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Buena Vista Mines TV UMD

18 Jul, 2005 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Watch out for extras on the Lost UMD.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment has become the second major studio to announce TV content on the Universal Media Disc (UMD), the proprietary software for Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld game player.

The two-part pilot episode of “Lost” will be part of the studio's latest wave of UMD titles, streeting in September. The “Lost” UMD will arrive in stores Sept. 6, the same day as the complete first season of the popular Touchstone Television series — about the survivors of a plane wreck who are stranded on an island — comes out on DVD.

Patrick Fitzgerald, EVP of sales, distribution and new technologies for Buena Vista, said TV content is a natural for UMD, because statistics show more and more American consumers want to take their home entertainment with them when they travel.

Fitzgerald cited Consumer Electronics Association numbers that show a sharp rise in the installed base of both portable DVD players (from 594,000 units in 2003 to a projected 2.3 million units by 2008) and car DVD players (from 163,000 units in 2003 to a projected 1.5 million units by 2008).

“With new formats like the PSP, even more portable options exist,” he said. “As a content provider, we are capitalizing on this ‘entertainment on the go' trend by being early to market and offering more content for new devices like the PSP as well as continuing to partner with hardware manufacturers for automotive and portable DVD players to promote their usage for movies on the go.”

Also part of Buena Vista's next wave of UMD titles: The 10th anniversary edition of Toy Story, also coming Sept. 6, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Pulp Fiction, arriving Sept. 13.

Paramount Home Entertainment was the first studio to announce its intent to release TV content on UMD, drawing heavily from its fellow Viacom divisions Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV.

Paramount's first TV UMD is MTV's Viva La Bam Vol. 1, scheduled for release Aug. 30. Coming later in the year are compilation UMDs of “Chappelle's Show,” “The Ren & Stimpy Show,” “South Park” and “SpongeBob SquarePants” episodes.

Buena Vista is one of the only suppliers to include extras on its UMDs. Lost: The Series Pilot Episodes ($19.99) will include a making-of featurette and other bonus materials such as original casting tapes and a documentary on the art of star Matthew Fox.

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