News: Disney optimizes home high-definition

Beauty and the Beast movie scene

Disney's Beauty and the Beast makes its high-definition debut on Oct. 5.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment plans to help consumers get the most out of their high-definition equipment. On Nov. 2, the studio will release the Disney WOW World of Wonder Disc, a guide consumers can follow to optimally set up their high-definition home entertainment systems.

The WOW disc will be available on Blu-ray and DVD, but only Blu-ray provides high-definition audio and video.

The release comes at a time when high-definition is no longer the newest format, although it is still not the largest home entertainment format used by consumers. DVD is still most popular, but Blu-ray 3D is being launched as the next generation of home entertainment. Both Warner Home Video and Universal Studios Home Entertainment will release the first Blu-ray 3D titles day and date with DVD and Blu-ray this year, with Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore on Nov. 16 and Despicable Me on Dec. 14.

According to Disney, the high-definition guide WOW disc has been designed to meet or exceed the Digital Reference Standard for the best home theater presentation.

Classic Disney character Goofy is featured in the teaching of the basics of high-definition and home theater on the discs, which also come packaged with an illustrated handbook.

The instructions on the WOW disc include 35 audio/video calibration and evaluation tools for beginners, advanced and expert home theater enthusiasts, according to Disney. The instructions include clips from such popular Disney titles as Toy Story, Up, Bolt and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.

Among the tools on the WOW disc will be:

  • Pixel Flipper, which attempts to stop burn-in or stuck pixels on screens
  • Viewing Angle Diagnostic, which helps determine viewing angle on the screen
  • Video Encoder Stress Trest, which is designed to push the limits of a professional video encoding system, and consumers can compare their results with the WOW Benchmark Reference
  • Direct Access, a control that allows experienced users to bypass the regular menus and go to a list of the A/V tools.

Plus, the instructions are applicable to everything from flat-panel displays and OLED screens to projection equipment and CRT-based TV sets, not to mention sound formats ranging from stereo to 7.1 channel surround.

The WOW disc will be sold in various configurations. By itself, the WOW disc will be priced at $29.99 on DVD and $34.99 on Blu-ray.

WOW also will be available packaged with the exclusive disc Visions: Inspired By Nature, featuring natural and digitally created landscapes with original music scores. The set will be priced at $34.99 on DVD and $39.99 on Blu-ray.

The WOW discs also will be available in the following bundles, pricing yet to be determined:

  • Disney Home Theater Value Pack with the WOW DVD or Blu-ray and an HDMI cable
  • Disney Home Theater Starter Pack with the WOW DVD or Blu-ray, a Disney movie on DVD or Blu-ray and an HDMI cable.

Disney has a number of movies being released on DVD and Blu-ray this year, including The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Fantasia/Fantasia 2000, Beauty and the Beast and Toy Story 3.

About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.