Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Netflix Hi-Def Streaming

Source: Netflix Blog

Netflix adds yet another service, fast on the heels of their subtitle announcement a couple of weeks ago, with high definition video available for instant streaming on both PC and Mac.

This upgrade includes both episodes of TV shows as well as movies, and is available to those that subscribe at no extra cost. The only catch for this new service is that your computers hardware can handle it along with updated software and sufficient bandwidth. No word yet on if, or when, hi-def videos will be available for instant streaming to other media players such as gaming systems, while that seems to be the next logical step. For those of you that own a Roku box, you have had the capability for some time, it has just been a matter of the content being added for viewing.

Currently Netflix is the only digital rental service with a hi-def option, which is an obvious advantage for them, and while the library of available titles may not yet be extensive it is a solid start.

Now if I can just get my housemates to ease up on the online gaming a bit and I will be able to watch some Deadliest Catch in all of the majesty it deserves.

Best Buy Goes Digital

Source: THR

Best Buy plans to launch a new online service that will allow users to download videos for both rental and to own. The new service, dubbed CinemaNow, will include both movies and television shows streamed right into your home.

Much like other online video services, such as Netflix and iTunes they hope to bring a wide array of content from independent film to classics, and plan on also having new releases available the same day that they are released on DVD and Blu-ray.

CinemaNow will be built in to various devices sold at Best Buy retailers. Right now it is planned to be included in all Blu-ray players and compatible TVs as well available straight to your computer.

You now have yet another option for your video downloading, and you have Best Buy to thank for it.

Yes that is Christina Aguilera, deal with it.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (BD)

Source: The Digital Bits

Director Ang Lee's martial arts epic is getting an updated Blu-ray release on July 27th.

The film, featuring memorable fight scenes performed by the likes of Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh as well as winning four Academy Awards, is a destined to be a classic and now has supplemental features to add to the experience.

This release will have all of the special features from the first Blu-ray release including some new material:

  • Commentary with Ang Leeand James Schamus
  • Unleashing the Dragon: The Making of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • A Conversation with Michelle Yeoh
  • Commentary with Cinematographer Peter Pau (New!)

This new release will feature improved audio quality with TrueHD 5.1 surround sound instead the previous Dolby Digital 5.1 setup in the last release.

Family Vacation in 3D?


Now I never specifically went on the quintessential family vacation to the Grand Canyon, but I did go on many road trips with my family as a kid. (Un)Fortunately nothing as ridiculous as National Lampoon occurred, but they had their ups, downs and all arounds.

Now with the June release of Grand Canyon Adventure: River At Risk loading up the station wagon and hitting the road, as nostalgic as it is, may be a thing of the past since the German film studio Imagion has filmed a 3D Grand Canyon experience using IMAX 3D cameras. The Blu-ray itself will feature 3D menus as well as a 3D BD live application.

While this nature documentary is narrated by an American, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., it is only available in Europe for the time being. Nature documentaries on Blu-ray are amazing. I have always said the BBC series Planet Earth is crack for my eyes, and one featuring the Grand Canyon could be both majestic and badass and it doesn't hurt that it was shot in IMAX 3D.

Would you buy a 3D Blu-ray nature documentary? It sounds kind of like a niche market, but I think I would watch the Blu-ray over walking on the Grand Canyon Skywalk, that scares the hell out of me!