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First Blu-ray Disc Complete

23 Nov, 2005 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle

The first high-definition Blu-ray Disc is in the can, which means consumer electronics companies now have software they can use to test their players.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment said that authoring has been completed for Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and that the film is now being shipped to Blu-ray Disc hardware companies for player testing.

The film was encoded in MPEG-2 in full high-definition resolution (1920x1080) at Sony Pictures' Digital Authoring Center.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment president Benjamin Feingold said he believes “this achievement will help everyone understand that Blu-ray is real and poised to enter the marketplace.”

The Sony-developed Blu-ray Disc enjoys a clear lead over rival HD DVD, with support from five of the six major studios and a majority of both consumer electronics and computer makers. Even so, questions have been raised over its viability, chiefly from within the HD DVD camp. Warren Lieberfarb, the former Warner Home Video president who now is a consultant to HD DVD developer Toshiba Corp., has publicly called Blu-ray Disc “vaporware.”

Don Eklund, SVP of advanced technologies for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, hails the completion of the 25 GB Charlie's Angels prototype as a milestone.

“This is an important step for our industry in order to begin mass production of high-definition movies in the Blu-ray format in the near future,” he said.

Feingold conceded the disc doesn't utilize all of Blu-ray's advanced specifications, such as BD-Java or the VC-1 and MPEG-4 AVC codecs that are more sophisticated than MPEG-2.

“We'll be doing that on a different title, shortly,” Feingold said. “This was meant to get the movie out to manufacturers like Sony, Samsung and Pioneer so they could start checking machines.”

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