updated 10:45 am EDT, Mon October 9, 2006
Dual-layer Blu-Ray movies
Although Blu-Ray movies were prepared to launch shortly after the introduction of HD DVD, the novelty of the technology betrayed itself through the discs themselves. Every Blu-Ray movie to date has been stored on single-layer, 25GB discs -- which has often been large enough for the movies themselves at the native 1080p resolution, but rarely enough to include all the special features normally found on regular DVDs or to include them at the same quality as the movie itself.
The situation will improve dramatically on Tuesday when Sony Pictures releases a Blu-Ray version of Adam Sandler's "Click" as the first dual-layer, 50GB Blu-Ray movie. Viewers will not only get every special feature at HD quality but also include raw, uncompressed audio.
Two other movies from Sony, "Black Hawk Down" and "Talladega Nights," are similarly expected to get the improved quality when they release in November and December respectively. "Black Hawk" in particular will mark the introduction of a technology called Blu-Wizard that can create playlists for special features. Outside studios are also planning to ship enhanced movies by the end of the year: Lionsgate's "The Descent" will arrive by the end of October, while "Kingdom of Heaven" from Fox will ship in mid-November. The movies will be ready just as second-generation Blu-Ray players from Panasonic, Philips, and other companies ship to stores.