Burbank (CA)– The line between HD DVD and Blu-ray is often a very fine one, but to paraphrase a great journalist whose biopic is now due for release for Blu-ray, Warner Home Video plans to step over it repeatedly. Today, Warner announced its initial roster of four movie releases for the Blu-ray format, for general availability on 1 August. By our count, Warner has announced or released 37 titles for the HD DVD format, which was the first the studio originally supported.
Entering the Warner roster is the Edward R. Murrow story Good Night, and Good Luck with David Strathairn as the towering monochrome icon, with George Clooney often literally kneeling beside him as Fred Friendly. Also joining the list is Oscar-winner Training Day with Denzel Washington doing the training; the black comedy Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang with another former Batman, Val Kilmer; and the Jennifer Aniston comedy Rumor Has It with former director Kevin Costner under the direction of Rob Reiner.
Of the four listed, only Good Night, and Good Luck has yet to be announced for release on HD DVD; meanwhile, Rumor Has It is currently available on Warner’s experimental HD DVD / DVD combo format, which works for both types of players. In a statement this afternoon, Warner said its Blu-ray Discs will feature a “seamless menu-bar,” apparently making use of the BD-J interactive layer, that will give the viewer menu capabilities without pausing or interrupting the show.
The studio also acknowledged Blu-ray’s “extraordinarily vibrant contrast and color in addition to beautifully crisp sound,” without paying homage to the technical terms for those things. In deference to the high cost of laughter these days, the two dramas will be priced at $28.99, while the two comedies will be priced at $34.99.
Samsung is currently the only manufacturer with a Blu-ray Disc player currently available, with Pioneer’s model having been delayed until reportedly mid-August, and Sony’s – at one time, the first to be shipped – delayed until October. Sony’s PlayStation 3, which will feature Blu-ray player capabilities, continues on course for release in November.