August 31, 2006
20th Century Fox to Release Films in Blu-ray

Several recent posts have been dedicated to the drive to move television to high-definition quality. What we haven't focused on that much is the current competition to put new release and classic films out in high-definition format as well.

Currently, there are two competing formats in the high-definition DVD market--the Blu-ray Disc format and the HD format, both of which use high-definition technology. As with the large number of competing models for online digital distribution, there is a current war between these competing models, with one likely to become the industry standard at some point in the future.

This isn't new in television, and especially not for technology in general. In television's earliest days, when the drive was to make the picture color instead of black-and-white, companies presented various forms of colorization. The color format that eventually won out was the one that could work with the same technology used for the black-and-white format, with thought of keeping cost minimized for the user most prevalent.

In this case, high-definition is a completely new technology, and many people are not wanting to jump into either format at this point, in fear that they will amass an impressive video archive, only for it to become as obsolete as the laser disc.

With that background in mind, the biggest news this week in the world of high-definition film distribution is that 20th Century Fox has signed a deal to release several of its upcoming films on Blu-ra, starting in November.

Among the titles planned for the initial release on Nov. 14 are recent films like The Omen: 666 and various films from the archive, including Speed from the mid-1990s and films released in the last couple of years, such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Fantastic Four.

The next week features the first time a Blu-ray title will be released the same day as the standard DVD format, as the new animated feature Ice Age: The Meltdown, will be released on both formats simultaneously on Nov. 21.

Planned for the end of the month and the beginning of December are 1990s masterpiece The Usual Suspects and the cultural classic Rocky.