Universal First to Sell 3D Blu-rays in NZ

3D Blu-rays will be comin’ at ya’ in time for Christmas – and not just those bundled with that new Panasonic, Samsung or Sony 3D TV.

Universal Pictures will be the first distributor to release active Blu-ray 3D titles in the local market.

Initially, it will offer two from December 8: a movie, Step Up 3D; and a triple-disc IMAX documentary, Dolphins and Whales 3D: Tribes of the Ocean/Sharks 3D/Ocean Wonderland 3D.

Step Up 3D will be released as a combo pack with the 2D Blu-ray for just under $60; the IMAX doco will sell for just over $50.

In January, Universal will roll out the animated Despicable Me on 3D Blu-ray.

Other distributors have yet to announce 3D Blu-ray titles, although expect Roadshow Entertainment’s first to be Piranha 3D early in 2011.

But neither Warner Home Video nor Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has 3D Blu-rays on its schedule, at least not in NZ.

Across the Tasman, retailers are taking pre-orders for Sony’s Open Season in 3D while a 3D Blu-ray of its Monster House already has been released.

The only Sony Pictures 3D Blu-ray available in NZ, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, is being bundled exclusively with Sony’s new 3D Bravia TVs.

However, all three can be bought from Britain on discs that, if regionally coded, will play on NZ machines because both territories are zoned ‘B’.

Meanwhile, the Digital Entertainment Group in the US reports there will be 24 3D Blu-ray titles on sale by year’s end.

Nearly half of these will come out on November 16 — 10 days before “Black Friday”, when US retailers go beserk with consumer electronics bargains.

“We are excited to see so much industry support for bringing Blu-ray 3D home,” Ron Sanders, president of Warner Home Video and DEG, said in Home Media Magazine. “And now, consumers buying 3D home entertainment systems over Black Friday weekend will have ample 3D programming to accompany them.”

The DEG also estimates 25 3D video games will soon hit the market and over the next 12 months 3D content will account for more than 1,000 hours of US broadcast programming.

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