Hmm, coincidence? Warner is now working on All the President's Men: 30th Anniversary Edition for release in 2006. The current DVD is lacking and could use a re-do. Too bad Deep Throat couldn't have waited till the DVD was ready.
The jolly Tom Hanks playing everything CG-fest, The Polar Express will come out on 11/22.
Some of you might have seen the web article stating that Wal-Mart will stop selling VHS tapes in their stores. Well don't look now, but they're denying it. Well, it's bound to happen sooner or later...save for the older, more obscure titles not yet released on DVD, I say good riddance.
Paramount is set to release the last Star Trek film as a 2 DVD SE: Star Trek: Nemesis, 10/4.
Universal is set to re-do some old DVDs; two of the three really needed to be redone. on 9/6 The Deer Hunter: Special Edition, a 2-disc set featuring anamorphic widescreen video (the current disc is an old laser transfer), Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary with cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, video of the acceptance of the Best Picture Award, the Anatomy of a Scene featurette, deleted and extended scenes, production notes and the film's original theatrical trailer.
Also on 9/6, we get The Sting: Special Edition, a 2-disc set featuring anamorphic widescreen video (the current disc is pan/scan only), Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio, The Art of The Sting retrospective documentary, the film's theatrical trailer and production notes. Very good news here.
Again on 9/6, Universal will street its To Kill a Mockingbird: Special Edition, also a 2-disc set featuring 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 mono audio, DTS 5.1 audio (no kidding), audio commentary with director Robert Mulligan and producer Alan Pakula, the Fearful Symmetry "making of" documentary, the A Conversation with Gregory Peck featurette, video of Peck's Academy Award Best Actor acceptance speech, video of Peck receiving the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award, a video excerpt from an Academy tribute to Gregory Peck, the Scout Remembers featurette and the film's theatrical trailer. The current disc is non-anamorphic. Otherwise the bonuses look similar to what's already available.
Finally, Slate.com has an interesting article about Rupert Murdoch, always one my favorite guys, and his plan to take over the video rental universe with satellite-delivered on-demand movies by giving every satellite customer a set-top box with a Tivo-esque built-in hard drive recorder. Give the piece a read here.
My short take on it is this: this kind of thing is inevitable. The cable companies are pushing video on-demand as well as traditional pay-per-view already. This is a way for DirecTV (and Dish) to get into the action. This is related to the problem of an "open" digital cable TV system. Here's a brief explanation of what this means. In the analog cable world, the companies pretty much use the same system so all you have to do is plug the cable into your TV/VCR (or even Tivo) and you're ready to go. As long as you had a somewhat modern (made in the last 20 years or so) TV, you could do this without renting a box from your cable operator. The cable companies went along with this since the loss of box revenue wasn't too big a deal.
Now we have digital cable. Sure, analog is still out there, but if you want to get all the "basic" channels, you have to go digital. The problem is that there are few if any TVs that can handle the signals without...you guessed it, a box you rent from the cable company. Of course the TV/Video manufacturers want to make their products work with digital cable, but as long as there wasn't a standard, it was a no go. Years after digital cable hit the marketplace, we're getting close to a standard, prodded along by the FCC, that in theory allows you to buy a digital TV, insert this card from the cable company, and get digital cable without the box. Sounds pretty groovy, no? It was too easy to work. Before say, Sony could make digital TVs that could take the digital cable, they had to have their equipment certified by an outfit called CableLabs. These guys set the standards and certify that stuff will work. The only problem is that this group is funded by...you guessed it, the cable companies. So they've been stonewalling letting anyone other than the outfits that make proprietary cable boxes get certified. Verrrry convenient.
Why are they doing this? Easy; to keep collecting rental fees on those boxes and more importantly, to be sure that their customers have access to features like pay-per-view (PPV) and so forth. This is a huge potential revenue source and many fewer people will be buying it if they have those "open commie" TVs. This is the deal Murdoch is trying to get into. The satellite providers already make you use a box and you can do PPV this way, but to do any on-demand or rentals, a more sophisticated box has to be rolled out. DirecTV is preparing to go to a new compression (the way the video data is squeezed through the limited satellite data pipe) system so they can add more channels (HDTV in particular). When they do this, new boxes will be needed, so they'll probably roll this out at the same time. I can't really blame them for wanting to get in on what the cable companies are doing.
My main concern about this is quality. Sure, it would be nice to call up anything in the Netflix system without using discs and the postal service, but what's the quality going to be like? Will we get these in HD? Bonuses? A lot to think about, but things are going to go this way, at least for certain parts of the market. OK, so this wasn't so short...I'll have to think on this some more and watch the skies...