BD Live is the Flavour of the Day

Posted by Dave Cowl on January 7, 2008 
Filed Under: Authoring, Blu-ray, Format War

blu.thumbnail.jpgAt both the Sony booth and the BDA booth at CES today we were shown BD Live presentations and demonstrations on real ‘live’ systems.

Firstly, and possibly the best news for many, it was very clear that the primary BD Live device currently is the Playstation 3. The firmware development for BD Live has been underway for some time and all of the demonstrations today were presented using PS3 platforms. There was no official word on when it will be available, but it was described as ‘almost ready’. And we hope it will at least be in time for Saw IV on January 22nd.

The Sony presentation featured Leonard Maltin hosting Dean Devlin of Godzilla fame, as well as studio execs Sony, Fox and Lionsgate on hand to present their specific BD Live incarnations.

Delvin and Sony presented two features based around Godzilla. The first was a free downloadable Roar or Growl Godzilla ringtone. If you have Verizon or Sprint service, you should be able to get a copy for your phone at the Sony booth.

The second feature they demonstrated was the ability to access a server and download a PSP targeted encode of a movie you have bought on Blu-ray and transfer it to the PSP memory stick for portable playback. Perhaps this signals the end of the UMD movie disc?

An interesting comment that Dean Devlin made about the upcoming Godzilla release is that most of the theatrical release prints were not colour timed correctly, and that this release will be the first time most will see the film as intended (the DVD doesn’t count apparently). 

Fox was on hand to demonstrate the BD Live game they have created for AVP. You can choose to play as Alien, Predator or Marine and can paste you own face into the icon that represents you in the game. You can play simultaneously with a buddy synchronously, and compare scores. Like many games you build experience, earn new weapons,etc. But the interesting part is that the game play takes place during the movie playback, with certain opportunities arising from time to time to attack the aliens, predators and humans. You can save your character and use it again for further movies in the given franchise.

Fox also mentioned the ability to access new information about the movie, take part in special live chat events with film makers and get new content or behind the scenes footage associated with the movie, and to be able to store these on the player for repeated enjoyment. Here’s hoping the storage capacity of the players is sufficient!

Lionsgate presented the MOLOG feature which will be available on Saw IV. The disc comes with text commentary from the director and as you watch the movie you can make your own text commentary which can also be shared with other users. I can see for franchises like the Saw franchise, this kind of thing could be very popular. I wonder how long it will be before you can do your own video commentary like Mystery Science Theater 3000 and post that as PiP content for others to ‘enjoy’…

The Sony presentation ended with a download of a video comment from Will Smith encouraging us to go see Hancock in July, followed by the movie trailer – which looked like a lot of fun.

At the BDA booth there were further demonstrations. As well as the AVP game, a company called RCDB was showing a system called Blu-ray Magic that is going to be made available to the studios where you can browse current and future Blu-ray releases over BD Live that are related in various ways to the disc you are currently viewing. The system can also store a list of the titles you own and will also allow free downloads of new trailers and extra content related to the titles you own.

Thomson was demonstrating a trivia game where you can watch content simultaneously with other connected users and answer questions where the first correct answer wins the point.

It is interesting to see some of these implementations of BD Live and talking to these developers it is clear that they have only scratched the surface of what BD-J and BD Live can do.

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