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XstreamHD details continue to emerge

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359w ago - Just a few hours before our live coverage of the XStreamHD press event (11am PST) with Michael Douglas; many of the details have been released and we have to say this thing looks so incredible, we don't see how it can live up to the press release -- this is one of those times when we'd really love to be wrong.

For starters, the service promises to deliver "the latest content from leading studios" in 1080p (MPEG-2 and x.264) with 7.1 channels of lossless DTS-HD Master Audio (96kHz/24bits) to your home via satellite, and if it stopped there it would be impressive enough, but no. The content is stored on the internally in your "Virtual Personal Library" until you access it with up to four simultaneous DLNA devices on your gigabit Ethernet home network.

If you run out of space, you can use the extra drive bays to expand up to 2TB of storage. And because there is so much great OTA HD content, it features three ATSC tuners which can be used with a "Network Video Recorder" -- not sure what that is, or if its extra. And interestingly even includes a PBX that allows free calling between XStreamHD customers. As if this wasn't unbelievable enough, it all starts at $399 and is expected to hit in the fourth quarter of '08.

Full Release: XStreamHD(TM) Unveils First-Ever Transport Network to Deliver High-Definition...
 

CES: All Quiet on the Universal Front

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359w ago - Amidst mounting speculation that it is soon to shift alliances, Universal Studios has confirmed that it will not be making any new HD DVD title announcements at this year's CES.

Though previous years have seen a cavalcade of title announcements from HD DVD-supporting studios at CES, this year's deafening silence from Universal and Paramount/DreamWorks has only fueled speculation that one (or both) of the studios are plotting a move to format neutrality or perhaps even Blu-ray exclusivity.

While Universal is issuing a terse "no comment" in response to the persistent rumors, a studio spokesperson did confirm for us that they will not be making any new title announcements at this year's CES.

Paramount similarly declined to make any new title announcements at CES, but as we first reported Monday, the studio is shooting down reports that it plans to abandon the format.
 

Microsoft's Xbox could consider Blu-ray support

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359w ago - LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) Xbox video gaming unit still fully backs Toshiba Corp's (6502.T: Quote, Profile, Research) HD-DVD high-definition DVD format but could consider supporting Sony Corp's (6758.T: Quote, Profile, Research) rival Blu-ray technology should consumers want it, an executive said on Tuesday.

"It should be consumer choice; and if that's the way they vote, that's something we'll have to consider," Albert Penello, group marketing manager for Xbox hardware said when asked whether Microsoft would support a Blu-ray DVD accessory in the event that HD-DVD failed.

Microsoft does not believe the surprise decision last week by Time Warner Inc (TWX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) unit Warner Bros, the top seller of home movies, to abandon HD-DVD format in favor of Blu-ray should affect sales of its Xbox 360 video game console, Penello said.

"I fundamentally don't think ... this has a significant impact on Xbox 360 versus (Sony's) PlayStation 3," Penello told Reuters in an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

"With the PlayStation 2, DVD was a big part in the beginning, but over time, people were not buying it as a DVD player after first year or two," Penello said.

The Xbox 360 supports a plug-in HD-DVD...
 

New Line Details Transition to Blu-ray

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359w ago - Confirming earlier reports that it would follow Warner to Blu-ray exclusivity, New Line says its first HD DVD title ('Pan's Labyrinth') will also be its last.

Though it was widely assumed that New Line (whose parent company is Time-Warner) would follow Warner Home Video's lead and continue to release on HD DVD through May 2008, a company rep tells us that New Line's move will go into immediate effect, with all of the studio's planned HD DVD releases now cancelled (including the HD DVD versions of current Blu-ray releases 'Hairspray' and 'Rush Hour 3,' which had previously been planned for HD DVD release sometime in early 2008).

As for 'Pan's Labyrinth,' which hit stores late last year as the first (and only) New Line HD DVD release, the studio says that once current retail supplies are depleted, the title will be discontinued -- making it an instant collector's item.

New Line says it's not planning to issue an official press release trumpeting the move, ending its short-lived HD DVD support with a relative whimper.

The studio also tells us they won't be revealing any new Blu-ray titles at CES, though they do plan to continue to support the format throughout 2008 with a variety of new release and catalog titles to be announced in the future.
 

Rumor: BioShock movie murmurs in Hollywood

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359w ago - Digging through all the praise heaped upon BioShock, you're sure to scrape your nails across several repeated phrases such as "engaging," "gripping" and "atmospheric." Some have even said it's "pretty good."

The most common one, however, is sure to be "cinematic," a term that places BioShock and Hollywood in rather close proximity. A reliable source within a major film production company has told Joystiq that the two have been getting along famously, with a movie adaptation of 2K's successful franchise already being discussed by the Big Daddies internally.

The studio hopes to bring the fallen aquatic utopia of Rapture to celluloid life through extensive use of green screen technology, an approach not dissimilar to Legendary Pictures' interpretation of 300. If the computer generated approach is deemed feasible and fitting, the focus can then shift to capturing BioShock's secondary (and uninhabited) characters. While it's not guaranteed to move beyond these early stages, this project has our full support, if only so we can see M. Night Shyamalan's face when he gets out-twisted.

Of course, the potential film would do well to remember that while it's desirable for a game to share traits with cinema, the opposite situation will likely earn a thumbs down from most critics.
 
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