There's a lot of excitement going on with home entertainment this week, as studios are continuing their progress towards new media:
- CinemaNow has added Twentieth Century Fox to its roster of studios selling movies and TV shows through the download website. As of Tuesday, customers could buy films including Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and The Ringer as well as episodes of 24 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Other television programs shown on Fox, FX, FUEL TV and SPEED will also be available starting next month. Fox joins recent CinemaNow partners Warner Bros. and Disney. I still haven't heard one good case in favor of the service, though.
- Next Tuesday, you will be able to buy your first Blu-ray Discs, as Sony is unveiling its first slate of titles (players arrive in stores five days later). The seven movies you can own in the new format are 50 First Dates, The Fifth Element, Hitch, House of Flying Daggers, XXX, The Terminator and Underworld Evolution. Then, on June 27, they will release Ultraviolet, The Last Waltz and A Knight's Tale. And next month we'll get Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addition, Kung Fu Hustle, Legends of the Fall, Stealth, Species, SWAT and Resident Evil Apocalypse. The most significant of these titles is likely to be Ultraviolet, which was filmed entirely in high definition.
- As if worried about the new competition of Blue-ray, Universal is slashing its prices on all of its HD-DVD titles, down from $34.95 to $29.95, beginning August 8th. The only titles that will go on sale at the old price are the upcoming HD-DVD/DVD hybrid discs of Animal House and Unleashed. HD-DVD first went on sale two months ago.
- Blockbuster Video filed a counterclaim against Netflix on Tuesday in response to the latter's April lawsuit against the once-mighty video rental chain. While Netflix is suing Blockbuster to knock them out of the online rental business, based on patents Netflix holds for the service, Blockbuster is stating that those patents are "unenforceable" because they were obtained deceptively.
- This last bit only applies to Southern Africa, but it is still pretty interesting. Moonyeenn Lee, the casting director for Tsotsi, told Mmegi Online that after excessive piracy of the Oscar-winning film in and around her country, the official DVD, to be released in South Africa later this month, will feature three different endings, and future films she represents will now be going straight to video, bypassing cinemas altogether.