Major HD DVD announcements from Warner
Source: High-Def Digest
One of the biggest criticisms levelled against both high definition formats has been the relative lack of “triple-A” movies. This is not in itself particularly surprising, as the studios, always keen to make a buck, have initially been releasing less successful titles in the hope that, given the dearth of available films, AV junkies will buy titles they otherwise wouldn’t consider simply because there isn’t anything else on offer. The run-up to Christmas was always going to be the point at which the studios really kicked into gear, and it seems that Warner, who have been unusually sluggish when announcing new releases (often very close to the release date), have finally decided to kick things up a notch with the following releases on October 10th:
- Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971 version)
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005 version)
- Corpse Bride
- Batman Begins
- The Polar Express
These titles will be encoded in VC1 at 1080p, with 640 Kbps Dolby Digital-Plus audio. The extras will be the same as those of the standard definition DVD releases, apart from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Batman Begins, which, in addition to the standard definition extras, will both gain an “In-Movie Experience” interactive feature.
Warner also announced two Blu-ray releases for the same date - Syriana and 16 Blocks, both of which are already available on HD DVD. They too will be using the VC1 format, unlike Sony, who continue to insist on using the outdated and bloated MPEG2. This should mean that image quality will be identical to the HD DVD versions (unless they need to be re-encoded in order to fit on the lower capacity Blu-ray discs), although the higher price tag of $34.99 (versus $28.99 for the HD DVD releases) means that, once again, there is nothing appealing about the Blu-ray versions.