch in September.

Xbox 360 continues to lead in number of games sold per console, setting another record with an attach rate of 7.0 games per console.

from Gamerscore Blog

Paramount Announces HD DVD Slate for First Quarter

Press release:
HOLLYWOOD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 17, 2008--Paramount Home Entertainment (PHE) today announced its upcoming slate of releases on HD DVD for the first quarter of 2008. A compelling array of action-adventure, drama and family fare, PHE's lineup of HD DVDs provides something for everyone, further expanding the format's offerings for a broad consumer audience.

Released on January 8, PHE's first HD DVD title of the year is David Fincher's director's cut of the mesmerizing drama Zodiac, which has been cited on over 200 critics' lists as one of the top 10 films of 2007. The HD DVD includes over three hours of in-depth bonus materials including a multi-part exploration of the making of the film, the facts of the real-life attacks and more. Following on February 26, PHE will debut the director's cut of Robert Zemeckis' visually stunning cinematic experience, Beowulf, which conjures a world the likes of which has never been seen before with state-of-the-art technology and exhilarating storytelling. The HD DVD will include a feature-length picture-in-picture track, web enabled Beowulf Profiler, A Hero's Journey: The Making of Beowulf with optional pop-up trivia and much more.

Director and screenwriter Sean Penn's widely praised adaptation of the inspirational true story Into The Wild arrives March 4 with behind-the-scenes material that takes viewers deeper inside the enthralling, real-life story, characters and experience, along with the compelling drama Things We Lost In The Fire, which features phenomenal performances by Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro, as well as a discussion of the film and deleted scenes.

DreamWorks Animation's funniest new animated hit Bee Movie buzzes onto HD DVD on March 11 loaded with exclusive content, including web-enabled downloadable features such as The World of Bees and a Build-A Bee Avatar, a picture-in-picture storyboard reel, customizable menus, Barry's trivia track and much more.

"The Jack Ryan Collection" will arrive on HD DVD featuring four explosive thrillers including The Hunt for Red October starring Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin, Clear and Present Danger and Patriot Games starring Harrison Ford as well as The Sum of All Fears with Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman. In addition, the highly-anticipated film The Kite Runner, based on the international best-selling novel, also will debut on HD DVD in the first quarter.

Select Blu-ray titles offering $10 back if you own DVD version

Another day, another random promotion in the format war. Granted, this particular one isn't exactly a jab against HD DVD, but it could sway some fencesitters to pick up a few Blu-ray titles they wouldn't otherwise add to their collection. Reportedly, the BD versions of The Rock, Crimson Tide and Con Air are all coming with $10 mail-in rebates that are valid if you can prove that you purchased the BD version and standard DVD version of the film. Interestingly, the promotion is good for this entire year, which leads us to believe this trio may just be the beginning of a much larger effort to entice consumers to bite on Blu. If any of you out there spot this offer on a title not listed above, be sure to let us know in comments.

HD DVD and Blu-ray releases on January 15th, 2008

Good Luck Chuck Blu-ray coverHere we are the first week after CES and there isn't much on the release schedule for either camp. Blu-ray does have six titles this week, but nothing really to get excited about. Comedies do pretty good, -- even though some think HD doesn't make them any more pleasurable -- so Blu-ray fans can look forward to Dane's latest comedy Good Luck Chuck. Looking forward, this is a slow time of year for movie releases, but horror fans can look for SAW IV. And to those who think Universal and Paramount are going to be HD DVD's savior, you might want to look at the upcoming release schedule where there are a combined five titles between both studios for 2008 currently on the schedule. To be fair we saw the same thing last year, before Universal released the torrents of their catalog.

HD DVD 376 vs Blu-ray 418*

* Blu-ray total does not reflect 32 Paramount titles that were previously available.

from Engadget HD

Think Blu-ray has it easy in 2008? NPD says not so fast

The Blu-ray Disc Association could be on cruise control right now. This time last year, they were already declaring victory, and while the opposition deals with key defections -- and rumors of more to come -- they're predicting 1 billion in software sales this year. Video Business reports that the NPD Group's session immediately following last night's BDA press conference confirmed many of the BDA's positive numbers from last year, but also identified possible resistance it will face in 2008 due to still high prices, confused and indifferent customers and competition from HD DVD / VOD / IPTV. Coincidentally, a suggestion for the BDA to get past this was offering a concierge service to educate customers, but we'll see what marketing initiatives they dream up to move people to Blu in '08.

from Engadget HD

HD DVD and Blu-ray releases on January 8th, 2008

3:10 to YumaAlthough we are running non-stop 24 hours a day with CES coverage, the new titles roll on. While some think the format war is over, the fat lady hasn't sung just yet and this week we have a slew of titles for both camps. Blu-ray has the day and date 3:10 to Yuma as well as some catalog titles like Con Air and Man on Fire. Universal is pulling the weight in the red camp -- we have a feeling this will be the trend from now on -- with four catalog titles and Paramount brings us Zodiac: Director's Cut. Overall January is a slow month for release and with so few titles released at CES this year, we are left wondering what titles are coming down the pipe to help each camp reach their 2008 goals..

HD DVD 375 vs Blu-ray 412*

* Blu-ray total does not reflect 32 Paramount titles that were previously available.

from Engadget HD

Toshiba is not going down without a fight!!

Providing our best peek yet at HD DVD's post-Warner strategy, Toshiba today announced lower prices for its third-generation HD DVD players and plans for a shift in marketing focus for the format.

Calling price "the most critical determinant" in reaching mainstream consumers, Toshiba announced an immediate drop in the MSRP for its complete line of third-gen HD DVD players, pricing its 1080i entry-model HD-A3 player at $149.99, the HD-A30 at $199.99, and the high-end HD-A35 at $299.99.

The manufacturer also unveiled plans to roll out a "stepped up" marketing campaign with its studio partners that would put renewed emphasis on the benefits HD DVD brings to a consumer's current DVD library by upconverting standard DVDs.

"Our HD DVD players not only play back approximately 800 HD DVD titles available worldwide and deliver an entirely new level of entertainment but also enhance the picture quality to near high definition on legacy DVD titles by all studios," explained Toshiba VP Jodi Sally.

Details on the new advertising campaign were still sketchy at press time, but the company's press release promises it will span television, print and online media.

Rumor: GoldenEye, more Rare games coming to XBLA

Since the early days of Xbox Live Arcade, gamers everywhere have been dreaming of the games they'd love to see on the service. While some wishes have come to pass, other remain rumors. This one comes to us from Xbox Evolved and it concerns none other than the Nintendo 64 darling from Rare, GoldenEye. Heralded by many as one of the best FPS games to grace a console -- and certainly one of the first games to prove an FPS could be done well on a console -- GoldenEye could be on its merry way to Xbox Live Arcade sometime soon. Apparently a deal has been reached between Rare, Activision, who owns the game rights to James Bond, and MGM Studios, who owns the film rights to James Bond. Supposedly the game should release shortly before the upcoming Activision published James Bond title rumored to be under development at Bizarre.

But wait, there's more! Xbox Evolved is also reporting that Rare is planning on releasing more of its back catalog on XBLA including the original Perfect Dark and Banjo Kazooie. And before you ask, no, Killer Instinct isn't mentioned.

Pioneer announces A/V receivers, DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD support

Pioneer logoPioneer is expanding its CES lineup with four new audio-video receivers, one of which supports the new high-definition audio codecs found in Blu-ray and HD DVD. The VSX-518-K, VSX-818V-K, VSX-918V-K, and VSX-1018TXH-K A/V receivers all feature Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration with an included microphone for tweaking acoustics in the room, three 1080p-capable component inputs, and Auto Level Control for equalizing volume between sources. The VSX-518-K, 818V, and 918V all feature P.H.A.T (Pioneer Hybrid Amplifier Technology) power sources and support for WMA9 Pro over 5.1 channels, with the 518 dropping support for XM and Sirius satellite, iPod, and HDMI inputs. The big news is the VSX-1018TXH-K, with its support for 130 watts over 7.1 channels using a Direct Energy power supply, HDMI upscaling to 1080p, six digital inputs, and support for the lossy Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD High Resolution, and lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio codecs. The VSX-518-K is priced at $199, the VSX-818V-K at $249, the VSX-918V-K at $349, all releasing in April, and the VSX-1018TXH-K will come to market in June for $599.

CES 2008: Gates delivers his last keynote

Windows log - Image 1Microsoft Corporation co-founder and chairman Bill Gates keynoted Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada with a variety of announcements. He announced that this will be his final CES appearance as a keynote speaker and described what he envisions the second digital decade to be.

A lengthy and comedic video presentation was shown to the eager crowd describing what life will be like for Gates after he steps down from regular Microsoft employee responsibilities. There were spoofs of pursuing a musical career, a movie career, and even a newscasting career.

Proceeding to more serious matters, Gates said that there are three essential elements for the next ten years of information technology. First, he stressed the importance of proliferating high-definition video everywhere. Second, Gates emphasized that HD video will go hand in hand with easier, faster, and more accessible connectivity over the Internet. Finally, he drew a picture of technology adopting a more natural interface for ease of use.

On the third point, Gates pointed to touch screen and voice recognition technology as tools in the revolution at hand. He described a world wherein users will be able to use technology with friendlier controls than ever.

Gates said that at the center of all this will be Windows Vista and Windows Mobile technologies. Microsoft believes that mobile phones and PCs will be important pillars in the next generation of electronics.

Gates was then followed by top Microsoft exec Robbie Bach who announced a partnership between the Microsoft Xbox Live online service and top media entities. The Xbox 360 game console is touted as the next big thing in the entertainment scene with its ability to download high-definition videos.It will also be host for IPTV programming.

There are many more details on the Bill Gates keynote address for CES 2008. You can browse through raw notes by following the link below. Stay with us for more on CES 2008.

Monday, January 7, 2008

CES: ABC, Disney and MGM bring content to XBLM

Today, as part of their CES announcements, Microsoft revealed that ABC, Disney and MGM have signed up to offer new content via Xbox Live and the Xbox Live Marketplace. The new content will rollout later this month to the US video marketplace from television channels including ABC, ABC News, ABC Family, Disney Channel and Toon Disney as well as movies from MGM's massive library. Standard and high-definition content from television shows like Lost, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Hannah Montana, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and movies including Terminator, Silence of the Lambs, Legally Blonde, Barbershop and Rain Man. New video content that'll be sure to empty your Microsoft points account.

Side note: The Microsoft CES keynote is still chugging along, but it is looking like they've announced all their Xbox 360 news already. This is it. So, no HD DVD equipped Xbox 360, but we did get more XBLM content ... that's good, right?

Via Xbox 360 Fanboy

The HD Guru’s Top HDTVs

Here are the HD Guru’s recommended High Definition Televisions, as seen in the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers in an article by Kevin Hunt.

Under 32 Inches (LCD)

Toshiba 26HL47 ($750): Properly processes 1080i signals — most under-30-inch sets don’t. Panasonic TC26LX70 ($750): Wide-angle viewing, also processes 1080i signals properly.

32 Inches (LCD)
Panasonic TC-32LX700 ($1,100): Smallest and lowest-priced LCD flat panel with 120-hertz refresh rate for better motion resolution.

Toshiba 32HL67 ($900): Low price … 10-bit panel with 14-bit processing eliminates image artifacts seen on 8-bit panels. (Color resolution, measured in bits, refers to the amount of data in the pixels that make up an image. The higher the number, the more accurate the picture.) … also available in a 42-inch model.

Panasonic TC-32LX70 ($900): One of the widest views with uniform brightness … properly processes 1080i signals.

40 To 42 Inches (LCD, Plasma)
Samsung LN-T4081 ($3,000): Best LCD ever tested … accurate color, fastest motion response of any LCD panel tested (by 33 percent) and lowest power consumption. Uses white LED backlights. Full-resolution 1080p (1920×1080) … also available in 46- and 52-inch models.

Pioneer PDP-4280HD ($2,700): Best black levels and performance of any 42-inch, non-1080p panel … also available as a 50-inch model and in Pioneer’s higher-end Elite series.

Panasonic TH-42PZ700U ($2,000): 12-bit plasma … anti-reflective screen (shiny coating) … also available in 50- and 58-inch screen sizes.

Panasonic TH-42PZ77U ($1,800): 12-bit plasma panel … 1080p set properly processes 1080i … anti-glare screen (dull coating) … also available in a 50-inch model.

Sony KDL-40S3000 ($1,500): Full 10-bit panel eliminates image artifacts seen on 8-bit LCD panels … properly processes 1080i signals … also available in a 46-inch model.

Panasonic TH-42PX77U ($1,499): Similar to TH-42PX75U, uses anti-glare dull screen coating … also available in 50-inch model.

Panasonic TH-42PX75U ($1,400): Second-best performance for a 42-inch, non-1080p plasma. … anti-reflective screen coating … also available in 50-inch model.

46 to 50 Inches (LCD, Plasma)
Pioneer PDP-5010 ($4,500): Best HDTV flat panel — LCD or plasma — available with the deepest blacks, highest contrast, very accurate color, fine signal processing. Full 1080p plasma … also available in 60-inch model.

Panasonic TH-50PZ750U ($3,499): Panasonic’s top-of-the-line plasma … full 1080p … also available in 58- and 65-inch models.

Samsung LN-T4671 ($3,400): 1080p LCD shares the same panel as Samsung’s top-of-the-line series … substitutes fluorescent lamps for LEDs and uses 120-hertz refresh rate for reducing motion blur … also available in 52-inch model.

Sony 46KDLXBR4 ($3,300): Top-of-the-line LCD, with 10-bit panel, 120-hertz refresh rate … full 1080p … also available in 40- and 52-inch models.

Toshiba 46RF350U ($2,400): 1080p LCD properly processes 1080i signal … thinnest frame in industry … 10-bit panel with 14-bit internal processing … full 1080p … also available in 40-inch model.

51 To 73 Inches
Pioneer Elite 60-inch PRO-150FD ($7,500): Top-of-the-line Pioneer plasma has additional control settings to custom-tweak the image and a fancier external finish than the 5010 series with the same top-quality 1080p image … also available in a 50-inch model.

Mitsubishi LT-52144 ($3,900): Thinnest 52-inch LCD frame … 10-bit panel with 12-bit processing … 120-hertz refresh rate … full 1080p … also available in 46-inch model.

Sony KDS-60A3000 ($3,400): SXRD three-chip rear-projection set, with 12-bit chip and 120-hertz refresh rate … full 1080p … also available in 50-and 55-inch models.

Mitsubishi WD-57833 ($2,500): DLP single-chip rear-projection set with 12-bit processing, six-color palette, 120-hertz refresh … 3D ready (for computer content) … fullest array of inputs, including FireWire, of any rear projection television … also available in 65- and 73-inch models.

Budget Best Bets
Samsung LN-T4053H ($1,500): Lowest-priced Samsung with its best LCD panel (10 bit; also used in its 71 and 81 series).

Toshiba 42HL67 ($1,400): 10-bit LCD panel with 14-bit processing.

Season’s Hottest Buy
Panasonic’s 42-inch plasma sets: The TH-42PX75U.

from HDGURU.Com

Live coverage CES press conferences









Saturday, January 5, 2008

New Line confirms it'll follow in Warner's Blu footsteps

New Line CinemaAs if anyone expected anything different, New Line confirmed with Variety Magazine that it'll follow Warner to the Blu-ray promise land. While this is a no brainer considering the relationship between Warner and New Line, (also owned by Time Warner, just like Engadget) other studios remain up in the air. When, and if, Universal makes the switch as well is any ones guess, but at this point we doubt many would expect otherwise. But, as we've learned in the last few days, anything's possible, but the idea of having one HD format to adopt is something even most members of the red camp can get behind.

from Engadget HD

HD DVD camp cancels CES presscon due to Warner announcement

Blu-ray vs. HD DVD - Image 1The HD DVD camp has announced that it is canceling its press conference at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show. The group mentioned that this was done so that they could have time to discuss the impact of Warner Bros. Entertainment's recent announcement that all their films will be Blu-Ray exclusive after May.

Toshiba, a staunch supporter of the HD-DVD format, commented about Warner Bros.' decision in a press release. The company said that it was very surprised considering "there are various contracts in place between our companies concerning the support of HD DVD."

Obviously, the Blu-Ray group is very happy at this announcement. They have declared their CES presence as the "Best Booth of All Time." It looks like the format wars are raging hotter than ever before. Be sure to check back here for more updates on this hot issue.

from X360 QJ.NET

Friday, January 4, 2008

Is this the end of HD DVD?

Of course it's, let face it, check all your HD DVD and you are going to find that most of them, are from Warner. Hate to say this but, I need a Blu-ray (PS3), I want Dark Knight in Hi-Def glory.

Warner: New Line, HBO Not Covered By Blu-ray Announcement

Though it's widely expected that Warner Bros. subsidiaries New Line and HBO will follow Warner Home Entertainment to Blu-ray exclusivity, for the moment they remain format-agnostic.

That's according to Warner Home Entertainment President Kevin Tsujihara, who said that the studio's announcement that it would drop HD DVD support does not extend to titles released by New Line, HBO or the BBC (which Warner distributes here in the US).

"They'll be making whatever decision they're going to make," said Tsujihara. "I assume they'll let people know very quickly, but they are not covered by this initial announcement."

Tsujihara's comments came in a post-announcement conference call with various members of the media, including High-Def Digest.

Stay tuned for more news from the Warner conference call...

[Via High-Def Digest]

Warner goes Blu-ray exclusive

We've all been wondering what to make of those whispers that Warner was indeed going Blu-ray exclusive, and apparently, those rumblings are true. Based on a breaking release, Warner Bros. Entertainment will be releasing its high-definition titles "exclusively in the Blu-ray disc format beginning later this year." According to Barry Meyer, Chairman & CEO, the move is a "strategic decision focused on the long term and the most direct way to give consumers what they want," and he also noted that "the window of opportunity for high-definition DVD could be missed if format confusion continues to linger." Notably, Warner will continue to release on both HD DVD and Blu-ray until May 2008, but after that, it's BD for life for this studio. Oh, and while there's nothing official mentioning any sort of payoff, we're hearing that quite a sum was dished out to make this happen.

from Engadget HD

Letter from Xbox LIVE GM, Marc Whitten will be posting a letter from Marc Whitten regarding the recent service interruptions on Xbox LIVE, but we wanted to give you a heads up.

Dear Xbox LIVE Members:

During this past holiday season you helped us break a number of Xbox LIVE records. This included our largest sign-up of new members to Xbox LIVE in our 5 year history and just yesterday you broke the record for the single biggest day of concurrent members ever on the service.

As a result of this massive increase in usage we know that some of you experienced intermittent Xbox LIVE issues over the holiday break. While the service was not completely offline at any given time, we are disappointed in our performance. I would like to take this moment to thank you each and every one of you for your patience and understanding as our team has worked around the clock to return the service to a stable state.

At the same time we would like to offer a token of our appreciation to all of you in celebration of record success for the service. And as a thank you for your loyalty during this holiday period, we will be offering all of our Xbox LIVE members around the world access to a full Xbox LIVE Arcade game that will be available to download free of charge. In the coming weeks we will be sharing the specific details of this offer with you.

Thank you again for helping make Xbox LIVE everything that it is today!


Marc Whitten
General Manager, Xbox LIVE
Gamertag: Notwen

Calling It: The Xbox 360 Won 2007 [Wilson Ramblings]

baberuth-706127.jpgLike Babe Ruth, I'm raising my controller in the air, calling the shot. (Granted, Babe Ruth called the homerun before it happened, but let's not sweat the details). I'm going to go on record and say what we're all thinking, but way too afraid to admit:

The Xbox 360 won 2007. The console might not have sold the most units or captured the attention of the mass media, but as a platform, it's provided the most complete experience of the year while executing titles with the most successful track record.

The Most Games You Want To Play
Let me make a little list for you: Bioshock, Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed, Crackdown, Guitar Hero II & III, The Orange Box, Halo 3, Forza 2, Skate, Rock Band, COD4. Are all these Xbox 360 exclusive? No. But you can play them all on the Xbox 360 (along with a 2006 catalog that had some decent titles as well). And in the case of quite a few of these games, they are running better on Xbox 360 than other consoles. There's simply more good stuff to play on the 360 than any other modern console and, for the most part, that content is running better on the 360.

Xbox Live Is Still The King
Even with all the alternatives on the market, no one can look Microsoft straight in the eye and claim that there's a service more complete or polished than Xbox LIVE. And their arcade titles are complimenting the service, not just through spec-sheet pleasing "leaderboards," but massive amounts of co-op injected into new and old titles alike. I have huge hopes for Home and the few PSN titles out there are fantastic, but LIVE tips the scales of me buying/playing a game on the 360 instead of the PS3...daily. As for Nintendo, their infrastructure is the equivalent of a 1991 AOL member homepage with animated mailbox gifs and site counters. It's shamefully outdated, and not in the ironic way.

Speaking of XBLA

Nintendo's Virtual Console has been cooking all year and maybe every game that's hit PSN should be played this year. But the XBLA releases are just so damn smart and diverse that the experience trumps its competitors. Let's take a case in point: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the 1989 arcade game. The Wii's Virtual Console picked up the title from their NES library. XBLA grabbed the full, uncompressed arcade source code...and then they added the co-op LIVE experience. But this isn't about one case, it's about a trend. We see both the same polish and variety in XBLA titles as we do their Xbox 360 counterparts, be they remakes or original titles (Battlestar Galactica and Wing Commander Arena excluded, of course).

DivX Darkhorse
Frankly, I'm a lot more excited about the PS3's future as a media hub than maybe any electronic device on the market today. But Microsoft matched what may have been Sony's biggest attack of the year: DivX and XviD support. As of right now with limited but decent movie downloads and new codec streaming capabilities, the 360 has found a respectable balance in the ecosystems of most home theaters (even if the DVD playback quality has been panned).

Why DIdn't I Pick the DS??
The DS has won sales and invigorated the public. But as a gamer (technically a "hardcore" gamer maybe, but not nearly the level of some) I can appreciate that the stuff that drops your jaw, turns your stomach and makes you spaz out to friends over—that content is found on the full-sized consoles. And XBLA fills some of those casual gaming gaps and 2D arcade action to round out the experience. Besides, I'm not saying that you should ONLY play the Xbox 360, but I am saying that if you could only play one system in 07, the 360 was probably your best bet.

Why Didn't I Pick The [Fill In Console I Own]
I clearly hate you, your family and your dog.

from Kotaku

Nielsen VideoScan High-Def market share for week ending December 16th, 2007

Nielsen VideoScan for week ending 12/16/07

Better late then never right? It better be, because Home Media Magazine took last week off, so this week's edition includes the Nielsen VideoScan numbers from the week ending December 16th 2007. Not sure if they plan to catch up somehow -- eventually skip a week -- but either way we'll bring 'em to you when they're published. As previously reported by a AVS member -- Blu-ray outsold HD DVD by 61:39 (1.56:1) despite the fact that the HD DVD exclusive The Bourne Ultimatum outsold Blu-ray's best title by almost 2:1. Part of the reason for blu's success this week was some old favorites like 300 and Spider-Man 3, but judging by the new legs on Casino Royale, we'd say a BOGO sale contributed to the success as well. Looking forward to next week last week, the same trusty source has beat HMM to the punch and let us know that once again the ratio was 61:39, and although Amazon is included in these numbers, the HD DVD BOGO sale wasn't in progress yet. But as successful as the sale appears to be, we really doubt it'll be enough to give red it's first winning week of the year.
Nielsen VideoScan for week ending 12/16/07

Amazon Reports Strong Holiday Sales For HD DVD, Blu-ray Players

Singling out strong sales for next-gen disc players, says the 2007 holiday shopping season was its best yet.

According to a company press release, Amazon customers ordered more than 5.4 million items during the retailer's busiest day (December 10th) -- that's more than 62 items per second.

The company went on to say that it had sold enough high-disc players during November and December to cover seven football fields.

The residual effects of such strong next-gen hardware sales appeared to be in full force late Wednesday, as HD DVD and Blu-ray discs dominated Amazon's real-time list of top-selling DVDs (fueled, no doubt, by a pair of post-Christmas sales for both formats -- see related stories below).

"We are very grateful to our customers," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of "On behalf of employees around the globe, we wish everyone happy holidays and best wishes for 2008."

HD DVD and Blu-ray releases on January 1st and 2nd, 2007

Resident Evil: ExtinctionBlu-ray rings in the new year with a couple of Profile 1.1 titles, it's just too bad that only PS3 and Panasonic BD30 owners can actually enjoy it. Although a few firmware updates are imminent that will allow others to enjoy them. In the meantime, everyone can enjoy the five new titles for Blu-ray this week, while HD DVD fans are left looking in the window to next week. Blu-ray wasn't able to hit 400 titles by our count before the end of 2007, but they did get in before CES -- which starts in less than one week. Resident Evil: Extinction is the biggest title, with Shoot 'Em Up coming in a close second, which at the same time is another example of why region coding can be a good thing for Blu-ray. Looking forward to next week, nothing really sticks out at us, but since we'll all be at CES covering all the press events for you in real time, it's not like we'll have time to watch anything anyways.

HD DVD 370 vs Blu-ray 403*


  • Nada
* Blu-ray total does not reflect 32 Paramount titles that were previously available.

from Engadget HD

Zune 2.3 Firmware Includes Great Podcast Support

The Zune 2.3 firmware upgrade brought some very cool Podcasting features that, simply, aren't getting enough attention.

As mentioned in Zune-Online, subscribe and unsubscribe options are now made available with all Podcast files.

How does this work? It's fabulous.

If someone shares a Podcast with you and you like what you hear, you can subscribe to the Podcast right within the Zune device. The next time you sync up your device with the player, you will be subscribed to that content.

And the converse is true as well. If you don't like what you've got, you can unsubscribe from the device too.

Great job Zune team. This device continues to get better and impress us more and more.

HD DVD and Blu-ray releases on December 23rd and 26th, 2007

The KingdomThe holidays always get us out of whack, not only are movies released on two different days, but the post is in the middle of the week. Either way, there aren't that many titles, but all those with a new HD DVD player for Christmas yesterday will be happy to enjoy the biggest title this week; The Kingdom. Meanwhile, new Blu-ray fans can laugh in HD at the latest installment of Rush Hour -- while red has to wait to see it, presumably due to the lack of region coding on HD DVD. This competes the list for HD DVD going into CES, but blu has a few more next week, as they push the first profile 1.1 title to just before the big show.

HD DVD 370 vs Blu-ray 398*

* Blu-ray total does not reflect 32 Paramount titles that were previously available.

from Engadget HD