Twentieth Century Fox have pledged support for the Blu-Ray format, one of two High Definition replacements for existing DVD Video. The news will be warmly received by group of hardware manufacturers who formed the standard, who include such industry heavyweights as Sony, Toshiba, Dell, Philips Electronics, Samsung Electronics and Matsushita Electric, maker of Panasonic products.

To receive support from a major studio like Fox is especially good for Sony, who's PlayStation 3 console also uses the format, which can store 25GB on a single layer and 50GB on dual-layer discs. Blu-ray's rival, HD DVD, can hold a maximum of 30GB on a dual-layered disc; conventional DVDs have a maximum dual-layered capacity of 9GB.

Fox have an expansive back-catalogue of feature films and television series to draw from, encompassing a wide range of genres and subject matter. The press release specifically listed the following titles as examples:

Feature Films
  • Alien I-IV
  • Die Hard Trilogy
  • X-Men I & II
  • I, Robot
  • There's Something About Mary
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Sound of Music
Of course, buying the boxset of your favourite TV shows is increasingly popular these days, and Fox make some of the most popular shows around. The following series will be released for Blu-ray:
  • The Simpsons
  • Family Guy
  • 24
  • The X-Files
  • M*A*S*H
...and more will be announced in due course.

"Blu-ray is a superior high definition technology that is a full step forward in the evolution of consumer packaged media," said Mike Dunn, President Worldwide, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, "For consumers, the release of our films on Blu-ray will provide in-home entertainment beyond anything they have imagined. On the business side, the advanced functionality, picture quality and data capacity at a competitive manufacturing cost along with ‘room for growth’ as new consumer usage options are developed, fully realizes the promise of a next generation format and represents the future of home entertainment."

Naturally, you will need an HD-ready TV to watch your new Blu-ray films on, which currently means splashing out for an expensive Plasma or LCD TV. One key element for the success of the existing DVD format was that it delivered clearer pictures than VHS video, as well as the obvious extra benefits of 5.1 surround sound, multiple audio channels etc using your existing TV set.

No one would dispute that High Definition is the way to go. Indeed, regular digital TV broadcasts in many countries are already available in HD. However, the take up of stand-alone Blu-ray / HD DVD players, and to a lesser extent Xbox 360 / PlayStation 3, is going to be hampered by the fact that most people will have to invest many hundreds or even thousands of pounds on a HD display on top of the cost of these players / consoles.

Join in the discussion of this news. Is this technology moving too quickly? Will you update your movie collection to the High Def versions of films you already own, or maintain a mixed collection with only new releases in HD? Should users demand a trade-in scheme, obtaining a discount on HD-movie purchases if they return their obsolete DVD copies?
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October 14 2021 | 15:04