New to Blu: June 24 – 30

Roadshow Entertainment continues to treat NZ as a Blu-ray backwater.

Since closing its NZ office, the Melbourne-based distributor of Warner Bros movies and TV series has increasingly shortchanged Kiwi consumers.

Case in point: this week it’s releasing on DVD Birds of Prey, Richard Jewell, Miss Fisher & the Crypt of TearsJust Mercy, and seasons six of The 100 and eight of Arrow.

It’s offering all of these titles on Blu-ray across the Tasman but here only the Harley Quinn sequel is available on Blu-ray and 4K-UHD.

You can argue it’s a reflection of declining Blu-ray sales in this market. But that hasn’t stopped Auckland-based majors like Sony Pictures Entertainment and Universal Pictures NZ from still promoting the higher-resolution formats with most of their releases.

True, there have been notable exceptions, such as SPHE not distributing a prestigious Tom Hanks title like A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood on Blu-ray and UPNZ limiting Stan & Ollie to DVD.

And they can do better: having taken over the BBC’s home video output, why has UPNZ still not released on Blu-ray or 4K-UHD Seven Worlds, One Planet?

But generally these companies largely mirror here what they release in Australia (and even indies like Madman Entertainment and GDE are starting to offer more vintage titles on Blu-ray) — whereas Roadshow has cut back its NZ Blu-ray and 4K-UHD slate significantly.

Yes, you can argue you can now stream most new-release movies in 4K. But, like HD, not all 4K is the same — and even the best compression technology can’t compensate for streaming’s inferior bit rates.

Moreover, you always own physical media. Your collection isn’t at the mercy of studios, streamers or self-flagellating filmmakers who decide to pull or edit titles because of contemporary developments (cue everything from the Fawlty Towers fiasco in the UK, to HBO Max’s Gone With the Wind overreaction, to the blackface episodes of 30 Rock and Scrubs).

Even when Roadshow does release on 4K-UHD in this market, it’s invariably tied to a specific retailer. The 4K steelbook edition of Birds of Prey, for instance, is exclusive to JB Hi-Fi.

What do critics say about the transfer? High-Def Digest said the 2160p transfer with Dolby Vision “looks exquisite and is a great upgrade from the already top-notch 1080p Blu-ray disc in the form of colour and detail”.

“The original source is pristine, there are no compression issues and the whole image is bright and colourful,” AVForums said.

“The black level is deep and pitch, adding some tremendous frame depth, while also holding shadow detail, while the white scale adds 3D pop to the image with bright highlights.”

The week’s only other Blu-ray newcomer is the delayed SPiRiTS IN THE FOREST.

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3 Responses to “New to Blu: June 24 – 30”

  1. On iTunes movies I bought the Alien 6-movie bundle for just $20, it’s really impressive with the hours of extras including different versions of the movies. I started watching Aliens last night YIPPEE 🙂

  2. Wow! That was a steal, Trevor. Of course, in space no one will hear you scream … with delight!

  3. I can’t recommend it highly enough Philip. It looks amazing in HD, it’s hard to believe Alien was made 41 years ago. The 3 hour documentary is brilliant as well 🙂

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