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CES Weinstein, Canal Studio to release HD DVD titles

The Weinstein Company, recently created by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the brothers who founded Miramax in 1979, will begin releasing titles in HD DVD in the Spring through their video distribution company, Genius Products.

“The decision to support HD DVD was based on several factors, including;proven data capacity, manufacturing reliability and cost, time to market, widespread industry and retailer support, the ability to add compelling and innovative interactive bonus content, and the ability for customers to enjoy content on a number of consumer electronics devices,” says the company. The Weinstein Company's DVD releases will include Derailed, The Libertine, TransAmerica, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Wolf Creek, The Matador, Lucky Number Slevin, Breaking And Entering, Decameron, Young Hannibal, Last Legion, Scary Movie 4, Sin City 2, Pulse, Passion of the Clerks, Killshot, Awake, School for Scoundrels and Grind House.

Trevor Drinkwater, head of Genius Products, said there are no plans at this time to also support Blu-ray.

Former Warner Home Video president Warren Lieberfarb, a vocal proponent of HD DVD (see story), is a consultant to the Weinsteins and Genius as well as Toshiba.

Another win for the HD DVD camp is the announcement by France’s Studio Canal that it plans to release 30 popular movies in the HD DVD format in 2006.

The titles available will be available in five European countries, including France, UK, Germany. Studio Canal says it will add advanced interactivity features to these titles through the use of the HD DVD format's iHD interactivity layer and “will use the VC-1 video compression format to ensure the best video quality.”


– Sony unveiled a variety of Blu-ray Disc-based products at CES. The US product introductions will begin this spring and gather momentum over the summer with the introduction of a home player, model BDP-S1, that features full HD video output upscaling to 1080p.

– RCA is introducing a HD-DVD player, the HDV-5000, for an April launch for around $500.

– Toshiba is showing off its newest Qosmio notebook computers. The 17" notebook with Centrino Duo processor looks to be the first with an HD DVD-ROM drive. To take advantage of upcoming titles, its NVIDIA GeForce Go 7 chip can output 1080p resolution. The new Qosmio will have Dolby Home Theater sound, two 2-watt 30mm Harmon Kardon speakers and surround sound.

– TDK is showcasing the first 100 GB 2x Blu-ray disc prototype. The firm said that the capacity – enough to store nine hours of HD video – was reached by combining four 25 GB Blu-ray layers. The disc records data at 72 Mbps (2x speed), double the 36 Mbps rate of the current Blu-ray Disc specification. 100 GB media are not expected to arrive before 2007.

– Meanwhile, the HD DVD industry also has been working on greater disc capacities. Triple-layer HD DVD ROMs are already running in labs with 90 GB capacity, double-sided and dual-layer HD DVD-Rs at 60 GB as well as double-sided and dual-layer HD DVD RAMs at 64 GB according to the DVD Forum.

– Astar Electronics, a division of KXD Technology of Shenzhen, China, introduced its new ultra slim, DivX-certified 7" Portable DVD Player, the PD 8800. Highlights of the new machine include top loading portable DVD player with built-in speakers, a 7" LCD screen, 1440 x 234 resolution, 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio, access time of 12 ms and the ability to connect to a TV set via the composite output. Astar Electronics will begin shipping its portable DVD player in the first quarter of 2006 with an MSRP of $149.99.

Story filed 08.01.06

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