HD DVD: Are YOU Accessing Online Content?

Posted by James Segars on December 5, 2007 
Filed Under: Format War, HD DVD, Studios

Assuming you have all of the necessary components (HD DVD player, Web Enabled Disc, High Speed Internet, Spare Ethernet Cable) accessing online content for your HD DVD discs couldn’t be easier, and yet not every consumer is accessing these features. 

The HD DVD promotional group has stated that on average 30% of the HD DVD ownership is accessing the available online features today.  This figure, while somewhat small, is actually quite significant considering online connectivity/interactivity features are still in the early stages of development, and it has been less than half a year since the first online title was released, Blood Diamond. 

With the Holidays on their way, along with a slew of new titles with fresh interactivity features in tow, we figured we would do our part in strengthening the online HD DVD community.  If you would care to do so, please enter your Universal HD DVD ID in the comments below.

We would kindly ask that no comments aside from the User ID information be posted.

If you haven’t registered with Universal yet, you can do so using one of their Web Enabled discs (Heroes, Knocked Up, Evan Almighty), or you can follow this link to their online registration page.  Once signed in, head on over to the "Manage Buddies" page and simply send invites to your newfound friends, or confirm those invitations that have already been sent to you.

Why befriend other HD DVD users?  Well, following the release of Universal’s The Bourne Ultimatum, and The Kingdom users will be able to bookmark their favorite scenes and, for the first time, share them with their friends.  In addition to this new feature, Warner Bros. is slated to debut their brand new community screening feature with Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, which allows users to invite friends to a synchronized screening of the film. 

There are a handful of online features that are already available today, and we’re willing to bet that many more are on the way.  Until then, join the online community of HD DVD users who are already experiencing all of the advanced interactive features today.

Universal’s High Def page, here.

Original PR Newswire story, read.


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17 Responses to “HD DVD: Are YOU Accessing Online Content?”

  1. James Segars on December 5th, 2007 8:05 am

    UHD ID: Segars

  2. Mehar Gill on December 5th, 2007 11:32 am

    I usally accesed it, but im waiting till I get a bigger TV, to fully enjoy the experince, because the text is a bit hard to read on my TV.

  3. paulw on December 5th, 2007 12:42 pm

    I’m still waiting for HD DVD players to sell for under US$850 in the country i live in..

  4. Dave Cowl on December 5th, 2007 1:01 pm

    Since the online feature is the one remaining feature unique to HD DVD currently, I expect we will hear a lot about it moving forward. Personally I find it hard to believe that 30% of HD DVD owners are even connecting their players to the internet, though I guess with these early titles the novelty value would be a good incentive to connect and see what happens… The problem I see with it moving forward is how much time we can spend on each title we buy. Watching PiP commentaries, joining online forums, etc. all takes time. With over 100 HD discs in my collection, the amount of time I can dedicate to each title is barely enough to even watch the movie, let alone join in online activity. Perhaps it will be a boon for certain titles which appeal to teens with lots of spare time or other cultish titles like Anime titles with a strong following. In general though I think that this will end up being something that isn’t a big drawcard.

  5. Chris on December 5th, 2007 9:01 pm

    Well the % that are connected might be increased by people with HD DVD drives (especially Toshiba laptops?)…The only time I ever connected with a DVD was when I put I think one of the star wars discs in my computer. I could be wrong about which disc though, that’s about high up my priority list it is! Are they actually going to offer chat rooms or similar functions? They’ll have to watch out for kids getting in trouble and the studios/CE companies getting sued for it, look how strict places like AOL have to be now…

  6. Devils Advocate on December 6th, 2007 12:05 am

    Im with Dave on this one.  James, I know is surprised, but I will say that I NEVER once in my 8 years of collecting dvds did I ever bother to check out web content.  I doubt Ill check it out on bluray.However, I do have to say that IME is a pretty exciting experience on films like Bourne. See James, I can give HD-DVD credit?   

  7. Dave Cowl on December 6th, 2007 1:30 am

    There certainly are titles that I want to have PiP commentary or making of – just not the majority of them. For the most part I watch deleted scenes and if the film was interesting enough I might watch a making of featurette. For my fave directors I was as much extra content as I can get :D So it definitely varies by title…

  8. James Segars on December 6th, 2007 8:20 am

    I agree with you, DA.  Up until I bought into HD DVD, and picked up Blood Diamond, I had never accessed any online content.  I felt that with DVD it was too cumbersome, to have to pull the disc from the living room DVD player, pop it into my bedroom desktop computer, and access the online content.  It all just seemed like too much of a hassle, and it wasn’t worth the effort.  However, now that they’ve centralized the experience, it’s no more time consuming than it would be to pop on over to the deleted scenes.  Of course, you’ll have to download extra features, but that’s to be expected.  I’m a huge fan of the IME/PiP feature, but like Dave, I don’t think that it belongs on everything, and thankfully it hasn’t been stuffed onto every release to date.  Warner and Universal have done a great job in selecting titles that deserve the PiP treatment, and I think they’ll continue to do so.  I’m pretty excited for the Harry Potter PiP and The Kingdom PiP.  I know you’re not an unreasonable guy, DA, and I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed the PiP on Bourne.  I haven’t yet, as I’m waiting for the trilogy pack from Amazon, but I’m really looking forward to that as well!  I’d venture to say that PiP is one of the best new features that’s being offered on next gen media thus far, but who knows exactly what the future might hold.

  9. James Segars on December 6th, 2007 8:21 am

    Oh, and Chris, the "chat" is going to be invite only, so I’m guessing that will cut down on the flagrant profanity a bit.  Assuming you’re inviting your friends to the screening, I’m guessing you’re not going to be hearing much of anything you hadn’t heard before, hehe.

  10. Joe on December 6th, 2007 9:08 am

    High-Def Digest: Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixHD DVD = 4.5 Stars – Highly RecommendedBlu-ray = 4 Stars – Recommended

  11. Devils Advocate on December 6th, 2007 9:31 am

    For me deleted scenes and making of featurettes are the best extras to have.  To this day, nothing beats the LotR films or the Alien Quadrilogy in terms of extras. Pearl Harbor Vista Series needs to come to blu.  

  12. DS2 on December 6th, 2007 10:09 am

    I did this for the first time for Transformers.  It was pretty cool, I got a series of 6(I think?) lame-ish "home videos" of people encountering various Transformers, but the other thing was an additional "trivia track" similar to the IME, but with different factoids and references.  I only watched about 15 minutes, figuring I’d go back to it later, but it was alright.  Made me interested to do this for other titles, anyway.

  13. Chris on December 6th, 2007 10:16 am

    James, ok, invite only makes it a little better.. unless they’re inviting "friends" from MySpace heh.Anyway, is it possible to listen to the audio commentary track without having the PiP showing? 

  14. James Segars on December 6th, 2007 10:42 am

    Chris, as far as I know, it depends on the way they choose to produce/author the disc contents.  If the PiP commentary runs throughout, and it’s the same as the IME/PiP/U-Control then you should be able to pop on the commentary and skip the PiP altogether.  However, as far as I know, there is not an option to scale or remove the PiP window on command.  U-Control might be the closest to full user control seeing as how you can switch in between the various features at your leisure without pulling up the menu bar.  I don’t think that it would be out of the realm of possibility for the PiP/IME/U-Control features to receive an update that would allow the user to bring up, or send away the video window at any time.  Because the HD DVD hardware uses the secondary video/audio decoders for these features, theoretically you would only need to disable the secondary video decoder, and the PiP commentary audio would remain.  Perhaps this feature already exists, and I’ve never seen it, but to my knowledge it’s not possible at this time.  

  15. Pravin on December 10th, 2007 3:54 am

    The PIP window can be scaled to varying sizes on the fly on Freedom 2 and also moved around to different locations. It’s not worth scaling the PIP on this disc, however, because that material is SD and doesn’t look so great scaled way up.

  16. James Segars on December 10th, 2007 7:52 am

    Thanks Pravin.  I’d totally forgotten about Freedom.  Is that feature exclusive to the second volume, or can it be found on both 1 and 2?

  17. Pravin on December 11th, 2007 2:02 am

    I only have Volume 2, but I bet all of them will be set up the same way.

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