Akihabaranews: Here you are the ultimate all in one Audio and Video combo, the FX166. Just recently introduced in Europe and launched today in Japan, the FX166 comes with pretty much everything you need with maybe the exception of being capable to record videos on DVD and Blu-Ray. Anyway, the FX166 comes with a DVD/Blu-Ray video player with 3D Support, is iPod/iPhone compatible, a Radio Tuner, as well as the basic Radio/Alarm Clock functions.
The FX166 is also capable to access to both Music and Video stored an external drive of connected one (DLNA) and support both DviX and DviX HD videos!
Akihabara News: Announced earlier this year in Europe and North America and widely available overseas since this summer, the DBP-1611UD, Denon latest 3D Universal Blu-Ray player will finally be available in Japan within this month (December).
Supporting BD, DVD, CD as well as DVD-Audio and SACD disks, the DBP-1611UD comes also with the support of DivX Plus HD, AVCHD, DLNA, YouTube, Netflix (for the USA), as well as the usual MP3 and WMA file support.
The DBP-1611UD will be sold in Japan at around 52,000 Yen MSRP.
Techradar: Blu-ray sales in Europe are looking better than ever, with new figures suggesting that the format has almost doubled in popularity in a year.
In Q1 of 2010, Blu-ray sales managed to increase by 94 per cent year on year, with 8.4 million discs sold, according to new figures released by the Digital Entertainment Group Europe.
This meant that consumers spent a cool 151.4 million Euros on the format. This is similar to what happened in 2009, where sales of Blu-ray increased by 109 per cent.
Riding the wave of success
Blu-ray has still got a long way to go to match DVD sales, however. In the same timeframe 135 million DVDs were sold, which is a slight drop of 1.7 per cent.
Money wise this equates to a massive 1.3 billion Euros.
Overall this meant that combined disc units sold was up 3.8 per cent.
Speaking about the increase, Yves Caillaud, senior vice president of Warner Home Video said: “Blu-ray has continued to ride the wave of success at the start of 2010 and it is promising to see consumers respond well to the format.
“The industry is providing consumers with the most innovative and enjoyable home entertainment experiences, and we expect sales to increase as the penetration of HDTVs continues to accelerate.”
This is all good news, but surely those betting big on Blu-ray will be a little concerned that the humble DVD is still outselling the format by 10 to one?
The entertainment industry will be hoping that another Avatar-like success will be just around the corner.
EngadgetHD: While Futuresource may still be sticking to its 2012 predictions of Blu-ray software dominance, In-Stat has taken a break from the tea leaves to mention it expects Blu-ray player sales to near 80 million by 2013.
In its vision of the near-future that’s not enough to overtake DVD player sales of 90 million, but with a higher average selling price Blu-ray players will own most of the dollars being spent.
Naturally, Blu-ray recorders (and, we’d expect Blu-ray/VHS combos) are most popular in Japan, while Europe produces the most revenue for players. We’re not ready to lay down $3,495 to find out more detailed forecasts, but we’ll put a pin in the calendar and ask Jeremy Toeman to save the date for our 2013 podcast about whether or not Blu-ray sales have lived up to expectations.
EngadgetHD: Blu-ray buyers of Disney movies can expect to keep finding DVD copies packed in, at least through 2010.
According to a statement from the company received by Video Business, president Bob Chapek claims customers have shown “tremendous interest” in packages that can also play in their existing DVD players.
Especially for the market of Disney titles, we can see how that would be, since you probably haven’t upgraded the television in the kids room, or in the backseat of the car just yet. Hopefully this deeper commitment to including an additional disc doesn’t lead to the rumored raised prices, but hopefully the threat of Redbox keeps that at bay.
EngadgetHD: As frequently predicted, Blu-ray hasn’t been enough to make up for sagging DVD sales, as a new Screen Digest report indicates a 4.8 percent slide worldwide last year, falling more than $2.6 billion.
After plateauing approaching 2007, disc sales have been falling ever since and even Blu-ray’s $482 million contribution can’t hold up the slack.
Still, it’s looking at online rentals like Lovefilm and Quickflix to make up for some of the rental losses internationally, but don’t expect Blu-ray to help grow the market at all until at least 2010.
Of course, the company did also predict the format war would remain stalemated just weeks before Warner ended the whole thing, so we’d keep a grain of salt handy while reading.
BBC: A new optical recording method could pave the way for data discs with 300 times the storage capacity of standard DVDs, Nature journal reports.
The researchers say this could see a whopping 1.6 terabytes of information fit on a DVD-sized disc.
They describe their method as “five-dimensional” optical recording and say it could be commercialised.
The technique employs nanometre-scale particles of gold as a recording medium. Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia have exploited the particular properties of these gold “nano-rods” by manipulating the light pointed at them. The team members described what they did as adding three “dimensions” to the two spatial dimensions that DVD and CD discs already have.
They say they were able to introduce a spectral – or colour – dimension and a polarisation dimension, as well as recording information in 10 layers of the nano-rod films, adding a third spatial dimension.
The scientists used the nanoparticles to record information in a range of different colour wavelengths on the same physical disc location. This is a major improvement over traditional DVDs, which are recorded in a single colour wavelength with a laser. Also, the amount of incoming laser light absorbed by the nanoparticles depends on its polarisation. This allowed the researchers to record different layers of information at different angles.
The researchers thus refer to the approach as 5-D recording. Previous research has demonstrated recording techniques based on colour or polarisation, but this is the first work that shows the integration of both. As a result, the scientists say they have achieved unprecedented data density.
Electronista: Researchers NPD Group said that 88% of the money consumers spend on home entertainment goes towards purchasing and renting movies on DVD and Blu-ray discs.
Of the $25 each US consumer spends on average in a given month, 63 percent was found to be spent on DVD purchases, 7 percent on Blu-ray discs, and 18% went towards renting DVD and Blu-ray movies.
The remaining 12 percent was split between video on-demand (VOD) services (9 percent) and digital downloads and online streaming (3 percent). Still, watching full-length streaming movies is a growing trend.
In 2009, 9 percent of those with Internet connections at home streamed movies online, which is an improvement from the 5 percent last year. Online rentals accounted for 8 percent of users polled, while less than 5 percent watched movies they downloaded via a game console.
Downloaders were also found to purchase or rent more movies than the average poll-taker, at 80 percent versus 50 percent.
To a lesser extend, the same holds true for buying and renting Blu-ray discs, at 25 percent versus 5 percent overall.
“While many in the home video industry worry that digital consumers might walk away from packaged media, that hasn’t happened yet,” said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for NPD.”
Direct-download movie purchases and rentals have nonetheless contributed to growth in the past year in part through the rapid expansion of Netflix’s Internet streaming service, which can now be accessed on the Xbox 360 as well as Roku’s Internet Player, TiVo DVRs and multiple Blu-ray movie players. Rentals through iTunes and other services like Amazon VOD and VUDU have also contributed to the increase.
Crave: It’s been a couple of years now since Blu-ray launched and it’s been over a year since it beat HD DVD to become the high-definition format of choice. So with the format rushing into puberty, we thought we’d examine its puss-filled pimples and try not to laugh at its erratic voice.
First of all, if you’re a fanboy, don’t take this the wrong way. Blu-ray is a terrific format, with plenty going for it. We’re just sure it could be good deal better, and we’d appreciate it if those involved could have a little think, and make some tweaks to make it more accessible and consumer-friendly.
As always, you should feel free to let us know via the comments section or our forums if you have a point to make on this subject.
This is a simple one, and the least controversial. Blu-ray discs are very expensive, and even with the rapid price reductions we’ve seen in the last six months, the players are still far too costly.
While we agree Blu-ray is a premium format, that doesn’t excuse costs of more than twice that of DVD.
Solution: Reduce the cost of films, and if that means removing some bonus features or extras such as a digital copy or DVD version, so be it.
In tests, we’ve found that Blu-ray players can load an interactive, Java-enabled Blu-ray in between 45 seconds and 1 minute 30 seconds.
Even the cheapest DVD player loads a standard DVD in no time at all, and plays it straight away. The problem with Blu-ray is there’s an awful lot happening during the disc load. When you turn your player on, it needs to load its operating system.
After that, when you insert the disc, it has to load Java interactivity and do boring things such as encryption-key exchange. The reasons don’t matter. It’s a bad user experience, and something needs to be done about it.
Solution: As hardware gets faster, load times will naturally decrease. We’re now at the point where the quickest standalone player can load a disc and begin playback in around 45 seconds. But that’s still not quick enough. Because a decent percentage of this load time is tied up in the interactive menu loading, we propose that a button is added to new players. When the user presses this button, the player will ignore the interactive features and simply start playing the movie. Obviously, movie studios will hate the idea of their expensively designed interactivity not being loaded — but Blu-ray is a premium movie experience. Users should not have to load features they aren’t interested in. We’re sure people will still use the interactivity — but giving them a choice means they can just watch the film.
There’s another possible solution here too. AACS allows for ‘managed copy’. This process allows a copy of the movie to be stored on a computer, with DRM. If movie studios used this, load times wouldn’t be such an issue. The presence of DRM is a fail, but even so there are solutions — such as Windows Media Centre — that can make use of these copies.
Physical media might not be dead — but it should be
Buying a piece of plastic, taking it home and putting it in a Blu-ray player is fine for some people, but it’s an outdated way of doing things. It suits movie studios because they believe — incorrectly — that they can better protect their movies from copyright theft if they stop electronic distribution.
The truth is, they couldn’t be more wrong. Take a look through any torrent site or newsgroup and you won’t find any shortage of illegally downloadable Blu-ray rips in exceptionally high quality (sometimes even bit-for-bit copies of the original). Locking down the hardware with AACS and BD+ doesn’t stop illegal downloading. DRM doesn’t stop illegal downloading. So why not stop worrying, and learn to love online distribution?
Solution: Allow people access to legal downloads. The main movie studios should get together and set up a torrent site that offers HD movies for £10 or so. No DRM, no usage restrictions and no extras. People who want added value can buy the Blu-ray.
The convenience of being able to decide to watch a movie one minute and be downloading it the next shouldn’t be underestimated. It took the music industry ten years to realise that trying to stop piracy with DRM was futile. The process cost the music studios dearly, and there’s no need for movie companies to fall foul of the same problem.
Oh — one more idea. Why not offer an honesty pot for people who downloaded a movie, enjoyed it, and would like to legitimise their ownership of it with a payment? We’re sure movie studios think this would legitimise copyright theft, but the fact is, illegal downloading is happening, and they might as well make some money out of it.
T3: Still need proof as to whether it’s time to dump the DVD player and the accompanying DVD library? Well these latest sales figures should go some way to suggest you start embracing the Blu.
While we are not advocating uprooting your fast-ageing tech and free throwing into the back of a garbage truck, these latest figures from internet firm Futuresource Consulting suggest Blu-ray is well and truly establishing itself in living rooms across the globe.
Well on target to hit the century mark worldwide despite only being two months into the year, these sound like impressive stats. Most of those Blu-ray gorging figures are courtesy of our American neighbours who represent almost 80% of total disc sales.
The UK buying public on a slightly lesser note represent a healthy 40% of the global Blu-ray sales market. These figures cover current year projections, but we reckon we can take this as the closest to gospel as we are going to get in regards to the current format purchasing market. And with so much of the year left, most could well be looking forward to a Blu-ray Christmas, birthday, Father’s Day….
EngadgetHD: It’s sort of odd to hear about this now, but for whatever reason, it seems that some studios are looking to bundle traditional DVDs with Blu-ray Discs in order to broaden appeal and gently ease people into consuming BDs.
As you very well know, this tactic was heavily used during the HD DVD era, but it’s definitely not as prominent with Blu-ray… yet, anyway.
Reportedly, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment along with Lionsgate and MGM Home Entertainment are all prepping rather large releases in the Blu-ray / DVD 2-disc form, with Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment — who is credited with pioneering the practice last fall — hoping to release about seven of the bundles throughout 2009.
Fox is even taking things a step further by tossing in Digital Copy on top of a BD and a DVD with Marley & Me. Mary Daily, the studio’s executive VP of marketing for North America, noted that it’s simply looking to become “flexible to adapt to the changing [habits]” of the consumer. Honestly, we love the idea of tossing a DVD in at little to no extra cost; there’s hardly a better way to convince people to try Blu-ray Discs than to include one with the purchase of their DVD, if you will.