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The burly brawlin' Agent Smith
The Matrix avoids Blu-ray due to technical shortfalls

Although Warner Bros. officially supports both HD DVD and Blu-ray camps, one of its biggest upcoming catalog releases will be an HD DVD exclusive for better part of 2007. On May 22, Warner will be releasing the Matrix movies on HD DVD in the form of two different packages.

The first offering, The Complete Matrix Trilogy, contains HD DVD versions of the three Matrix films in a 3-disc set, perfect for those who just want to see all three Matrix films in hi-definition. For the hardcore fan, The Ultimate Matrix Collection, presents all three of the Wachowski brothers’ post-modern films with more than 35 hours of bonus material in five double-sided discs.

Both The Ultimate Matrix Collection and The Complete Matrix Trilogy come with the In-Movie Experience (IME), an exclusive interactive feature that allows viewers to enjoy interviews and other material via picture in picture while the movie is running.

The IME feature is precisely why the Matrix trilogy is appearing on HD DVD first. Even after more than half a year following Blu-ray’s introduction, many players are still unable to support picture in picture. For this reason, HD DVD movies such as Batman Begins, Poseidon and V for Vendetta have yet to appear on Blu-ray. The Blu-ray Association hopes to catch up by setting a deadline for all Blu-ray players to support such new features by this fall.

The Ultimate Matrix Collection will be available for $119.99 SRP and The Complete Matrix Trilogy available for $99.99 SRP. Blu-ray Disc versions of both collections will be released later this year.

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By Lazarus Dark on 3/27/2007 8:47:51 AM , Rating: 2
This is what is holding HD in general back, lack of content, not just on hddvd/bluray but hdtv as well. When looking at buying a large screen tv last year, I had a big decision to make: 480p, 720p or 1080p. This was a very difficult choice as I had a budget. 90% of my viewing is currently sd, not by choice but simply because the stuff I want to watch isn't in HD yet. So, for my money I could either get a 480p plasma and get the best picture possible for 90% of my viewing, or I could get a 1080p lcd. Eventually I settled on the Westinghouse 37"1080p lcd, mostly because I will use it with an htpc and higher res would be best with desktop use and because hopefully an affordable hddvd/bluray drive will come out soon, though I guess the x360 hddvd drive is decently priced. But there is little reason yet to get a hd drive as there are only a handful of titles I care to see.

Matrix trilogy is one of the main titles I am waiting for, in fact the matrix trilogy on dvd, specifically the third one, is what really got me itching for a large widescreen tv. I noticed while watching the scenes in the big Zion battle on my 24" analog tv that there was a huge amount of detail that I just couldn't see on the small tv. Star Wars is like this as well. I am quite happy that upscaled dvd's look pretty good on my 37"1080p lcd, but I can definately tell that it is not native res. So if the matrix trilogy comes out on hddvd a significant time period before the bluray versions, well it's quite possible I will be getting a hddvd drive. Thats not to say I won't buy a bluray drive, but if I have an hddvd drive first, then I will likely buy most of my movies in that format. So this could be a significant announcement if many like me are waiting for the matrix to choose a format.

Incidentally, it was Metallica that got me to buy a dvd player all those years ago. It was their S&M concert that was the whole reason I first bought a dvd player. So I am interested to hear which format they might release something on as that may be a factor in my buying as well. Though I am likely to buy both players at some point, if a title I want is on both formats, well I have to choose one. And I will choose the format that seems to have the most content available as that is the format likely to last the longest.

RE: content
By novacthall on 3/27/2007 10:35:21 AM , Rating: 2
How do you like the Westy? I've heard good things about their 37" 1080p LCD, but I'm on the fence about it. You mention that you can tell your DVDs are upscaled, is it painful or just noticeable? If you have an Xbox 360, have you tried watching DVDs through it and if so does it aid with the upscale at all?

It seems that you have a lot of the same hesitations I have regarding taking the plunge into HD. No one in my household is a heavy TV-consumer - at most we typically watch about five to ten hours a week. Time spent on the computer considerably outweighs television time and video game console use outweighs watching cable. So if I did go and get an HDTV it would purely be for video games, in which case I'm not sure I'm willing to settle for 480p or 720p. (Don't get me wrong: my brother has a 720p HDTV hooked up to his Xbox 360 and it looks beyond gorgeous, but at this point the price delta for the added benefit makes the decision an easy one, in my mind.)

Further complicating things, my entertainment center has exactly 37.5 inches of horizontal clearance to accommodate a TV. I have an old 32" Toshiba tube in there, which is a mighty fine television and I've gotten plenty of miles out of the old girl, but I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to stave off these HDTV impulses I'm getting.

My main hesitation right now is to pick a side in the DVD Format War (TM). I think there's sufficient content available on the Xbox 360 (and eventually PS3, someday) for me to justify the purchase of an HDTV, but I'm not seeing anything worthwhile on either Blu-ray or HD-DVD to make me need one or the other.

Ever so slightly off topic: S&M on DVD is incredible.

RE: content
By therealnickdanger on 3/27/2007 1:01:18 PM , Rating: 2
but I'm not seeing anything worthwhile on either Blu-ray or HD-DVD to make me need one or the other.

I jumped onto the HD-DVD wagon extremely early and currently have a LOT of HD movies. However, I haven't bought a DVD (except Shaun of the Dead because it broke) or HD-DVD or BD movie since December because I want to wait for prices to come down more and get more content.

Seeing HD movies in the store and in your home are two drastically different experiences, trust me. What might not blow you away in the store will suddenly seem like digital crack once you bring it home. It's a slippery slope, watch your step.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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