DVD Pioneer Hansen to Bring Blu-Ray Movie Creation to Home Users, Indies

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DVD and HD pioneer Erick Hansen plans to take Hi-Def movie creation and disc distribution out of the hands of the major media companies and give it to individuals, small businesses and independent filmmakers. His company, Blue Ray Technologies, will offer Blu-Ray disc duplication and distribution in quantities small enough to enable anyone to share their High Definition content with small groups or the world.

DVD and HD pioneer Erick Hansen plans to take Hi-Def disc creation out of the hands of the major media companies and give it to individuals, small businesses and independent filmmakers. His company, Blue Ray Technologies, will offer Blu-Ray disc duplication and distribution in quantities small enough to enable anyone to share their High Definition content with small groups or the world.

"You no longer have to be a major company to create in Hi-Def and distribute via Blu-Ray discs. We plan to put the power of the hands of the individual," said Hansen. "That's what's driven the success of every true technological revolution in history, including the Internet itself."

Much of the technology for average Joe's to create and distribute Hi-Def content will become apparent at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, he noted.

Hansen, considered by many to be a visionary with his seminal work with the first DVD movies and now with Blu-Ray, also said recent developments have made the much-ballyhooed format war between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD a thing of the past. "The format wars are over," he said. "With compatibility chips that allow machines to read either format, and discs that can be written in either, this competition will fizzle."

He added, "There was a slow start but Blu-Ray came on strong. Sony has announced there will be one million Blu-Ray households in America due to its PS3 machine, a figure HD-DVD can't touch. Finally, disc manufacturers have come up with Blu-Ray disc that can hold 250 gigabytes. It's like, War? It wasn't even a skirmish."

Hansen plans to provide not only manufacturing but other key services as well. For the independent film market, he will not only manufacture, but help distribute, market and in some cases, even help fund those with catalogs and new Blu-Ray titles. "Prior to this, only the big studios could release their films in Hi-Def," Hansen said.

"Hi-def disks and the next generation of technology isn't a game for the big studios only," said Hansen. "The majors and indies alike are seeing a decline DVD sales growth and know they need a new platform for both their new releases and catalog titles. The difference is that until now, indies were shut out of the tech-intensive market."

Individuals and small companies looking to share Hi-Def content with everyone will not be left out of the loop either. Hansen will master and duplicate Blu-Ray content in quantities as small as 100 discs, allowing for limited distribution of Hi-Def home, music and corporate videos for the first time.

That is especially significant as USA Today notes there are 33 million Hi-Def Television households at present. That number will rise to 70 million over the next four years covering 61% of the U.S. Televiosn households, JupiterResearch predicts.

Blu-Ray penetration has a long way to grow, but there are few alternatives to sharing homegrown Hi-Def movies. HD videocams are plentiful and relatively inexpensive, but distribution is tricky. As for the internet, DSL modems like the ones in most homes take forever to download a regular movie, much less a hi-definition one that is two or three times the size. Plus there is the consideration of getting it from the computer to the big screen in the living room.

Furthermore, Valencia, California based Blue Ray Technologies will do all its manufacturing in the United States, while the majors are primarily using overseas plants. "We want to bring technology manufacturing jobs back to United States soil," stated Hansen.

Hansen is not alone in seeing a future where everyone can be a digital filmmaker with most every function of a movie studio on their home computer. "I'm happy to just help with what George Lucas called digital's destiny to 'democratize the entire system of making and distributing movies.'"

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JEFFREY JOLSON
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