In a Virtual Roundtable with fellow executives from the Blu-ray and consumer electronics industry this morning, Rich Marty, (VP, Emerging Platform Development & Marketing, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) confirmed that the long-awaited high-definition Blu-ray release of Lawrence of Arabia would be released later this year to coincide with the film’s 50th anniversary, but he gave no specific date. He did, however, offer that the film’s original negative was scanned at 8K and restoration work was done on a 4K digital intermediate. The Blu-ray master was taken from that 4K restoration.
In other news, the group, which also included Paul Ericson (Consumer Electronics IMS Research (recently acquired by IHS Inc. (NYSE:IHS)) and Andy Parsons (Chair, Blu-ray Disc Association’s U.S. Promotion Committee & Sr VP Corporate Communications, Pioneer) talked up Blu-ray as the center of a digital entertainment hub that included cloud connected Blu-ray players and Blu-ray Combo Packs offering consumers the choice of pristine Blu-ray playback for the home, various digital formats such as UltraViolet and digital copy, and good ol’ DVD.
Additionally, Andy Parsons, in response to a question about Apple’s new Retina Display MacBook Pro and claims that it is “better than HDTV” had this response: “We are already at the maximum resolution available for the HDTV systems currently in use around the world (1080p), so the only way to become “more high def” would be to incorporate 4K resolution into the format. At present, the BDA is not working on a 4K version of Blu-ray, but if and when the time comes to do that, we believe the 50GB capacity should allow us to accommodate the much higher data rates that 4K sources require.”
There was also encouraging news that physical media continues to dominate, despite ongoing news of its demise. Parson’s again offered that “The most recent numbers we have from IHS Screen Digest is for 2011, which showed about 16% of revenue was for streaming, and 84% was for packaged media.”
Rich Marty supplied that the current split in sales between DVD and Blu-ray “for key new release titles…can go as high as 50%+ and we expect that [to] go higher as Blu-ray penetration increases.”