With Blu-ray having won the “high definition format war” last spring, and Criterion now finally starting to put out their Blu-ray releases, there has been discussion whether it makes any sense to buy the current Kurosawa DVD releases from the company. After all, it seems fairly obvious that Criterion will sooner or later release these films as superior Blu-ray discs.
For those suffering sleepless nights over this issue, there is now something of a remedy available. This comes in the form of Criterion’s FAQ, for an answer to a recent question added to the list notes that they are now running what they call the “Blu-ray upgrade program”. In short, you can swap your old DVD release with a new Blu-ray release by sending in the disc and 20 US dollars (plus tax and shipping). They will then send you the Blu-ray disc. You won’t get the Blu-ray packaging, but this should not be an issue since the packaging for releases will be identical.
Note, however, that the program is only available for those in North America. And, of course, that no Kurosawa release on Blu-ray has yet been announced.
For more information about Criterion’s Blu-ray upgrade program, see their FAQ, more specifically the question Why should I buy regular DVDs when I don’t know if Criterion will release a Blu-ray version six months from now? and the questions that follow it.
27 August 2008
While it largely done to protect Criterion’s sales, it’s still are rather nice gesture. Criterion more or less is admitting a Hi-Def version to a old film is not all that great, but for the sake of future proofing, here’s a upgrade for cheap.
What is a surprise, is they claim to have the rights for most of their movies to do Blu-ray editions, however they still warn you only movies they deem will be successful on Blu-Ray are to be done.
Leads me to believe not to expect any Kurosawa Blu-rays or any older movies on Blu-ray for a long time.
I get the feeling they will deal with movies that can take full advantage of a Hi-Def format- I’d say movies done on high grade film during the late 70s at the earliest. Not to say some older movies couldn’t benefit.
Never-the-less another great reason to love the folks at Criterion. 😆