Why Does it Cost $300 to Buy Avatar on 3D Blu-ray?

via Gizmodo by Jason Chen on 12/21/10

Why Does it Cost 0 to Buy Avatar on 3D Blu-ray?

Who’s buying 3DTVs and 3D Blu-ray players? People who watched 3D movies in theaters, then want to re-live the experience at home. So why are the top movies, like Avatar and Coraline only available as bundles with hardware? What’s the deal?

It’s a matter of greed. Home theater 3D is still a crawling infant, meaning most of the population still needs to buy hardware. But what’s the differentiating factor between Samsung’s 3D set and Panasonic’s, or even Sony’s, if you’re a Costco shopper? How can normal people tell the difference between any Blu-ray player that’s not the PlayStation 3? It’s pretty much impossible, which is why companies’ ads don’t rely on specs or saying their version does 3D better.

But what they are relying on right now is taking movies hostage in order to force people’s hands. Don’t believe me? Check this out.

Avatar, the most wanted 3D movie of all time, is only available in a $300 “starter bundle” from Panasonic that includes two rechargeable 3D glasses. How to Train Your Dragon is in a “starter kit” from Samsung for $280, which includes two 3D active shutter glasses. What happens if you already have one type of TV and just want the other type of movie? Looks like you get two pair of glasses that you can’t use on your set.

There’s also Shrek and Monsters vs. Aliens, which your kids will ask you for, because they’re kids, and they want to see their movies in 3D. Because they’re kids. Kids who don’t know the value of $300.

Why Does it Cost 0 to Buy Avatar on 3D Blu-ray?

So what if you go on eBay and try to get some scalped Avatar action? Oh hello, I’m out $150 for a $30 movie. Thanks jerks!

It gets worse. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Coraline are only available if you buy a Panasonic 3DTV. A TeeVee! And Bolt, which I’m sure is a fine dog movie in the realm of dog movies, is only gettable with Sony TVs. Same with Michael Jackson’s This Is It.

Retailers are also getting in on the exclusivity. My Bloody Valentine and The Last Airbender are Best Buy exclusives, whereas Amazon has some IMAX movies locked down. This, of course, is much less of a big deal, because Best Buy’s movies work just fine on any player.

The good news is that some of these seem to be timed exclusives. Alice in Wonderland was the same $300ish dollars if you bought the pack, but is now available for separate purchase. And there are a number of less desirable (apparently?) titles like Resident Evil, The Polar Express, Step Up 3D and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs that the manufacturers didn’t think would entice anybody to spend $300 on.

Point being, manufacturers seem to have their heads up each other’s asses on this one. If you want people to get on board your 3D train, don’t make content for it so hard to get! Imagine the scenario where you could only watch NBC’s 3D channel if you had a Samsung TV, then had to get a separate set entirely for ABC’s 3D content. Who’s going to throw down a couple thousand dollars for that scheme?

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US Navy’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System launches first fighter jet

via Engadget by Donald Melanson on 12/21/10

For more than 50 years, the on-ramp to the highway to the danger zone was a steam catapult that launched fighter jets from an aircraft carrier, but it looks like that could soon be set to change. The U.S. Navy just announced yesterday that its Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, or EMALS, has passed a key test by launching a manned F/A-18E Super Hornet for the first time (several more successful launches then followed). Among other advantages, that system promises to allow the Navy to launch a wider range of aircraft from a carrier — including everything from lightweight unmanned aircraft to heavy strike fighters — and do so while also bringing “substantial improvements” to weight, maintenance, and efficiency. Head on past the break for the official announcement (sorry no video).

Update: We spoke too soon, video is now after the break! You’ll have to supply your own Kenny Loggins soundtrack, though.

[Thanks, Fionn]

Motorola has an LTE phone for Verizon in the works

via Engadget by Chris Ziegler on 12/21/10


Verizon’s chief operating officer John Stratton mentioned today that “LTE smartphones are on the horizon,” a sentiment the carrier has been echoing since it launched its 4G network earlier this month. That alone isn’t new, but what is new is the mention of Moto in the same breath: “Motorola will be right there.” He wouldn’t go into specifics about models, specs, release dates, or prices, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the offering looked a little like the Tegra 2-powered device codenamed Olympus (pictured) — allegedly for AT&T — that we’ve seen floating around recently. For what it’s worth, we’re also aware of models from HTC and LG in the pipe, so by all accounts, Big Red is planning on coming out with guns blazing when it rolls out 4G handsets next year.

Brando’s SATA HDD dock makes the obligatory leap to USB 3.0

via Engadget by Darren Murph on 12/21/10

It had to happen at some point, so why not now? After a startling — almost terrifying — year-long gap between Brando SATA HDD docks, the company is finally outing another. For those who’ve been camped out under the nearest boulder for the past few years, these external HDD docks allow users to plug any 2.5- or 3.5-inch SATA hard drive in, and then have said drive mount on the desktop of a connected computer. It’s pretty handy for those running diagnostic tests or looking to clone a drive without a dedicated machine, and now it’s taken the expected leap to USB 3.0 — a move that rival Sharkoon made back in 2009. You’ll also find a trifecta of SuperSpeed USB ports on the rear, though this gem will set you back a full $140 if you buy in today. Yikes.

NCC-1701 Pizza Cutter – Star Trek

via Gizmodo by Jason Chen on 9/21/10

NCC-1701 Pizza Cutter

Mozzarella: The Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Pizza-Prize. Its ten-second mission: to divide strange new pies, to cut new slices and new portions, to boldly separate where no cutter has gone before. *Cue music* [Think Geek]

NASA adds turbojets and rockets to its railgun scramjet launcher

via DVICE Atom Feed by Evan Ackerman on 12/20/10

Does more engines equal more awesome? You bet it does. NASA’s latest concept for their satellite launching system is getting fleshed out with some extra sources of thrust.

NASA wants to be able to do away with inefficient rockets and launch satellites into orbit using a scramjet spacecraft fired out of a railgun. A system like this is actually realistic in the near future, seeing as both high powered railguns and scramjet aircraft have been successfully tested.

As NASA starts seriously considering how exactly the launching system would work, we’re getting more details about just what would be involved, and it looks like there are some thrust gaps that would need to be filled with more conventional technology.

The initial launch is based on a railgun. The vehicle would be fired down a two mile long track using 180 megawatts of electricity, propelling it to Mach 1.5 in about 60 seconds. That’s a lot of acceleration, but not enough to turn a human into a pancake. Mach 1.5 (about 1,100 miles per hour) is fast, but not fast enough for a scramjet to function, so the vehicle would fire up a high speed turbojet just before it lifts off from the track to boost itself to Mach 4.

At Mach 4, the turbojet shuts down and the scramjet kicks in, accelerating the vehicle to Mach 10 at 200,000 feet. At that altitude, there’s not enough atmosphere left for the air-breathing scramjet to work, so the final piece of the system is a regular old rocket. The scramjet/turbojet vehicle drops away, leaving an upper stage of sorts behind, which uses rockets mounted in its tail to make it the final distance into orbit as the lower stage re-engages its turbojet to fly back to base. After delivering its payload, the upper stage glides back like the space shuttle, and both stages can be ready to go again in 24 hours.

So when is all this going to happen? Well, the technology is basically here, we just have to figure out how to scale it up. As NASA puts it, “we have all the ingredients, now we just have to figure out how to bake the cake.” It’ll be more than billion dollars or so worth of cake by the time it’s finished, but just imagine how tasty it’ll be when it’s all done.

Via Popular Science