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Sony to ship 50 GB Blu-ray movie discs this week

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 0 comment
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Culver City (CA) - Sony Pictures has announced that it will be releasing Click, Black Hawk Down, and Talladega Nights in a high-capacity format. Using a dual-layer 50 GB Blu-ray disc instead of the currently shipping 25 GB format, the media will carry not only high-definition video, but also a handful of special features on a single disc.

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The first 50 GB title to be released is Click, which comes out to stores on Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. The Adam Sandler flick includes special features like deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, and other behind the scenes footage, all of which are presented in high-definition, says Sony. According to them, Click will be the first movie to offer all the special features from the DVD entirely re-rendered in high-definition for Blu-ray. The movie also features uncompressed pulse-code modulation (PCM) audio.

Black Hawk Down, the gritty war movie, will be Sony’s second dual-layer title on the market when it’s released on 14 November. The Blu-ray disc will not offer high-definition video for its supplemental features, but according to Sony, it will be the studio’s first movie to feature patented "Blu-Wizard" technology. Kind of like HD DVD’s "In-Movie Experience" ability, users will be able to program special features to automatically play at certain points during the movie. Special features for Black Hawk Down include audio commentary and six behind-the-scenes featurettes.

Finally, Talladega Nights : The Ballad of Ricky Bobby will round out Sony’s initial offering of 50GB BD movies. Set to hit store shelves on 12 December, the disc will offer most of the special features in high-definition. The highest grossing film of the three dual-layer movies announced, Talladega Nights has a list of special features that includes audio commentary, nine extended/deleted scenes, a gag reel, a couple bonus featurettes, and, not presented in HD, TV ad spots from Daytona 500 and NASCAR.

Other movie studios have pledged to release movies on a 50 GB disc. 20th Century Fox will release Kingdom of Heaven on a dual-layer Blu-ray disc on 14 November. Lionsgate has also jumped on the bandwagon, with a dual-layer release of The Descent planned for a December release. Additionally, Warner Bros has said it will be launching at least one unnamed dual-layer BD movie before the end of the year.

Pricing of the movies has not been announced.

There was no information available whether the new 50 GB movie discs use a higher-quality MPEG compression and whether uncompressed PCM audio is standard on all movie releases. The fact that Blu-ray movies so far have been restricted to a 25 GB format has resulted in a somewhat lower HD quality than the VC-1 encoded movies on 30 GB HD DVD disks. Eventually, both formats will provide H.264 encoded movies which reach substantially higher bit rates than Blu-ray and HD DVD movies available in the U.S. today. Commercial H.264 HD movies, for example on HD DVDs, are limited to the Japanese market at this time.

Sony’s 50 GB announcement also provides a very basic outlook on future features that could be offered on higher capacity HD media in the future. Content owners intend to tie local content to online content, for example up-to-date information on actors and other movies. Also, future HD DVD and Blu-ray media, which will capacities of at least 200 GB, are promised to include interactive goodies such as video games.

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