Blu-ray disc sales are off to a slow start in the States, report retailers. This is perhaps unsurprising given that BD hardware does not go nationwide till June 25.
Some dealers, including the Los Angeles-area Circuit City and Best Buy stores, however have offered Samsung’s debut BD-P1000 player (pictured) early to coincide with the launch catalogue.
Sony has confirmed that there are 15,000 of each of its launch catalogue available, which comprises 50 First Dates, Underworld: Evolution, The Fifth Element, House of Flying Daggers, XXX and Hitch. Lionsgate is expected to join the BD party on June 27, with T2, Crash, Lord of War, The Punisher and Saw. No more than 10,000 of each are expected to ship. On July 11th, Sony will add Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addition, Kung Fu Hustle, Legends of the Fall, Stealth, Species, SWAT and Resident Evil Apocalypse to its catalogue.
Interestingly, the first discs have been encoded in MPEG2, a less efficient codec than the MPEG-4 codec used for HD DVD.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Prez Don Eklund says the choice was made because “MPEG-2 offered the best picture quality”. The discs are also 25GB single layer platters, giving them less capacity than the 30GB discs which have appeared for HD DVD. To support its hardware launch, Samsung is dispatching 50 reps charged with educating dealers about HD technology.