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Disney Taking a Road Trip with Blu-ray

Posted on Wednesday, July 18th, 2007 2:10 AM and updated on Friday, August 17th, 2007 11:26 AM

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USA Today is reporting that Disney will be touring the country and setting up shop in malls to talk about Blu-ray high definition discs and players and clear up what they say is confusion in the marketplace.

Disney's Magical Blu-ray Tour, which will visit 18 malls for three-day runs, aims to change all that.

"There's a lot of consumer confusion out there, and we want to help everyone understand this amazing new technology," says Bob Chapek, president of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

There will be widescreen monitors showing off the technology and more than a dozen stations were people can preview Blu-ray versions of "Cars" and "Meet the Robinsons," which have yet to be released on the format, and play the Liar's Dice game that is included on the Blu-ray version of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."

Here is the list of cities and dates of the tour as of now:

Westfield Topanga, Canoga Park, Calif.Aug. 17-19
South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, Calif.Aug. 24-26
Westfield North County, Escondido, Calif.Aug. 31-Sept. 2
Westfield San Francisco, San FranciscoSept. 7-9
Washington Square, Portland, Ore.Sept. 14-16
Westfield South Center, SeattleSept. 21- 23
Mall of America, Bloomington, Minn.Sept. 28-30
Orland Square, Orland Park, Ill.Oct. 5-7
Westfield West County, St. LouisOct. 12-14
Tysons Corner Center, McLean, Va.Oct. 19-21
Roosevelt Field, Garden City, N.Y.Oct. 26-28
Burlington Mall, Burlington, Mass.Nov. 9-11
King of Prussia, King of Prussia, Pa.Nov. 16-18
Circle Centre, IndianapolisNov. 23-25
Lenox Square, AtlantaNov. 30-Dec. 2
The Galleria, HoustonDec. 7-9
Barton Creek Square, AustinDec. 14-16
Chandler Fashion Center, Chandler, Ariz.Dec. 21-23

Personally, I don't think the marketplace is confused about what high definition is, or that there are disc formats that deliver high definition audio and video. I think they have a right to be confused (and a little upset) about why the studios allowed two formats to be released instead of someone locking everyone in a room until a single format was chosen.

If there is confusion to be had, it's within the Blu-ray ranks themselves. Confusion about why the players are so much more expensive than HD DVD players. Confusion about whether the players will support all the features of the discs they want to purchase. And, perhaps, even some confusion over whether it makes sense to buy a player today that doesn't support the requirements that will be mandated by the end of October 2007. Some might even be confused as to why many Blu-ray players do not have the ability to play the high definition Dolby TrueHD audio format.

It's unfortunate that the Disney road show isn't landing closer to Milwaukee, as I would have plenty of questions for the kind Disney folks. My first one would be, "I have purchased a high definition (HD DVD) disc player, and I've been enjoying lots of movies on it in the past year. Why can't I watch any of your movies on it in HD?"

That said, anything that aims to inform and educate the customer is a good thing, and I applaud Disney for taking the initiative here. Once you experience high definition video and audio, you never want to go back. You want everything you watch to be in HD. That's what makes this format war frustrating (not confusing), and Disney and all the other movie studios need to follow Warner Bros. and Paramount's lead by releaing on both formats and letting us choose which player we want to buy.

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