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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Paramount Drops HD-DVD

UPDATE:Paramount spokeswoman Brenda Ciccone made this statement in response to reports that Paramount is abandoning the HD-DVD format: "Paramount's current plan is to continue to support the HD-DVD format." The statement didn't specify if Paramount would also produce Blu-ray DVDs in addition to HD-DVDs. It will be interesting to see how this story pans out.

I just gave the bad new to one of the guys in the Toshiba booth at CES. He wasn't happy. Their HD-DVD focused booth looks a little silly now.

According to the Financial Times, Paramount is going to drop their support for Toshiba's HD-DVD after Warner Brothers pulled out of the HD-DVD camp last Sunday night. This will most likely put the final nail in the coffin of the HD-DVD format and end the biggest home entertainment format war since Betamax vs. VHS.

Why the sudden switch? Why did Paramount go over to Sony's Blu-ray so quickly? Insiders are saying that a clause in Paramount's contract allowed the company to drop HD-DVD in the event that Warner Bros decided to back Blu-ray.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Heroes Season 1 DVD

No longer are our magnificent Monday night ‘Heroes’ going to be confined to merely mortal NBC TV (and SciFi Channel reruns). Our favorite Heroes and villains are coming to DVD this August with tons of bonus features.

The 7-disc set, available on DVD and HD DVD on August 28, 2007, will include the never-before-aired 73-minute premiere episode and over 50 deleted scenes.

The Heroes Season 1 DVD set is priced at $59.98 and is available for preorder on for $38.99 until July 24, 2007.

Here are some of the Heroes Season 1 DVD extras:
  • Unaired Pilot: The Tim Kring cut with audio commentary — A full 73 uninterrupted minutes of the original, unaired, extended pilot episode, as Heroes’ creator Tim Kring first envisioned it, with a character never seen.

  • The Making of “Heroes”: From concept to pop culture phenomenon, a behind-the-scenes look at the hottest new series on television.

  • Special Effects: The secrets behind the eye-popping visuals that give the Heroes their amazing powers.

  • The Stunts: A backstage look at the show’s hair-raising stunts.

  • Mind Reader: Matt Parkman’s mind reading abilities reveal your inner Hero with a series of simple tests.

  • Profile of Artist Tim Sale: A look at the Eisner Award-winning comic book artist (Spiderman, Batman, Daredevil) behind much of the Manga-influenced artwork used in the show.

  • The Score: Go behind the scenes with Wendy Melvin and Lisa Coleman (of Prince’s The Revolution) as they create their ASCAP Award-winning musical score.

  • Extra Scenes: 50 deleted and extended scenes.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Rembrants Sing Thundercats Theme

Remember a band called The Rembrants? If not, don't feel bad. The Rembrants were pretty much just a one hit wonder from the 1990's. Their only hit song was "I'll Be There For You" (aka the Friends TV show theme song).

Well, if you happen to be a fan of the classic cartoon Thundercats (1985), you might suffer a slight Rembrants flashback. Part of the DVD extras for Thundercats - Season Two, Vol. 1 is music video of the Thundercats theme song sung by The Rembrants. In case you are curious, here's a behind the scenes promotional video of the music video I found on Vmix.

Where's Mumm-Ra when you need him?

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Blockbuster Online Denies Problems

According to bloggers and a flood of angry comments on the Internet, operations at American DVD rental service, Blockbuster Online, have come to a screeching halt. Angry customers are reporting that they have not received movies from their queues for weeks. According to one customer, repeated calls to Blockbuster customer service were fruitless and when he finally did get through, a customer service rep told him that their mail rental system was shut down.

However an official spokesperson for Blockbuster denied the existance of any problems when contacted by Ars "We've been continually shipping product. If a customer feels like they are not getting a movie, they should follow up with our customer service. But in terms of product being allocated and shipped, there has been no interruption."

Despite what the spokesperson says, sites like have been flooded with negative comments like this one from a Blockbuster Online user named Cat: "No dvds have been shipped for over a week despite 3 open slots and 26 available titles in my queue. Emails and phone calls to customer support have not succeeded in getting this resolved, just promises that are not kept. I will be canceling and switching to Netflix."

Is it just a random coincidence that Blockbuster Online users didn't receive any DVDs last month? Or is Blockbuster being less than truthful about possible problems with their rental service? Blockbuster is engaged a tough battle against Netflix, the market leader in online rentals. Admitting to significant service interruptions might persuade users to switch to Netflix.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Copy DVDs for Your iPod

Did you get a lot of DVDs for Christmas? Want to watch them on your iPod? For years, the best DVD ripping program, Handbrake, was only available for Mac. But the unthinkable has happened. Handbrake has been ported for Windows. It's still in the experimental beta stages, but you can download a PC version of Handbrake now.

If you are unfamiliar with Handbrake, it's a GPL'd multiplatform, multithreaded DVD to MPEG-4 ripper/converter. Here's a tutorial on how to use Handbrake.


  • Can encode directly from DVDs (even encrypted ones) or from VIDEO_TS folders
  • Supports AC3, LPCM and MPEG audio tracks
  • Outputs MP4, AVI or OGM files
  • Outputs AAC, MP3 or Vorbis audio
  • Supports 2-pass encoding
  • Supports encoding of two audio tracks
  • Includes a bitrate calculator
  • Supports picture deinterlacing, cropping and scaling


PC users looking for a super DVD-to-iPod easy solution should use DVD Copy by InterVideo.

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