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300 (Combo DVD + HD-DVD) 300
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The epic graphic novel by Frank Miller (Sin City) assaults the screen with the blood, thunder and awe of its ferocious visual style faithfully recreated in an intense blend of live-action and CGI animation. Retelling the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, it depicts the titanic clash in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his massive Persian army. Experience history at swordpoint. And movie-making with a cutting edge.

300 (Blu-Ray)Buy this title now

The epic graphic novel by Frank Miller (Sin City) assaults the screen with the blood, thunder and awe of its ferocious visual style faithfully recreated in an intense blend of live-action and CGI animation. Retelling the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, it depicts the titanic clash in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his massive Persian army. Experience history at swordpoint. And movie-making with a cutting edge.

 

Planet Earth (BBC Series) Planet Earth (BBC Series)
Planet Earth BBC Series (HD-DVD)Buy this title nowWith an unprecedented production budget of $25 million, and from the makers of Blue Planet: Seas of Life, comes the epic story of life on Earth. Five years in production, over 2,000 days in the field, using 40 cameramen filming across 200 locations, shot entirely in high definition, this is the ultimate portrait of our planet. A stunning television experience that captures rare action, impossible locations and intimate moments with our planet's best-loved, wildest and most elusive creatures. From the highest mountains to the deepest rivers, this blockbuster series takes you on an unforgettable journey through the daily struggle for survival in Earth's most extreme habitats. Planet Earth takes you to places you have never seen before, to experience sights and sounds you may never experience anywhere else. Planet Earth BBC Series (Blu-Ray)Buy this title nowWith an unprecedented production budget of $25 million, and from the makers of Blue Planet: Seas of Life, comes the epic story of life on Earth. Five years in production, over 2,000 days in the field, using 40 cameramen filming across 200 locations, shot entirely in high definition, this is the ultimate portrait of our planet. A stunning television experience that captures rare action, impossible locations and intimate moments with our planet's best-loved, wildest and most elusive creatures. From the highest mountains to the deepest rivers, this blockbuster series takes you on an unforgettable journey through the daily struggle for survival in Earth's most extreme habitats. Planet Earth takes you to places you have never seen before, to experience sights and sounds you may never experience anywhere else.
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Hearing is Believing!
What this new era of high definition has to offer your ears.

As the world of home entertainment continues to narrow the gap between, if it has not already surpassed, the in-theatre movie experience and the home theatre experience, those who demand the very best in both picture and sound quality are now beginning to move over from DVD technology to high definition disc technologies.


Battle of the HD Titans

The two HD titans battling it out currently is the HD DVD and Blu-Ray.  Those paying any attention to consumer electronics know that there has been another intense battle for the crown of becoming "the" HD format for the masses.  Thus far both camps have made temporary claims as "winner of the format war" but, in fact, the battle seems far from over.  While the HD-DVD camp got out to an impressive lead especially with the launch of Microsoft's Xbox 360 HD-DVD add-on, the Blu-Ray camp has made a huge comeback since quarter 4 of 2006...and now, according to some, is firmly in the lead.  Still, with releases such as THE MATRIX TRILOGY and the PLANET EARTH series, HD-DVD is far from dead.

The SOUND of Perfect

Of course the main focus on HD has been and is on the video quality.  If you are one who has spent any time watching HD programming or discs on HD qualified hardware, then you probably know that standard definition is now on the endangered technologies list.  As impressive as the visuals are (some 5 times greater than standard television), the new formats provide much more.  For us who listen to our films as much as we watch them, both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray offer a significant boost in sound quality as well.  Toshiba's HD-DVD slogan is, afterall, "The Look and SOUND of Perfect."  

Dolby Sound and HD

Two of the more common audio standards come from the famous labs of Dolby.  You will find most HD-DVDs or Blu-Ray releases encoded with either Dolby TrueHD or Dolby Digital Plus.  TrueHD boasts 100% lossless sound that is said to rival the original sound of the studio masters.  Digital Plus moves past the sound quality of the DVD but is not "lossless."  Both formats are available in 7.1 surround.

DTS and HD

Dolby's main competition remains DTS.  Of course, DTS has released its own new HD audio formats alongside Dolby:  DTS HD: Master Audio and DTS HD: High Resolution Audio.  Like Dolby's offerings both of these DTS formats provide 7.1 channels of audio.  The DTS' Master Audio is akin to Dolby's True HD.

So which do you buy?

One question you should ask yourself is, "Do I love sound or do I love extras more?"  It seems that the HD-DVD camp has chosen to focus on extras and the Blu-Ray camp on audio.   Blu-Ray and its employment of the DTS HD codecs currently nudge out HD-DVD and Dolby.  Of course, there are numerous additional factors to consider in making your choice of which format to adopt.  It is possible that you won't even have to make a choice as there are already plans for HD-DVD/Blu-Ray combo discs and players alike!

Like all new technologies, the cost of entering early is a little high and prices will likely continue to fall.  For the film/audiophile however, once you've been exposed to the visual and audio treats of this high definition era, it's truly difficult to go back.  

 

 

 

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