• Amazon, Studios in Talks for Burn-to-DVD Movie Downloads Service

    Posted Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 09:55 AM PST by
    Hand with Lit Match

    Only days after online retailer IndiePix announced a new pay service that will allow consumers to download independent films and burn them on a DVD, The New York Times reports that Amazon is in advanced negotiations with major studios Warner, Paramount and Universal for a similar, broader, service.

    Amazon's move comes at pivotal time for both the studios and online retailers. Both industries are making a mad dash to entice tech-saavy consumers with instant access to their products, amid a dizzying array of new internet and on-demand services and technologies.

    Although the studios have been experimenting with video-on-demand services such as MovieBeam and MovieLink, and making select television shows available for download on Apple's iTunes, none offer the ability for consumers to burn purchases to a DVD disc and then play them on any DVD-compatible device.

    If talks between Amazon and the studios are successful, the launch of such a service would send shock waves through the industry. With the online retail giant's huge reach -- and a hybrid approach that would allow consumers the instant satisfaction of a download, coupled with the ability to continue to watch movies on DVD -- Amazon could quickly bring movie downloads to the masses.

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  • Studios Announce First Blu-Ray Assault

    Posted Wed Jan 4, 2006 at 12:57 PM PST by
    Gold DVD Discs

    After two years of hype and hope, four studios -- Sony/MGM, Paramount, Fox and Lion's Gate -- announced their initial lineup of Blu-Ray titles today at CES 2006.

    Each studio plans to have 10-20 catalog titles available by early spring, with each offering a nominal mix of well-known catalog titles and recent blockbusters. Pricing has not yet been announced, although Sony honco Ben Feingold expected Blu-Ray discs to cost on average higher than their DVD counterparts, but "not significantly so." Day-and-date with DVD support was also sketchy, although Fox and Paramount indicated that such highly-anticipated blockbusters as 'Mission: Impossible 3' and 'Ice Age 2' would see simultaneous Blu-Ray and DVD release in 2006.

    The initial slates leave us a little wanting -- 'Stealth,' 'Rambo' and 'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow' is as good as it gets, folks. While these titles are skewed towards the young male action audience (which is a safe bet, given Blu-Ray's almost pre-sold base of Playstation 3 gamers), if high-def DVD is going to succeed with the mainstream, there has to be more variety. How about a few romantic comedies? Or even a couple genuine classics? And with only one TV DVD title announced ('Stargate Atlantis'!) the studios appear to be failing to capitalize on the biggest growth sector of the DVD market.

    However, with remaining Blu-Ray supporting studios Warner, New Line, Disney and Universal expected to announce their Blu-Ray support by the end of CES 2006, we're still holding out hope that their offerings will rate a bit higher on the excitement meter.

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