So I spent a couple hours up in Hollywood yesterday afternoon to cover something pretty interesting…

At a press event at the Screen Actors Guild, members of the UHD Alliance, three major consumer electronics manufacturers, and leading Hollywood filmmakers officially announced a new partnership effort to implement Filmmaker Mode as an extension of the 4K Ultra HD spec.

The idea is to ensure that when you watch a movie at home in 4K on your new Ultra HD display, whether from a disc, stream, or cable/satellite broadcast, it will look exactly as it should. UHD Alliance research suggests that as many as 80% of people who buy 4K TVs never change the settings out of the box. This means irritating features like motion smoothing and unnecessary processing are being applied to the image by default – processing that actually takes the picture away from the filmmakers’ intent.

What the Filmmaker Mode will do is to allow the user – either with one push of a button on the remote, or with a very easy and obvious menu setting – to set the TV’s display parameters to most accurately display the 4K content. This would be a baseline setting for the image – any added adjustments signaled by HDR10, HDR10+, or Dolby Vision metadata would happen on top of that setting. [Read on here...]

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All right, let’s have more on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from CES 2017, plus a bit of regular Blu-ray announcement news too...

First up, we have reliable word that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is listing Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element for release on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format on 7/11. That makes a ton of sense, because Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) arrives in theatres on 7/21 (from STX Entertainment).

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has also just officially set Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk for 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray Combo, and DVD release on 2/14. The 4K release will be presented in full 4K and 60 fps, with HDR and Dolby Atmos audio. It features an exclusive 4K Featurette with Ang Lee and Tim Squyres discussing the film’s groundbreaking frame rate technology. The Blu-ray versions will include delete scenes and 4 featurettes (Into Battle and Onto the Field: Stepping Inside Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Recreating the Halftime Show, The Brotherhood of Combat, and Assembling a Cast). You can see the cover artwork to the left.  [Read on here…]

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All right, the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show is finally under way in Las Vegas today, with a number of the major CE manufacturers holding big press conferences to announce their product line-ups for the year. In fact, I’ve just now sat through Samsung’s big press event (more on that in a minute). I’ll check back in with more tomorrow, but for now let’s get to what news we have so far concerning 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray at the show...

In terms of new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player hardware, obviously Oppo Digital has just launched their debut player on the format, the UDP-203 (SRP $549). I’ve been testing this unit for about a week now and it’s just tremendous. For a first-generation player, it’s very solid, very fast, and it plays just about everything – Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, DVD-Audio, CD, and SACD, plus a wide variety of digital video and audio formats via network and USB. It’s compatible with HDR-10 right out of the box, and it’s also hardware compatible with Dolby Vision; a firmware update in the months ahead will add full Dolby Vision compatibility (keep in mind that no Dolby Vision UHD BD software is yet available, though software is forthcoming – again, more in a moment – and you can stream it now via Netflix and Vudu). Oppo is also working on an audiophile-upgraded version of this player, the UDP-205 (SRP around $1K), due for release later this year. [Read on here…]

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First things first today: We’re hearing from readers that Samsung’s UBD‑K8500 UHD Blu-ray player is now starting to appear for sale on retailer shelves – including Best Buy – in at least some places around the country. Additionally, Best Buy employees are suggesting in-store that the first UHD Blu-ray titles will start to become available tomorrow (2/11), probably from Lionsgate but maybe also from Fox.

Meanwhile, I’ve now received word from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment that the studio’s first round of UHD Blu-ray titles, including The Martian, Kingsman, Exodus, and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, will officially be available starting on Sunday 2/14 at Best Buy stores. Note, however, that it’s possible some stores will begin selling them earlier, or that some stores will not have their stock in yet by then. [Read on here…]

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[Editor’s Note: Be sure to like TheDigitalBits.com page on Facebook for breaking news, site updates on the go, discussion with our staff and other readers, giveaways and more!]

All right, I’m finally back from CES 2016, after three long and exhausting days of running around the show and a harrowing late-night drive back to Southern California amid rain and snow. And I’ve gotten a good long rest to recover from all of the above.

So let’s talk about what I saw related to UHD BD on the show floor Wednesday...  [Read on here…]

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[Editor’s Note: Be sure to like TheDigitalBits.com page on Facebook for breaking news, site updates on the go, discussion with our staff and other readers, giveaways and more!]

CES 2016 continues in Las Vegas today with the official Press Day, during which some of the biggest CE manufacturers stage elaborate press events to highlight the products and services they play to announce at the convention.  [Read on here…]

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