"300" Conquers High-Def Awards

3972225b9da08dcac9b92110l So says the headline of a press release we received about the first annual High-Def Disc Awards, presented primarily by the weekly B2B trade publication Home Media Magazine.

Specifically, 300 won two different awards for its two different high-def formats: The Blu-ray edition grabbed High-Def Title of the Year, while the HD DVD edition nabbed the Best Bonus Feature nod for its blue-screen PIP.

What did we think of the 300 high-def discs? To find out, click here. (For our review of the standard DVD edition, click here.)

And will the film be our fave Blu-ray or HD DVD of the year — or at least, one of our Top 10 plain-vanilla DVDs? Stay tuned for the February/March double issue of Sound & Vision — which just happens to be our 50th Anniversary Issue!

In the meantime, see below for the full HMM press release.
—Ken Richardson

PRESS RELEASE

Warner Home Video’s hit film 300 dominated the first-ever High-Def Disc Awards, taking High-Def Title of the Year and Best Bonus Feature honors.

The High-Def Disc Awards dinner was part of High-Def 2.0, a one-day conference held December 4 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, Calif. High-Def 2.0 was presented by Home Media Magazine in cooperation with The Hollywood Reporter and the Entertainment Merchants Association.

A panel of critics determined the best titles in 11 categories, with eligibility dating back to the inception of each high-def format — HD DVD in April 2006 and Blu-ray Disc in June 2006.

Not only was 300 the only multiple winner, but it was also the only winner released on both high-def formats. Specifically, the 300 Blu-ray earned High-Def Title of the Year, while the HD DVD version won the Best Bonus Feature award for a function that allows a blue-screen version of the film to run simultaneously with the feature, allowing fans to compare the two and see the extent of the special-effects work done on the film to depict an ancient battle between Spartans and Persians.

A live-action title of the year for each format also was awarded: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s James Bond epic Casino Royale won for Blu-ray, and Universal Studios Home Entertainment’s cop comedy Hot Fuzz won for HD DVD.

Sony’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind was named Best Multidisc Set. The definitive collection uses seamless branching to store three different versions of Steven Spielberg’s classic sci-fi film on a single disc, allowing viewers to compare them.

High-Def Award Winners:

High-Def Title of the Year: 300 (Blu-ray), Warner Home Video

Best Live-Action Blu-ray: Casino Royale, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Best Live-Action HD DVD: Hot Fuzz, Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Best Animated: Ratatouille (Blu-ray), Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Best Picture Quality: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (Blu-ray), Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Best Audio Quality: Transformers (HD DVD), Paramount Home Entertainment

Best Bonus Feature: 300 (HD DVD), blue-screen picture-in-picture, Warner Home Video

Most Innovative Use of New Technology: HD DVD U-Shop feature (Internet purchase ability), Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Best Longform Music Video: Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds: Live at Radio City (Blu-ray), Sony BMG

Best Catalog: Kingdom of Heaven: Director’s Cut, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Best Collection/Multidisc Set: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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