Civil War Epic ‘Glory’ Available as 4K Ultra HD Steelbook June 4 for 35th Anniversary

The 1989 Civil War epic Glory will be released as a 4K Ultra HD Steelbook June 4 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment for its 35th anniversary.

The story of the first Black regiment to fight for the North in the Civil War, Glory stars Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes and Morgan Freeman. Broderick and Elwes are the idealistic young Bostonians who lead the regiment; Freeman is the inspirational sergeant who unites the troops; and Denzel Washington, in an Academy Award-winning performance (1989, Best Supporting Actor), is the runaway slave who embodies the indomitable spirit of the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts.

The film also picked up Oscars for Best Sound and Best Cinematography.

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The 4K disc includes the film restored from the original camera negative and presented in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision and English Dolby Atmos + 5.1 + 2-channel surround, as well as the theatrical trailer and a visual feature-length commentary. Extras on the Blu-ray Disc include a director’s commentary; deleted scenes with commentary; a virtual Civil War battlefield interactive map; the documentary “The True Story Continues”; “The Voices of Glory” featurette; and “The Making of Glory” featurette.

German Court Orders Netflix to Stop Using Broadcom Technology to Stream UHD Content

A District Court of Munich, Germany, has ruled that Netflix is illegally using a patent held by San Jose, Calif.-based Broadcom related to HEVC/H.265 video coding, which is used for ultra high-definition streaming. The court issued an injunction Sept. 19 requiring Netflix to cease and desist all further use of the patented software for streaming video in Germany.

The streamer currently has more than 13.2 million subscribers in Germany since launching in the country in 2014.

Since 2018, Netflix and Broadcom have been engaged in a wide-ranging patent dispute whereby Broadcom has accused Netflix of infringing numerous U.S., German, and Dutch patents operating as the largest subscription streaming VOD service in the world.

The European patent at issue — EP 2 575 366 (“‘366 Patent”) — covers key features of digital video processing often used in HEVC/H.265 video coding. The resulting injunction prohibits Netflix from providing certain video streaming utilizing Broadcom’s patented technology.

“Netflix has built a robust video streaming business that relies on Broadcom’s patented technology to deliver content to its users, and Broadcom is pleased to see this recognized by the German court,” Mark Terrano, VP and GM of Broadcom’s Intellectual Property and Licensing Division, said in a statement.

A representative from Netflix was not immediately available for comment.

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Disney Bowing Disc Re-Releases of Titles From Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm With Packaging Marking Studio’s 100th Anniversary

Disney has announced  a special series of re-releases of films from the Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm studios with special packaging as part of the studio’s 100th anniversary celebration.

A selection of titles will be released nationwide in special platinum-style collectible O-sleeves. There will also be numerous retail exclusives, with Best Buy offering special Steelbooks of select titles and Walmart offering exclusive collectible pins on all “Disney 100” animated titles.

The series will mark the first time that Cinderella will be available on 4K Ultra HD disc, in Steelbook packaging Aug. 1, and a standard release Oct. 17.

Currently available in Disney’s 100th anniversary celebration collection are (as of Feb. 7) Encanto Steelbook, Beauty and the Beast, Toy Story, Moana, Frozen, The Little Mermaid and Mickey & Minnie: 10 Classic Shorts Vol. 1.

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Upcoming releases in the collection include on Feb. 27 The Aristocats, The Jungle Book, Zootopia, Tangled, Frozen II, Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp, Wreck-It Ralph, Robin Hood and 101 Dalmatians; on May 2 Star Wars: A New Hope Steelbook, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Steelbook and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Steelbook; on June 6 Coco Steelbook, Toy Story Steelbook and Cars Steelbook; on June 13 Finding Nemo, Coco, Brave, Cars, Up, The Incredibles and Monsters, Inc.; on June 27 Mickey & Friends: 10 Classic Shorts Vol. 2; on Aug. 1 Cinderella 4K UHD Steelbook, Beauty and the Beast SteelBook and Frozen SteelBook; on Sept. 5 Iron Man Steelbook; on Oct. 3 The Little Mermaid SteelBook, The Lion King Steelbook, Moana Steelbook and Aladdin Steelbook; and on Oct. 17 The Lion King, Aladdin, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Fox and the Hound, Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Alice In Wonderland.

Warner Offers Up Four Holiday Classics on 4K Ultra HD

Four classic  holiday family films — National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, Elf and The Polar Express — are available now on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack and digital from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The combo packs will include a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with each feature film in 4K with HDR, a Blu-ray disc with the feature films and pre-existing special features, and a digital version of the feature films.

In National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989), as the holidays approach, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wants to have a perfect family Christmas. He pesters his wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) and children as he tries to make sure everything is in line, including the tree and house decorations. Things go awry quickly when cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) and his family show up unplanned and start living in their camper on the Griswold property. Even worse, Clark’s employers renege on the holiday bonus he needs. The screenplay is by John Hughes and based on characters by Hughes.

A Christmas Story (1983) is set in a 1940s-era Midwestern town and told from the viewpoint of a 7-year-old boy who only wants one thing for Christmas — a Red Ryder BB gun. The episodic tale chronicles not only his schemes to convince his mother and father to buy him one, but also offers a warmly nostalgic look into 1940s middle-class American life. The long-awaited follow-up to A Christmas Story, A Christmas Story Christmas will debut on HBO Max Nov. 17. In the sequel, Ralphie is all grown up and must deal with Christmas and all that comes with it as a dad. Peter Billingsley returns to the role.

Elf (2003) tells the tale of a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts on Christmas Eve and is transported back to the North Pole and raised as an elf. Years later Buddy learns he is not really an elf and goes on a journey to New York City to find his true identity. The film is directed by Jon Favreau and stars Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Edward Asner and Bob Newhart.

In The Polar Express (2004), when a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the animated film is based on the classic Caldecott award-winning children’s book written by Chris Van Allsburg. It features the voices of Tom Hanks, Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett, and Eddie Deezen.

UHD Alliance Announces Amazon Prime, Hisense Support for Filmmaker Mode

The UHD Alliance on Sept. 30 announced that Amazon Prime will begin supporting Filmmaker Mode next year and that Hisense has joined consumer electronics companies Panasonic, Vizio, Samsung, LG, Kaleidescape and Philips in supporting the feature.

The announcements came during an online presentation with DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Filmmaker Mode, introduced by the UHD Alliance in August 2019, is designed to reproduce the content in the way the creator intended. It allows viewers to enjoy a more cinematic experience on their UHD TVs when watching movies by disabling all post-processing (e.g. motion smoothing, etc.) so the movie or television show is displayed as it was intended by the filmmaker, preserving the correct aspect ratios, colors and frame rates, according to the Alliance.

“Prime Video will be launching this feature on select players next year,” said UHD Alliance chairman Mike Zink. “It’s something that we’ve been working very hard on, and I think we are very, very excited for this to come to life.”

UHD Alliance president Mike fiddler noted that CE companies supporting Filmmaker Mode represent a big chunk of TV unit shipments both domestically and globally.

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Zink interviewed colorist Jill Bogdanowicz and Stephen Lighthill, president, the American Society of Cinematographers, about the importance of maintaining the intention of creators in content viewed in the home.

“Anyone that does not look at the way the image is going into the home is foolish,” noted Lighthill, adding “producers want to make sure it’s going to look the same in Jill’s suite as it does at home.”

CE company executives also joined the discussion to describe and express their support for Filmmaker Mode.

LG Electronics’ Tim Alessi said the company was putting Filmmaker Mode in every new UHD model produced in 2020.

“We kinda went all in on Filmmaker Mode,” he said, noting, “what really sets this whole effort apart is we got the entire industry to rally around one name and one set of features.”

LG is mounting an in-store display at Best Buy describing the advantages of the feature.

Samsung’s Bill Mandel said the manufacturer put the Mode in all its 2020 UHD TVs, and about a month ago launched new projectors with the feature. Samsung is running an in-store video loop about it on its TVs, he noted.

Streaming, Consolidation Dominate Top 10 Home Entertainment Stories of 2019

Streaming and consolidation dominated the home entertainment headlines in 2019, with the Walt Disney Co. leading the way. Netflix got some subscription streaming competition, and free streaming through advertising, or AVOD, emerged as a new star. It was also a year that saw the home entertainment industry lose a venerable studio player that had helped birth the business more than 40 years prior — 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Meanwhile, physical disc sales and rentals continued a structural decline, while electronic sellthrough, the digital sale of content, was a solid performer in the transactional business.

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Here are the top 10 home entertainment stories of 2019, as chosen by Media Play News staff:

  1. Disney Acquires Fox: Disney closed its $71.3 billion purchase of 20th Century Fox Film Corp. The deal included myriad Fox properties, including Fox’s interest in Hulu and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, which helped birth the home video industry in 1979. The merger also saw the departure of several executives, including Mike Dunn and James Finn at Fox and Janice Marinelli, president of global content sales & distribution for Disney’s direct-to-consumer & international unit.
  2. Disney + Bows: Calling it the company’s most-important consumer product ever, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced the launch of Disney+, a standalone SVOD service aimed at taking on segment pioneer Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. The service launched Nov. 12 at $6.99 a month offering a trove of catalog movies, including its venerable animated classics and Marvel hits, and catalog TV shows, in addition to original “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian,” an instant fan hit from director Jon Favreau. Disney also unveiled the bundle offer of ESPN+, Hulu (now controlled by Disney) and Disney+ at $12.99 a month.
  3. AVOD in the Spotlight: Advertising-supported video-on-demand, or AVOD, emerged from the SVOD shadows, gaining traction among subscription-weary consumers looking for free content. Mega-media companies Comcast, Viacom (through the acquisition of Pluto TV) and Amazon (through IMDb) acknowledged the growing market. Reports surfaced that Comcast is eyeing acquiring AVOD player Xumo TV to go along with 2020’s Peacock streaming service debut.
  4. Apple TV+ Launches: Apple Nov. 1 launched a standalone branded subscription streaming service at $4.99 a month, Apple TV+, in more than 100 countries and regions through the Apple TV app. Original content included Golden Globe-nominated “The Morning Show,” “See,” “For All Mankind” and “Dickinson.”
  5. Electronic Sellthrough Continues to Grow: Outside of subscription streaming video, the only home entertainment category to post an increase in consumer spending during much of 2019 was electronic sellthrough, the digital purchase of movies and other content. The segment generated an estimated $1.9 billion in consumer spending through the third quarter of 2019, up 6.7% from the previous-year period, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.
  6. Redbox Gets Into Content, Out of Disney Movie Code Sales: Redbox launched Redbox Entertainment, a new label to acquire and produce content exclusive for Redbox’s 50 million kiosk consumers. The company tapped Broad Green Pictures and Lionsgate veteran Marc Danon to head content acquisition. The kiosk vendor also settled 2-year-old litigation with Disney, agreeing not to sell the studio’s digital movie codes.
  7. Filmmakers Tweak UHD: The UHD Alliance, along with leaders in consumer electronics, Hollywood studios and members of the filmmaking community, announced collaboration on a new viewing mode for watching movies and episodic TV called “Filmmaker Mode,” designed to reproduce the content in the way the creator intended.
  8. Netflix Takes a U.S. Sub Hit: Disaster struck Wall Street favorite Netflix after the streaming behemoth posted a 126,000 domestic subscriber loss in Q2 after projecting growth of 300,000 subs. It was Netflix’s first domestic sub loss since 2011 when co-founder/CEO Reed Hastings announced the short-lived separation of the company’s DVD rental business from its subscription streaming business. Regardless, stock plummet nearly 20% (or $26 billion) in value after the disappointing numbers.
  9. Changes Afoot at Vudu: Vudu — rumored to be up for sale by owner Walmart, which executives told The Information considers it a non-core business — quietly downsized support for its Vudu To Go/In-Home Disc to Digital app, effective Jan. 1, 2020. The digital movie transactional service will still allow users to convert DVD and Blu-ray movies for digital access by scanning UPC codes on the Vudu app via select portable devices such as a mobile phone and tablet.
  10. Netflix Hails Discs: Taking its eye off its dominant streaming business for a moment, Netflix acknowledged a milestone: Delivery of 5 billion discs since the launch of its legacy disc-by-mail rental service more than two decades ago. The disc rental: Paramount’s Rocketman.

Sharp to Showcase 120-Inch 8K, 5G Televison

South Korean consumer electronics manufacturer Sharp has been carrying the 8K resolution TV banner since 2011.

So, it’s little surprise the company plans to showcase a 120-inch 8K TV screen with 5G network compatibility at the upcoming IFA confab in Berlin.

8K resolution claims to offer 16 times the pixels of HD and four times the pixels of 4K.

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“Since our launch of the world’s first-ever 8K display, Sharp has continued to develop 8K products in the [business to consumer] realm, but thanks to advances in communication and imaging technology, we are now also able to offer fresh value in the field of [business-to-business],” Kazuhiro Kitamura, business unit president, global TV systems and head of Europe business, said in a statement.

Kitamura said Sharp is partnering with other companies to run verification tests in various fields to perfect the 8K, 5G TV.

“By working in tandem with other firms’ technology, rather than promoting our own 8K offerings in isolation, we are able to foster breakthroughs and nurture 8K+5G Ecosystem across an ever-wider range of disciplines,” he said. “The more partners we can bring on board with groundbreaking technological advances of their own, the more we can achieve together to enrich society and people’s lives.”

Big plans considering the 8K TV market remains a curiosity among consumers.

According to Statista, 8K TV will have about 3% of the UHD TV market by 2023. 8K unit sales are projected to reach 11 million annually, up from 400,000 units this year.

‘The Shining’ to Terrify in 4K UHD Oct. 1 From Warner

Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic The Shining will come out on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digital Oct. 1 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The 4K remastering, done using a new 4K scan of the original 35mm camera negative at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging, is of Kubrick’s original 144 minute version of the film which premiered in the United States May 23, 1980. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg and Kubrick’s former personal assistant  Leon Vitali worked closely with the team at Warner Bros. during the mastering process. May 17 the restored 4K version of the film will be screened at The Cannes Film Festival.

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The Shining, based on the Stephen King novel, was directed and produced by Kubrick, who wrote the screenplay with Diane Johnson. It stars Jack Nicholson in an iconic role as Jack Torrance, Shelley Duval as Wendy Torrance, Scatman Crothers as Dick Halloran, and Danny Lloyd as Danny Torrance. In the film, Jack Torrance becomes the winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer’s block. He settles in along with his wife, Wendy and his son Danny, who is plagued by psychic premonitions. As Jack’s writing goes nowhere and Danny’s visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel’s dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac hell-bent on terrorizing his family.

In 2018, The Shining was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”  The film ranked 29th on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Thrills list, and Jack Torrance was named the 25th greatest villain on the AFI’s 100 Years…100 Heroes and Villains list.  Additionally, the quote “Here’s Johnny” from the film was ranked 68th on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movie Quotes list.

The Shining Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR, a Blu-ray disc with the film in high definition and the special features in high definition, and a digital version of the movie. Fans can also own The Shining in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers.

The Ultra HD Blu-ray of The Shining will include more than three hours of previously released special features, including:

  • audio commentary by Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown and Kubrick biographer John Baxter;
  • “Video from the Overlook: Crafting The Shining”;
  • “The Visions of Stanley Kubrick,” a detailed look at one of cinema’s greatest visual storytellers and his unique ability to move audiences through the magic of unforgettable images;
  • “The Making of The Shining,” a cinema verité documentary offering a rare glimpse into the directing style of Kubrick as he interacts with Nicholson, Duvall and others;
  • “Wendy Carlos, Composer,” in which composer Wendy Carlos reflects on working with Kubrick and developing music scores for The Shiningand A Clockwork Orange.

Report: UHD TV Market Growing on Price Cuts

The global Ultra HD TV market is expected to expand at a combined annual growth rate of 28.23% from 2018 to 2022, according to a new report  “Global UHD TV Market 2018-2022” from Research and Markets.

According to the report, one driver in the market is the reduction in the average selling price of UHD TVs. The North American TV market witnessed a 90% reduction in UHD TV prices since its induction in 2012, and the average selling price of UHD TVs in China fell by about 85%.

One trend in the market is the rising popularity of curved UHD TVs. With TV manufacturers such as Samsung and Mitashi introducing curved TVs, the coming years will witness a growing preference for curved UHD TVs, according to the report.

Still, one challenge is a lack of UHD content, which is one of the key factors that could hinder the adoption of UHD TVs, according to the report.

Report: Panasonic Might Add Second New UHD Blu-ray Player in U.S. This Year

Panasonic could add a second new Ultra HD Blu-ray player to its 2018 U.S. product lineup, according to a report from HD Guru.

The new player, model DP-UB9000, announced at a Panasonic Product Convention in Europe last week, could join the previously announced UB820, HD Guru reported. The Panasonic UB820 was unveiled at CES last month, where it won HD Guru’s Best Ultra HD Player of CES 2018 award.

In 2016 Panasonic introduced its first premium 4K UHD Blu-ray player, model UB900, in the United States.