Tuesday, July 3rd 2007

Amazon.com and Microsoft Team Up to Help HD DVD Format

Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. today announced the 1,000 HD DVD Indies Project, designed to lower the barriers to entry for filmmakers to produce and distribute movies in the HD DVD format through the innovative manufacturing-on-demand technology of CustomFlix, a part of an Amazon group of companies. Jointly sponsored by Amazon and Microsoft, the project will provide free authoring and setup services for up to 1,000 selected indie titles.

“This collaboration with Microsoft is a great opportunity for independent filmmakers to reach Amazon customers with their films via the HD DVD format,” said Peter Faricy, vice president of music and movies at Amazon.com. “By working together with Microsoft and leveraging the proven CustomFlix DVD on Demand model, we can lower the barriers to entry for independent filmmakers and dramatically increase the selection we offer our customers.”

The project will be spearheaded by CustomFlix, which will bring as many as 1,000 feature-length independent films to Amazon customers using the CustomFlix DVD on Demand technology, which produces and ships DVDs only as they are ordered. This model greatly improves the cost structure for independent filmmakers by eliminating the need for costly inventory.

“From a technical standpoint, we found that the HD DVD format fits our business model perfectly,” said Dana LoPiccolo-Giles, co-founder and managing director of CustomFlix. “With retail shelf space at a premium, our model eliminates the risk of carrying inventory and immediately expands the number of great HD DVD titles available to consumers.”

“Programs like this one from Amazon lower barriers to entry for independent artists and provide audiences with increased access to high-quality, high-definition content,” said Christian Vesper, senior vice president of programming, acquisitions and scheduling for Sundance Channel.

Sundance Channel will be reviewing the high-definition features for potential broadcast on the network as well as making its own HD original eco-series, “Big Ideas for a Small Planet,” available for purchase through Amazon’s HD DVD program.

“Amazon’s participation in this project will be a major benefit to independent filmmakers wanting to break into the high-definition market segment,” said Amir Majidimehr, corporate vice president for the Consumer Media Technology Group at Microsoft. “The use of Microsoft technology and authoring expertise will ensure that all the HD DVD titles offered by Amazon have impeccable quality, thanks to the VC-1 codec and innovative interactive scenarios with HDi.”

Amazon.com offers a broad and growing selection of HD televisions, players and DVDs through its HD DVD store at http://www.amazon.com/hddvd&tag=tec06d-20. Filmmakers interested in submitting their HD DVD work for consideration as part of the 1,000 HD DVD Indies Project can go to http://www.customflix.com/hddvdindies.Source: Microsoft
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8 Comments on Amazon.com and Microsoft Team Up to Help HD DVD Format

damn, I prefer bluray, so seeing the inferior format get a boost is a tad annoying.

I want a format that is futureproofed.
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HD-DVD has the same movie capacity as Blu-Ray. And considering that only one company is actually natively using 1080P (Pixar) and all else is 720P it is senseless to have a player that uses something that is not there.

Then again, both discs can handle a full feature 1080P 7.1 24/96K movie? Now you are down to how much extra crap you want to buy when you just want a movie.
Posted on Reply
Steevo, I'm sorry, but almost your entire post was incorrect. You must not own HD. I own both formats. If you look at the situation with blu-ray from a business standpoint, Blu-ray ultimately could be the bad choice for filmmakers and consumers.

Sony owns Sony Pictures. So if blu-ray wins, sony could charge all other film studios loads of money to manufact discs. As a result, it would be more expensive to create a movie, and film makers would be forced to join with sony pictures to keep the budget lower.

Toshiba doesn't make movies and wouldn't benifit from being dicks to american movie studios. HD DVD FTW.
Posted on Reply
Bird of Prey
Benpi actually, your post isnt entirely true. I dont foresee sony charging alot of money just to have discs made on their format. Truth of the matter is, Blu-Ray offers higher resolution than HD-DVD. Down side is, it costs more, for now. Sure, Blu-Ray can hold more information than HD-DVD, but I dont see a movie needing all that space. One good thing about HD-DVD is its built in ethernet port, which easily allows firmware updates, as opposed to Blu_ray.
Posted on Reply
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
the story title is a bit misleading. they are teaming up to help indie filmmakers. the fact that it will no doubt benefit HD DVD is an after thought.
Posted on Reply
russianboy said:
damn, I prefer bluray, so seeing the inferior format get a boost is a tad annoying.

I want a format that is futureproofed.
Hd-dvd has no majority format patent holder unlike Blu-ray so if you want future proof backing the horse that anyone can ride is a far better option for the consumer and developer alike otherwise you may end up with DVD ram (which was sony) while everyone else is using DVD rom.
Posted on Reply
So a 90 minute long feature at 1080P with 71 @ 24/96K is too much for the HD-DVD, umm, no.

Perhaps a long film like LOTR or the like would need it to be dual sided (something that Blu-ray isn't doing) but who sits non stop through a movie of almost four hours? No one.

So in all reality it has as much useable non bullshit space as does Blew-ray. Unless again sitting for 5 hours to get every last blooper and outtake of Star Wars is important to you. Plus a much more user friendly format, no reigions, no extra DRM crap, etc...
Posted on Reply
Wile E
Power User
I agree with one of Steevo's points. There is no discernible difference in movie quality between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. Blu-Ray has more storage available, but no current movies even require the full amount, using the current compressions, anyway. The only way it's filled, is with extras. (And honestly, I can't remember the last time I watched extras or listened to director's commentary on a DVD, let alone an hd disk.)

I disagree on the 720p comment. Not a single one of my BD or HD-DVD movies are 720p, and none of them are Pixar, either.

HD-DVD also has drm restrictions, tho admittedly not as bad as BluRay.

Either way, I see this as a good thing for indie filmakers and consumers alike.
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