Site History

The Digital Bits began as an online newsletter in April of 1997, when site editor Bill Hunt discovered that there was a tremendous un-met need for accurate information about the DVD format among both consumers and individuals within the industry. Demand for the newsletter quickly grew, so The Digital Bits website was officially launched on December 15, 1997. The result has been steady, continued growth ever since.

The Digital Bits is regarded by industry professionals as a leading source of reliable DVD information, and is currently the oldest remaining, continuously operating DVD information website on the Internet. The Bits is widely read within the major Hollywood studios and equipment manufacturers, and its readership includes hundreds of thousands of DVD consumers from around the world. The site and its editors were instrumental in the effort to oppose the Divx pay-per-view disc format (an early and now-defunct competitor to regular DVD), giving early adopters the very first published look at the technology. The Bits aggressively worked to promote DVD's anamorphic widescreen capabilities, championed a combined online effort to promote a single, united high-definition DVD format, and is now working to help bring about an end to the on-going high-def format war by supporting Blu-ray Disc, which has become the most widely supported of the two competing HD formats in Hollywood, in both the CE and computer industries, and with consumers overall.

The Digital Bits: Insider's Guide to DVD In October of 2003, site editors Bill Hunt and Todd Doogan released The Digital Bits: Insider's Guide to DVD in conjunction with publisher McGraw Hill. The 432-page book is designed to serve both as a beginner's guide to the DVD format, as well as a handy reference book for more experienced fans of the format. It explains the DVD format and all its features in simple and easy to understand terms, including such seemingly bewildering topics as film aspect ratios, surround sound and anamorphic widescreen. The book tells you how to build a good home theater on a budget, provides background on the history of the format and even looks ahead at the future of DVD technology. It also takes you "behind the scenes" on the making of 20th Century Fox's 9-disc Alien Quadrilogy, to show you just how much work really goes into the production of a DVD special edition. Finally, the book offers reviews of more than 100 of the best DVD special editions ever released.

The Digital Bits: Insider's Guide to DVD has been well reviewed by both critics and consumers alike, and was ranked in Amazon's top 100 sales chart within a week of its debut.

The Digital Bits has been referenced in such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post , Fortune, Wired, the USA Today and others, and has been profiled in the industry trade Video Store (now Home Media Retailing). In addition, the site has been quoted on G4's Attack of the Show, as well as CNN, ZDTV, MSNBC, ZDNet, TechWeb, in national ad campaigns from 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks, and by thousands of other newspapers and online sites. The Digital Bits was chosen as one of the Top 5 DVD sites in 1999 by E! Online. It ranks at the top of Yahoo's list of leading DVD websites, has been recommended by Project Cool and WebStar's Six Pack to Go, and was voted a Number One site in the Internet Top 100. The site was also recommended by PC World magazine as one of 50 Really Useful Websites for Really Busy People.



Entertainment Weekly has also named The Digital Bits one of their 25 Favorite Online Entertainment Sites for 2006, alongside such other Internet faves as Ain't It Cool News, the IMDB and The Onion! The publication has posted their picks online, and you'll find them in the June 23rd 2006 print issue as well (see pages 38-40). By lucky chance, it's the Superman Returns issue, so lots of folks are sure to read it. We're certainly honored by this! It's nice to know that after TEN years of covering movies on disc, we're still holding on to our relevance and street cred.

In addition to official studio DVD news and reviews, the site regularly publishes in-depth articles and interviews with industry insiders, including such leading film directors as David Fincher, William Friedkin, John Landis and Baz Luhrmann, providing Bits readers with an invaluable, behind-the-scenes look at the DVD format. The site's Rumor Mill section allows consumers to stay in touch with the latest developments, and gives them a reliable look at titles in production for DVD release in the months ahead.

The Bits also runs an extremely popular monthly Trivia Contest, giving readers the opportunity to win DVD players, movies and other prizes. The Digital Bits' own Bitsy Awards are highly regarded within the industry. And the site's scope has recently been expanded to cover the latest developments in high-resolution audio (DVD-Audio, Super Audio CD & DualDisc) and particularly the new HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc high-definition video formats.

The editorial staff of The Digital Bits is key to the site's success. Editors Bill Hunt and Todd Doogan are well known within the industry for their work on The Bits, as well as their regular GeekBits column in Geek Monthly (and past work in such publications as Widescreen Review, Home Media Retailing and Computer Power User magazines). They've helped to bring several films to DVD, including Synapse's Six Days in Roswell and Triumph of the Will, and 20th Century Fox's Alien. Both Hunt and Doogan have served as judges for numerous industry awards, and they host an annual Digital Bits sponsored DVD Producers Panel event at San Diego Comic-Con, which is one of the largest gatherings of genre movie fans in the world. Hunt has also addressed the DVD Video Group on format-related subjects, and has hosted or participated in numerous industry panels on DVD and the high-definition formats. Regular Bits columnist Adam Jahnke is well known for his work with Troma, and has written two books for Troma's Lloyd Kauffman including Make Your Own Damn Movie! and The Toxic Avenger: The Novel. Another frequent Bits columnist, Barrie Maxwell, is a widely-regarded expert on classic Hollywood cinema. What's more, regular Bits columnist Robert A. Harris is one of the leading film preservation experts in the world, having personally restored such classics as Lawrence of Arabia, Vertigo and many others.

 

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Adam Jahnke

The Twin Peaks Blu-ray set is one of the most beautifully packaged home video sets I have ever seen.

by Adam Jahnke