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Sony nabs MGM


Starhawk
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Now, if Blu-Ray can just agree to support a new, more efficient compression codec (like WM HD)...!

 

Why they already have, sir! At the end of last month the Blue Ray group approved wm9, MPEG 4 and MPEG 2 as the mandatory video codecs for the format, leaving the choice of those three codecs up to the content providers.

 

All the group has left to decide upon is audio codecs. We know it will support Dolby and DTS at their highest bitrates, but many, including myself anxiously, are waiting now for them to announce some sort of lossless audio codec support as well (like MLP for example)...

 

 

 

What are the biggest titles that MGM controlled? I mean, besides the Bond, Rocky, and Pink Panther films that every article seems to mention? It's obviously a major step for Sony in expanding their catalog but every time I try to think of what must-own titles they now have, I can't think of a whole lot...

 

Bond, Pink Panther and Rocky are really the main ones the press tout in their coverage of the sale. I don?t even consider all that the good stuff personally. The Killing, Killer?s Kiss, Paths of Glory, It?s a Mad Mad Mad World. and a hoard of classic Woody Allen films are amongst some of the gems Sony would now have control over. Warner still own the bulk of MGMs absolute classic catalogue (Gone with the Wind, 2001?etc)?

 

It?s a good deal for Sony and Blu Ray, but a bad one for anyone holding out hope The Hobbit would be made into a movie any time soon (MGM own some of the rights. Had Warner bought them, it would have been easy for New Line to commission the film).

 

Dan

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Bond, Pink Panther and Rocky are really the main ones the press tout in their coverage of the sale. I don?t even consider all that the good stuff. The Killing, Killer?s Kiss, Paths of Glory, It?s a Mad Mad Mad World are amongst some of the gems Sony would now have control over. Warner still own the bulk of MGMs absolute classic catalogue (Gone with the Wind, 2001?etc)?

 

Thanks! That's about what I figured. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't overlooking anything BIG. For Sony, it's a great deal since they get to fill out their library with many very good movies (I'm quite partial to Robocop :)). For Warner, who already had the best collection of films, it wouldn't have mattered nearly as much.

 

It?s a good deal for Sony and Blu Ray, but a bad one for anyone holding out hope The Hobbit would be made into a movie any time soon (MGM own some of the rights. Had Warner bought them, it would have been easy for New Line to commission the film).

 

The Hobbit would be very nice but I think I'm more concerned about Sony's inconsistent record with quality dvd's. I'm pretty sure Warner would have taken good care of the movies but with Sony it seems like a crapshoot these days (not unlike MGM already was, so I guess not much has changed?).

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Thanks! That's about what I figured. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't overlooking anything BIG. For Sony, it's a great deal since they get to fill out their library with many very good movies (I'm quite partial to Robocop :) )

 

Yes Robocop is quite a nice one. I did update my initial comment adding the many Woody Allen titles Sony will now have. Annie Hall, Manhattan and so on. With luck, Sony will treat those films and master them far better than MGM bothered to do.

 

 

The Hobbit would be very nice but I think I'm more concerned about Sony's inconsistent record with quality dvd's. I'm pretty sure Warner would have taken good care of the movies but with Sony it seems like a crapshoot these days (not unlike MGM already was, so I guess not much has changed?).

 

Sony's DVD mastering is certainly rather fickle I agree. My greatest fear is their first wave of Blu Rays will be MPEG II encoded, then later... HD Superbits in the more efficient codecs. :green: Horrible thought, but I can?t shake it from my head.

 

That said, Sony's reason for exploiting their catalogue on DVD over and over was that they'd really run out of titles to pimp, so to now have MGMs catalogue they have a huge library at their disposal which I?d hope would be enough to ease off on the constant re-issues. I'm always in favour of a re-issue if the image quality is superior, but with HD I think the margin of consumer acceptance for re-issues is going to be smaller than it is with DVD.

 

Some discs will still have issues from various studios, I?m convinced of that. I dare say a few will still sport some halos around objects and so on. Again the margin for error is smaller in mastering (since many DVD issues are thrown into the mix when down converting from HD to standard def) and the Blu Ray group has yet to say whether the mandatory encoding spec for Blu Ray would be 1080i, o 1080p/60, or 1080p/24? It?s looking like the former though, but the latter would be heaven.

 

Sony has been using Lawrence of Arabia and Spider-Man 2 to show of Blu Ray to numerous studios and at trade shows (I believe they used Spider-Man 2 last week at CEDIA on both their 1080p SXRD 70? TV and their $30,000 1080p SXRD projector). I do think Sony is genuinely going to put a lot of hard working into making their titles perform well, they need to. ALL the studios need to really, because if an HD format can not prove itself to be an instant and significant improvement to consumes over DVD with better image quality, sound and to a lesser extent interactivity, the greater public simply wont care.

 

 

I kind of foolishly knocked Blu Ray initially, but with confirmation of the advanced codec support it is really shaping up to be the better format. Even if a lot of the titles are on 25gb blu ray discs to begin with (instead of the 50gb discs), we know they can get bigger, and they're developing ones that are even larger than 50gb... So I like the fact it is a format with the ability to evolve. Plus it will be able to record HDTV content out of the box.

 

 

Daniel

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Why they already have, sir! At the end of last month the Blue Ray group approved wm9, MPEG 4 and MPEG 2 as the mandatory video codecs for the format, leaving the choice of those three codecs up to the content providers.

 

Ah, how did I miss that! I've been using the holy grail that is Widescreen Review to keep up with most of my Next-Gen DVD news, so that was probably a factor. :)

 

What are the biggest titles that MGM controlled? I mean, besides the Bond, Rocky, and Pink Panther films that every article seems to mention? It's obviously a major step for Sony in expanding their catalog but every time I try to think of what must-own titles they now have, I can't think of a whole lot...

 

I always think the advantage of MGM's catalog is simply its pure numbers. Sony can now release a ton of Blu-Ray movies to fill shelves. They may not be blockbuster/must-haves, but they will surely be plenty of movies we have all heard of.

 

Sony's DVD mastering is certainly rather fickle I agree. My greatest fear is their first wave of Blu Rays will be MPEG II encoded, then later... HD Superbits in the more efficient codecs. Horrible thought, but I can?t shake it from my head.

 

Oh the horror. I hadn't thought of that one, Dan. :( . "Now available in glorious WMHD, Spider-man SuperDuperBit!"

 

Still, after this, I think my preference is leaning toward Blu-Ray, although I wouldn't be disappointed if HDDVD became the standard.

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Oh the horror. I hadn't thought of that one, Dan.

 

I'm not TOO worried about it really. From what I can gather, the blu-ray demos that have been shown were done using MPEG 4 AVC High Profile which has a lot in common with wm9 so I do genuinely think Columbia/Tri Star will want to push things that way, and I think all the studios will to since the Blu Ray group added the superior codecs due to studio demand.

 

Before they re-evaluated wm9 for inclusion in, the Blu Ray Group and a number of studios got together and compared MPEG 4 AVC High Profile at various bitrates and concluded that a rate of 16mbps came closest to matching the original HD source master, far outshining even a D-VHS tape. Really I think MPEG II is there in the spec for the consumer recording side of Blu Ray for when any of us want to record HDTV broadcasts to disc. I'd presume now with advanced codec decoders in Blu Ray players people will be able to record MPEG 4 and WM9 TV broadcasts to disc as well. I'd hope so as the forthcoming European HDTV market is looking to use advanced codecs instead of MPEG II.

 

My greatest concern right now is just how the discs will be encoded. 1080i, or 1080i/60 or 1080p/24.... The latter would be the dream scenario, and not one that is totally out of the question either. It wouldn't take up any more bandwidth. The early rumblings seem to indicate 1080i and I've not heard any definitive change on that, but I really hope we do hear something new on this matter soon. Second to this, as I say, I am anxious to hear their choice of a next generation lossless audio codec of some kind.

 

Dan

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