According to one of Microsoft's key representatives to AACS, Blu-ray and HD DVD players will never require a dedicated internet connection to play back an AACS-protected movie. However, if you want to take advantage of features like managed copy, the player will most likely need access to the internet.
As Doherty told us, the first Toshiba HD DVD players to be made available in April, the first Sony Blu-ray players due in May, and models released thereafter under the so-called AACS interim licensing agreement, will not require any kind of Internet connection just to be operable, as some had earlier warned. Under the terms of the interim agreement, however, these manufacturers must agree to abide by whatever the final terms of the AACS specification state, particularly with regard to how they should implement managed copy. It is this provision which will enable users to make limited backups of purchased, licensed media.

"We do expect, in most scenarios, that that managed copy is going to require an Internet transaction to perform the copy," admitted Doherty. However, he added, managed copy will not be a mandatory feature of high-definition players. In other words, not only will playback of AACS-protected content not require an Internet connection, it will never require one.
If you'd like to read the entire article, head on over to TG Daily. Add a comment
While Warner originally intended to launch their first HD DVD titles on March 28th, the company has announced that they will instead be released on April 18th.
Warner Home Video (WHV), which distributes the largest film library of any studio, today announced that it will launch its first titles on HD DVD. Clint Eastwood's four-time Academy Award winning, Best Picture of 2004, "Million Dollar Baby"; the visually stunning, four-time Oscar nominated epic, "The Last Samurai" starring Tom Cruise and "The Phantom of the Opera," Joel Schumacher's vibrant movie adaptation of Broadway's longest running show will all be released on April 18. Each of these titles will be available for $28.99 SRP.
Unfortunately, this means that there is still a three week gap between Toshiba's HD DVD player launch and the release of the first HD DVD titles. If you'd like to read more, Warner's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Earlier this week, LG confirmed that they are working on a combination Blu-ray/HD DVD player. If things go as planned, the player could ship later this year.
Korea's LG Electronics Inc. said on Tuesday it planned to launch a next-generation DVD player that will bridge the yawning gap between two competing formats by playing both HD DVD and Blu-ray.

"LG is a supporter of Blu-ray and is now considering a dual format player for later this year," said John Taylor, a U.S. spokesman for the Korean company.

Both Blu-ray, developed by a Sony Corp -led consortium, and HD DVD, championed by Toshiba Corp , offer more capacity than current DVDs, but the groups' failure to reach a unified front has paved the way for a costly battle in the $24 billion home video market, like the VHS/Betamax war of 25 years ago that caused widespread customer confusion.

Korean LG Electronics last week became the second high-profile Blu-ray supporter after Hewlett-Packard to announce it would also support HD DVD.
If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
As many of you know, Toshiba plans to ship their HD DVD players later this month. Unfortunately, it looks like movie studios will not be shipping HD DVD titles in time for the launch date.
Warner Home Video, the only studio that in January had set a firm date, March 28, for its first high-definition DVD titles to arrive in stores, now says it might not be ready in time because of technical problems.

"To be honest, the outlook is tenuous -- we're still coming out with an initial slate, but we may be a week or two later; we just don't know," division president Ron Sanders said.
Needless to say, I would not rush out and buy an HD DVD player as it will be a few weeks before you'll be able to buy any movies in the new format. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
While LG has been a long time supporter of Blu-ray, Reuters has reported that the company will also support the competing format, HD DVD.
LG Electronics, one of the world's biggest optical drive makers, will support HD DVD as well as Blu-ray in the emerging war over the next DVD standard, it said on Wednesday.

Until now LG Electronics was firmly in the Blu-ray camp, together with most of the other big consumer electronics firms such as Sony Corp, Philips, Dell and Matsushita's Panasonic.
Most likely this ties into LG's plans to introduce a combination Blu-ray/HD DVD player. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
CE Pro has reported that LG recently dropped the BD199 Blu-ray player from its spring lineup and is considering a combination Blu-ray/HD DVD player.
The memo states that the dual-format player is planned for late summer/early fall, and came about as a result of the uncertainty of the looming next-gen DVD format battle. "In light of uncertainty in this early stage of the market for pre-recorded high-definition optical discs, we have decided not to introduce the BD199 as originally planned for this spring," it says.
I'm not sure how LG is going to pull off a combination Blu-ray/HD DVD player. From what I understand, various licensing hurdles prevented Samsung from developing their own. Then again, with LG signing a patent deal with Toshiba, this might change. If you'd like to read more, head on over to CE Pro. Add a comment
As we reported last week, an interim agreement has been made available to those companies wishing to license the new Advanced Access Content System (AACS). While this has allowed the Blu-ray and HD DVD camps to move ahead and release their products on time, there is a downside to this agreement. According to an article at Ars Technica, this agreement forces AACS licensees to eliminate analog outputs by 2013.
The AACS Interim Agreement is a 106-page set of rules for those who wish to license AACS, a list that would presumably include consumer electronics manufacturers and many other technology companies. Although AACS includes, among other things, the ability to allow content owners to determine what kinds of outputs HD video is directed towards, the license also includes a forced sunset for most of those outputs. Put simply, AACS licensees must eliminate analog outputs on consumer electronics devices by 2013 to remain in compliance with the license. Forced obsolescence it is.
While phasing out analog will be a downer for some, it probably won't have that big of an impact, especially with the US switching to digital TV by February of 2009. By then most people will have purchased an HDMI compatible TV or the necessary convertors. Anyway, if you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
Those of you waiting for Blu-ray will want to mark May 23rd on your calendar. This is the date Sony has set for the launch of their first Blu-ray Disc titles.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) is targeting May 23 to deliver the first wave of Blu-ray Disc (BD) titles at retail, it was announced today. Delivery will coincide with the launch that day of the first commercially available BD player from Samsung Electronics, which will be followed shortly by BD players from Pioneer and Sony along with a BD compatible VAIO PC from Sony.

SPHE and MGM Home Entertainment will first release eight BD titles, with another eight following shortly June 13. Benjamin S. Feingold, president, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, made the announcement.

The first Blu-ray Disc titles from SPHE and MGM Home Entertainment will include: 50 First Dates, The Fifth Element, Hitch, House of Flying Daggers, A Knight's Tale, The Last Waltz (MGM), Resident Evil Apocalypse and XXX.
The second phase of the Blu-ray rollout will begin on June 13th and will include titles such as Kung Fu Hustle, Legends of the Fall, Robocop, Stealth, Species, SWAT and Terminator. According to various sources, the suggested retail price will range from $30-$40, depending on whether or not the title is a new release. If you'd like to read more, Sony's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Consumable Media LLC has announced a new limited play DVD called BuyByeDVD. Expected to hit retail this summer, this recyclable movie DVD can be played up to 3 times before expiring.
Consumable Media LLC, a Minnesota-based corporation, has announced that it plans to release its new restricted-use optical disc product in summer 2006. The premiere form the product will be introduced in is the DVD format. Known as BuyByeDVD, the product will feature movie content on familiar DVDs, but can only play up to three times before expiring. The product works in all DVD, computer, and gaming console drives.

"We envision this product changing the DVD landscape for the next several years," stated Consumable Media team member Scott Litman. "This product will fill the media void that we are experiencing between traditional DVD and digital file transfer."

The BuyByeDVD looks and functions nearly the same as any ordinary DVD, but only allows up to three plays. The company believes that this technology will change the business model for DVD, where it will now be possible for consumers to acquire their movies in a similar model to Pay-Per-View at a price point that is more reasonable than buying the entire version of the movie. In addition, the product is recyclable.
From what I can gather, BuyByeDVD uses a dye that is irreversibly bleached by a DVD player's laser. The BuyByeDVD is expect to hit store shelves this summer for a suggested retail price of $3.99. If you'd like to read more, Consumable Media's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
According to the Korea Times, five US film studios have sued Samsung over a glitch in their DVD players, allowing users to sidestep both region encoding and HDCP.
Samsung Electronics, Asia's most valuable high-tech company, is scrambling after multiple U.S. movie studios reportedly took the Seoul-based firm to court, alleging glitches in its DVD players.

Over the weekend, Bloomberg news reported Walt Disney, Time Warner and three other major film makers filed the lawsuit against Samsung in U.S. court.

They claimed that Samsung's DVD players allowed consumers to avoid encryption features that prevent unauthorized duplication and demanded a recall of all the problematic products, Bloomberg said.
Samsung believes the DVD player in question is the DVD-HD841, which was discontinued more than 15 months ago. Of course, the big question then is "why now?". To put it simply, the movie industry is trying to make it clear that they do not want companies producing products that can bypass the protection schemes they've put in place. Most importantly, those that they've worked hard to implement in Blu-ray and HD DVD. Anyway, if you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment