There are some hot deals out there right now for new HD DVD owners and existing Blu-ray Disc player owners. Starting with the HD DVD camp,anyone buying any of Toshiba's HD DVD players between March 1 and July 31st can send a mail-in form to receive five free HD DVDs. On the Blu-ray side, if you're looking to build out your collection Amazon is unloading almost four dozen titles at 50% off of retail.
Intrigue in the format war continued Wednesday with the Blu-ray Disc group announcing that while it would allow mandatory managed copy, it would not (for now) adopt iHD-based interactivity. Hewlett-Packard (HP) had officially requested that the Blu-ray group incorporate both technologies, which are supported by Toshiba's HD DVD format and are key reasons that Microsoft and Intel have thus far supported HD DVD and not Blu-ray Disc.
Computer giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) made good on its <A HREF="http://ultimateavmag.com/news/111705hpbluray">threat</A>, announcing that it will support HD DVD as well as Blu-ray Disc as the next generation optical disc format. HP had previously supported Sony’s Blu-ray Disc format exclusively, but has apparently jumped ship over the Blu-ray Disc Association’s (BDA) refusal to adopt the iHD interactivity layer into Blu-ray’s standards.
<B>iPod Continues To Take Over The World</B>
Apple's earnings for the holiday quarter of 2005 beat Wall Street's expectations as the iPod continued to work miracles by tripling (and then some) the number of players sold in 2004's holiday season. According to Apple's Steve Jobs, 14.5 million iPods were sold on the fourth quarter of 2005, compared to 4.5 million in the same period of 2004. Overall sales for Apple in Q4 of '05 were up 63% from the previous year, to $5.7 billion and for the first time sales from Apple's retail stores topped $1 billion for a quarter.
<B>DirecTV And TiVo Partnered Into 2010</B>
DirecTV and TiVo have extended their partnership for three years, allowing DirecTV to continue to offer TiVo's DVR services to its subscribers, and preserving an advertising relationship between the two companies. The partnership, set in the original agreement to expire in February of 2007, will now run through February of 2010.
<B>Parasound's Zcustom Line Now Features Dedicated HDMI Switcher</B>
The more things change, the more things stay the same. Several years ago as component video began to appear on more and more sources and displays, those living on the bleeding edge quickly accrued more component sources than their displays and/or surround processors and AVRs could effectively switch. Flash forward and the same thing is happening with HDMI sources now. Many users have a DVD player and an HD set-top box of some kind, and yet it's still shockingly rare to find a display with even two HDMI inputs. Well, Parasound has an answer for you.
<B>Marantz Becomes Preferred Brand Of Juilliard</B>
Marantz has entered into a strategic marketing relationship with New York's prestigious Juilliard School, and will be recognized as "the preferred audio/video brand of The Juilliard School." Announced in December of 2005, the relationship coincides with Juilliard's yearlong 100th anniversary celebration, and will see Marantz serving as the performing arts conservatory's Official Audio/Visual Sponsor and donating its AV products for educational use and world premier performances at the school throughout the year.
<B>Intel Leaps Ahead To Convergence</B>
In what is sure to be a preview of CES 2006, word is out that Intel is going to be re-branding itself with a new product line focused on the nascent digital home entertainment market. Rather than staking its name awareness with consumers on its chips and microprocessors, Intel's new marketing campaigns will be focused instead on the digital lifestyles that the company's new product lines will enable.
<B>Sony Pictures Goes <I>Full Throttle</I> On Blu-ray</B>
On Friday Sony Pictures Home Entertainment made a curious announcement that it had authored its first full-length Blu-ray Disc in 1920x1080 high definition, and was shipping the disc to manufacturers of Blu-ray players for testing. Following Holt's Law that the technical quality of a piece of software is inversely proportionate to its artistic merit, this landmark Blu-ray title is none other than the box office disappointment <I>Charlie's Angel's: Full Throttle</I>.