Icon Film Distribution has kindly sent me another of its Blu-ray discs, the movie In Bruges. I’m pretty keen on watching this one since it scores a solid 8.1 on IMDB with 55,000+ votes. The disc is, like Miss Potter, encoded at 1080i50 rather than 1080p24, so it runs four or five minutes shorter than its original cinema timing. It shall also challenge most Blu-ray players. Now that I’ve been testing with Miss Potter, it has become clear that few players do a good job with this format.
Speaking of Miss Potter, she seems to be causing some US purchasers some headaches. On the Amazon.com product page there are, as I write, four customer reviews. The most recent one is from me warning that the disc may not play in some US Blu-ray players, despite it being all region, because of the 1080i50 encoding. As to the other reviews, here are some excerpts:
BUYER BEWARE!! This is the first Blu-ray disc which is supposed to play in regions A,B, and C, but it did not play on either one of my SONY Blu-ray players which have up to date firmwares. I believe the problem is that the standard and Hi-def content was encoded at 25 frames per second which is considered PAL, and will NOT play on U.S. Blu-ray players….
I have a regular DVD copy of it which, I suppose, will have to suffice, because my Blu-ray copy will not play on my Sony Blu-ray player. I even updated the firmware as suggested, but it did not help. I wish Amazon would post a disclaimer to this fact so that others will be spared the inconvenience of having to return unplayable copies. I have purchased many Blu-ray discs over the past six months, and this is the first one that I’ve had a problem with.
This release will not play on Sony PS3 (region A) DVD players.
Not only does Amazon fail to warn that the disc may not work in some US Blu-ray players, it incorrectly lists the format as NTSC. It also lists as ‘Studio’ a company which has explicitly told me that it does not import this disc to the US, yet when I tried to do an ‘Update Product Info’, my suggestion was robotically declined.
I’m still trying to find out from Icon why it has chosen this format for (now) at least two of its movies.
UPDATE (Friday, 13 February 2009, 5:57 pm): Icon also sent me Disaster Movie, which scores a dire 1.5 on IMDB, putting it at #17 in the bottom 100 movies of all time. I suspect that it will slide up a little from there, as it did produce the odd chuckle here and there. The video on this one is excellent 1080p24 … except for the copyright notice at the start, which is 1080i50. The ‘Icon’ logo at the start is 1080p24, but the main menu is 1080i50. All the little featurettes are also 1080i50.
Still, it’s Region B, so Americans won’t have to wrestle with it (as is In Bruges).