Given the choice between buying a physical DVD and grabbing a downloadable iTunes version of the same movie, you might choose what’s behind door #2 for convenience, iPod playability and speed; that is, if you’re willing to wait it out while the DVD-only window ticks away. Up until now it’s been about 30-45 days post-DVD release, with a few exceptions, before the iTunes version showed up. With a report from the NY Times yesterday that Warner Brothers was moving to “day-and-date” digital release, simultaneous with the disc ship, we expected to hear something from Apple promptly, and we have.

Is Netflix coming to the 360? That kinda-bizarre but when you think about it kinda-sensible idea comes courtesy of Reuters, who reports that Netflix Inc has surveyed its subscribers to gauge their interest in streaming movies to their televisions using the 360.

Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey wouldn’t say whether the survey indicates a soon-to-be announced partnership, but said Netflix was interested in getting its movies to consumers’ TVs “in as many ways as possible.”

A report by Macrovision says that only 5% of video downloaders ever watch their new content on a television and that only 10% even have a desire to do so. The study surveyed 2,254 adults in the US last December and…wait! 2,254 people? Can this really be a representative sample? Seems a little low.

Common sense indicates that because of annoying DRM and a gap in technical knowledge (let’s face it, the average Joe doesn’t even know how to take a download and get it to his TV,) hardly anyone does this and people aren’t losing sleep over it. Display technology between TVs and computer monitors is starting to all bleed into one industry, so apart from the quality of the initial download, there shouldn’t be a measurable difference in the picture or sound.

Good news for you PlayStation 3 owners/movie-lovers. Sony announced today that system software update v.2.20, for the PS3, planned for release in late March, will add Blu-ray DiscProfile 2.0 functionality to the machine. That means downloadable video content, ringtones, games, and other good things.

The system software update will also enable photo and music playlists on a PS3 to be copied to a PSP, as well as other new features. Click the cut for the official list of features and press release.

Interactive Movies Come to Life on PLAYSTATION®3 with System Software Update Version 2.20

Well, what do you know? TiVo’s delivering as promised with this one, as Desktop Plus 2.6 is indeed going live in March — just like we were told back in January (and nary a week after TiVo promised YouTube access later this year). Truth be told, there’s not a whole lot here that you didn’t already get a taste of in our hands-on at CES, but here’s the skinny. As of today, TiVo users can grab hold of the latest version of Desktop (Windows only, we’re afraid) and “enjoy a broad range of web entertainment available directly from their TV.” More specifically, these customers “can choose web videos downloaded on the home PC using web browsers, RSS video clients such as iTunes podcasts, or other video download software to automatically copy to their TiVo DVR’s Now Playing List alongside recorded broadcast and cable TV shows.” In case you couldn’t tell, Desktop Plus 2.6 can be downloaded today for a one-time fee of $24.95, but consider that waived if you’re upgrading from an earlier version.

Best Buy is following Future Shop, Circuit City and others in reaching out to casualties of the format war. In this case, anyone who bought an HD DVD player from Best Buy before February 23, 2008 can request a complimentary $50 gift card for each player. For those too traumatized to even look at their discontinued hardware and software, Best Buy also announced it’s adding HD DVD players and media to its Trade-In Center program, starting March 21. No word on how much a player can net you, but once it’s updated, check BestBuyTradeIn.com to get an estimate and decide how much holding onto the past is worth.

TOKYO (AP) — Pioneer Corp. will stop making plasma display panels in an effort to turn around its money-losing business, the Japanese electronics maker said Friday.

Pioneer plans to procure the panels, used in flat-panel TVs, from another company. It said it was in talks with Japanese rival Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which makes Panasonic products, to purchase plasma display panels.

Pioneer used to be one of the leading developers of the technology but has fallen behind bigger companies like Matsushita and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc.

DreamWorks Animation said yesterday it still had an exclusive deal with Toshiba to distribute its movies on HD DVD, and until Toshiba gave it the go-ahead, it would not begin offering movies in Blu-ray reports Beta News.

DreamWorks’ and Paramount’s exclusivity with HD DVD was scheduled to last until February 2009, and violating that agreement — even with Toshiba ending production of HD DVD players — could affect any payment the studios were slated to receive.

DreamWorks will be releasing “Bee Movie” in March on HD DVD.

Sony has just announced their first line of Profile 2 Blu-Ray players, the BDP-S350 and BDP-S550. The Profile 2 players will be the first stand alone Blu-Ray players by Sony to feature web coonectivity and compatibility with external storage devices.

These features are already present in Sony’s Playstation 3 models, but were until now unavailable in a stand alone Blu-Ray player. The S350 is scheduled for release in the summer while the S550 will not be out until this fall. IGN notes an interesting tidbit: The features recently adopted by Sony for their stand alone Blu-Ray players were present in most HD-DVD players at launch. We’re not trying to make a statement. Just sayin’.

Toshiba may have lost the HD wars and conceded defeat by announcing it would give up producing HD DVD hardware products after its loss to the Blue-ray format, but the company is far from being outed from the hi-tech biz.

In a press release Toshiba stated it will move forward, onward and upward in its continuing march to “lead innovation, in a wide range of technologies that will drive mass market access to high definition content. These include high capacity NAND flash memory, small form factor hard disk drives, next generation CPUs, visual processing, and wireless and encryption technologies. [We] expect to make forthcoming announcements around strategic progress in these convergence technologies.”

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