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Mall-goers Enthusiastic about Blu-ray at Disney Tour

20 Aug, 2007 By: Chris Tribbey

CANOGA PARK, Calif. —Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is showing off the wonders of the Blu-ray format at an 18-mall nationwide tour, which kicked off Aug. 17 at the Westfield Topanga Mall in Canoga Park, Calif.

With nearly a dozen, 50-inch plasma Panasonic, flat-screen TVs showing off PlayStation 3 and Blu-ray standalone player technology, a steady flow of Canoga Park mall-goers were treated to the best the technology has to offer, including interactive games, presentations on the sound and picture of high-definition in general, and a general Q&A on what Blu-ray is all about.

Disney reps were on hand to highlight Blu-ray features, such as its high storage capacity, compared to DVD and HD DVD.

“It does look fantastic,” said Glendale, Calif. resident Jack Bair, after sitting in on the Blu-ray presentation at Westfield Topanga Mall. “I have a plasma [TV] but I don't have a Blu-ray player. I just might have to get one.”

So went the general attitude of people already familiar with the technology. They loved the way Blu-ray looked and sounded. Many just weren't sure of the price.

“I already knew about [Blu-ray],” said Los Angeles resident Joyce Taborda, who was at the mall with her two nieces. “They wanted to stop because they saw ‘Disney' … I'm just waiting for the price of the player to come down [before I buy one].”

Robert Powell, a representative of Panasonic, which is co-sponsoring the tour, said price and the benefits over DVD were the top questions he fielded during the three-day event. Each stop on the mall tour will last three days, to give interested consumers plenty of time to decide Blu-ray is worth the HD investment, according to Disney North America GM Lori MacPherson. A Blu-ray Today magazine, which includes coupons for Blu-ray Disc and player purchases, is available to everyone at the mall stops.

“They want to make sure they don't have to get rid of their DVD collections if they upgrade [to Blu-ray],” Powell said, following the Blu-ray presentation he hosted. “People want to make sure they don't have to replace their DVDs right away, but can have something better at the same time.”

Melissa Esquivez, a Canoga Park resident, said she already owns a Blu-ray Disc — Pirates of Caribbean — but she has no way to play it.

“I just got a new laptop and it doesn't have a Blu-ray drive,” she lamented. “[Blu-ray] is really enhanced. The video and the [sound] really look better [compared to DVD].”

Tony Perez, a Simi Valley, Calif. resident, spent a good 20 minutes with a Panasonic representative discussing the format at the Blu-ray booth.

“If it was just movies for kids [I would say no],” he said. “[But] because there's a lot of variety [in movies] I enjoyed what I saw.

“Maybe during Christmas.”

The tour moves on to Costa Mesa, Escondido and San Francisco, Calif. through Sept. 9, and then hits malls in Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Georgia, Texas and Arizona.

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