I've referred to the AIX Records "Audio Calibration Disc & HD Music Sampler" Blu-ray in a bunch of my CNET equipment reviews, because it's loaded with terrific-sounding Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio music tracks. AIX refrains from using dynamic range compression, equalization, or signal processing, so the sound is as close to the original session as can be.
Now, with the release of "Goldberg Variations Acoustica" AIX has ventured into producing original 3D video programming. The new Blu-ray was shot with four prototype Panasonic 3D A1 cameras, and the sound was recorded in 96 kHz/24-bit high-resolution audio.
"Goldberg" maintains AIX's high standards for sound quality, but I'm an audio guy, so I called upon two of my video-reviewing CNET colleagues, David Katzmaier and Matthew Moskovciak, to comment on the disc's 3D picture quality. They watched the Blu-ray on a Panasonic TC-P65VT25 display and were generally impressed. They liked the picture's depth, but expressed concerns about visible crosstalk, which can appear as doubled outlines around onscreen objects, such as on the stand-up bass' strings. Katzmaier and Moskovciak also thought the image wasn't as sharp as it could have been. The crosstalk artifacts varied from shot to shot, but Moskovciak still thought the "Goldberg" Blu-ray might be the best live-action 3D picture he's seen "in a home theater setting" (the 3D image quality of "Avatar" in a movie theater was better).
Regarding the crosstalk, Katzmaier said it wasn't the disc's fault, and the crosstalk might not show up on future generations of 3D TVs. "Goldberg" is fully compatible with standard 2D Blu-ray players and displays, so you can enjoy the disc even if you don't own a 3D set. … Read more
When Microsoft unveiled its new Xbox 360 at E3 on Monday, not many people were expecting the company to include a Blu-ray player, and we didn't get it. However, when you look at the specs and $299 pricing for both consoles, the most obvious omission--and the thing that seems to separate the two systems--is that Blu-ray player.
Yes, you can nitpick about things like the PS3's free online play vs. the Xbox 360's $50 yearly fee for Xbox Live Gold (360 fans like to say you get what you pay for) and which industrial design is superior (… Read more
In case you missed it, the new four-disc Blu-ray of the BBC's "Life" series hit stores on June 1. Home theater aficionados have been fans of BBC's earlier nature documentary, "Planet Earth," and the "Life" series quickly climbed the charts at Amazon. The only problem is that there are two versions of the Blu-ray edition out there--one narrated by British naturalist David Attenborough, the other by Oprah Winfrey--and a lot of people don't think that's cool.
The Attenborough version is the original as it first appeared on the BBC, while the Winfrey version aired on the Discovery Channel. For some reason--and we're not sure why--the resolution of the Winfrey Blu-ray is 1080i, while the Attenborough version is 1080p.
While the Winfrey version has a few extras that the Attenborough version doesn't have, video sticklers are naturally going to gravitate toward the 1080p version, and "Life" purists clearly prefer the original narration by Attenborough, which costs two bucks more.
In fact, Oprah's getting a rather rough ride in the Amazon user reviews section, where the vast majority of reviewers have doled out one-star ratings. (The 1080i vs. 1080p issue isn't mentioned much.)
"This version is a COMPLETE waste of time and an utter ripoff," writes REAL Alaskan. "What will Discovery think of next? Hiring 'Shoot Em From Choppers! Drill Baby Drill!' Sarah Palin to do a documentary about the natural wonders of Alaska? UNBELIEVABLY POOR MARKETING!"Another commenter notes: "Do not buy this version. That's it plain and simple. Go get the original David Attenborough-narrated version. Oprah makes this 'Americanized' version totally unwatchable."