Criterion Answers Blu-ray Questions

Criterion is poised to enter the Blu-ray playing field this November and has issued a small FAQ based on inquiries from their die hard fans about what to expect from the initial offerings.

The first wave includes The Third Man on November 18 and Bottle Rocket, Chungking Express and The Last Emperor on November 25. We’ve added all four titles to our Blu-ray Future Releases section.

Are Criterion’s Blu-ray discs region-encoded?
Yes. Criterion is licensed to sell most of its editions only in North America.

Why should I buy regular DVDs when I don’t know if Criterion will release a Blu-ray version six months from now?
If you love these films, keep buying DVDs. It is going to be quite a while before the Blu-ray marketplace can support many of the titles Criterion releases on DVD. For new releases, if we think a title has a shot of succeeding on Blu-ray, we aim to put out both editions at the same time, so you can make an informed choice. Where classics from our catalog are concerned, to give you a little extra comfort we’ll be offering a $20 Blu-ray upgrade program for customers who have already bought the equivalent edition on DVD. You send us the movie disc from your DVD edition, and for $20 (plus tax and shipping) we’ll exchange it for the Blu-ray version, simple as that. For more on how this works, click here.*

What is the packaging going to look like?
Our Blu-ray packaging will be similar to our DVD packaging, only in the smaller Blu-ray size. As with DVDs, we’ll use a range of paper and plastic packaging, and we’ll bring the same care and attention to the design. Where we’re upgrading an existing release, the design will match right down to the disc labels, so if you want to take advantage of the $20 Blu-ray upgrade program, your replacement disc will fit right into the design of your existing Criterion DVD edition. In the store, if you want to be sure you’re buying the Blu-ray edition and not the standard-def DVD version, you’ll know it by the smaller size and the blue Blu-ray sticker on the front.

Will there be spine numbers?
Spine numbers on our Blu-ray discs will match the existing DVD editions. Our Blu-ray releases represent a significant upgrade when it comes to audiovisual quality, and many of our customers will want to take advantage of that, but we’re not starting over at number 1, and we’re not expecting our longstanding DVD collectors to do so either. Where content is concerned, we aren’t planning on publishing anything on our Blu-ray editions that won’t also be available on DVD. Whether you collect only DVDs or only Blu-ray discs or a mix, it’s all part of your Criterion collection—and they’ll all line up in spine-number order.

What will Criterion Blu-ray discs cost?
Criterion’s Blu-ray editions will generally be priced to match our DVDs. It makes sense to us: High-definition mastering and restoration has been a part of our DVD production standard for years. And for our customers who might be on the fence about whether to buy DVD or Blu-ray, we thought the best thing we could do was take price out of the equation.

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