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Release Date: August 05, 2009
Genre: Games
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iTunes New Music Releases

Release Date: September 29, 2009
Genre: Rock
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  • Suspended Animation

    • 8 out of 10
    • Fantomas
    • Mike Patton may well be one of the hardest working men in showbiz these days, and his latest with Fantômas underscores just about how far out he is willing to travel.

      Suspended Animation

  • Chicago Transit Authority

    • 10 out of 10
    • Chicago
    • For those of you who don't know, Chicago didn't always suck, and everyone in the band didn't always play a keyboard. When the band started off they were pioneers of rock and jazz fusion, and guita

  • The Printz

    • 8 out of 10
    • Bumblebeez 81
    • Part white rap, part alternative, part pop, and part rock, the Bumblebeez grabbed a hold of me with "Pony Ride," and didn't let go.

      This group does a marvelous job of moving seamlessly be

  • 2112

    • 10 out of 10
    • Rush
    • We all know it, right? Well, ya just gotta have it. 2112 finally showed Rush out on their own, doing their own thing, and doing it well, IMHO.
  • Hello

    • 8 out of 10
    • Poe
    • Poe rocked my world with "Angry Johnny" (I want to kill you/I want to blow you/Away) and "Trigger Happy Jack" (Trigger Happy Jack/ You're gonna blow/But I'm gonna get off/Before you go), as powe

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Santa Baby, Bring Me Blu-ray

Several reports have provided evidence that sub $200 Blu-ray players have been big hits so far this Christmas buying season. The fact that Blu-ray sales are now hot, in this economy, supports the idea that after the price barrier is broken, there are tangible reasons for the popularity of the technology.

What appears to be a tipping point for Blu-ray has been reached, just as analysts predicted. We've reached the $200 point for mass market Blu-ray players for the living room.

Blu-ray player
Sony BDP-S350, a Hit

When the prices were in the $400 range, the off-putting price masked the realities of Blu-ray, namely:

  • People are hungry for a better picture, but they haven't had the money to afford the luxury. Now they do.
  • It's far easier for an 8 year-old to drop a Blu-ray disc of Ratatouille into the player on Christmas day and press "play" than it is to log onto dad's Mac, launch iTunes, and order up a movie on dad's credit card to be viewed only on dad's tiny 17-inch display.
  • A Blu-ray disc is a tangible product that reflects they money paid. Hollywood understands that.
  • It is its own backup in that it's durable, and few end up damaged beyond use.

I should mention that one of the truly annoying things about Blu-ray is the incessant marketing for Profile 1.1 and 2.0 players. I saw a TV ad the other night that showed how customers will be able to record their own videos of their reactions to a movie and "share" it with others. Other interactive features allow picture-in-picture effects in which one can watch the director commenting on various scenes. Blech.

I strongly suspect that most customers just want to watch a good movie. Quantum of Solace cost US$230 million dollars to make, and when I buy it on Blu-ray, I'll be watching Daniel Craig and Olga Kurylenko, not the director making cute remarks.

However, if one develops an attitude about the technology based on pre-conceived notions that physical media is dead and interactive features are for idiots, then that dictates how to compete against the technology. So far, customers don't seem to have those notions. They just want to buy a copy of Finding Nemo for their kid and enjoy the look on the child's face. Or own a copy of the Bourne Identity that matches well with the capability of their new HDTV bought at CostCo.

Now that the price balloon has burst, we're seeing people embrace Blu-ray for what it really is, even amidst a recession. That's a powerful lesson about what people really want and how they go get it when they can afford it.

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