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Sony Execs Tout Blu-ray Experience, Promise First 3D Release Next Year

19 Nov, 2009 By: Anne Sherber

NEW YORK — Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release its first 3D Blu-ray Disc next year, said Rich Marty, VP of new business development for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Marty and other executives from both the hardware and software sides of the company spoke at “The Blu-ray Experience,” a presentation here on the state of the format.

At the same time, Sony Corp. in Tokyo announced it planned to release 3D TVs next year and the PlayStation 3 game console can become 3D compatible with a firmware upgrade.

Even in these troubled economic times, Blu-ray discs have enjoyed an 85% increase in sales over last year, Marty said, adding that HDTV penetration is now at 50% of U.S. homes and that consumers understand that Blu-ray is a perfect complement to HDTV.

Ninety percent of consumers with Blu-ray playback devices are satisfied with them, and 85% would recommend the format to family and friends, he said.

Tracy Garvin, SVP, worldwide marketing services, said improvements to the format, including BD Live and the inclusion of digital copies on Blu-ray Discs are enhancing the consumer experience. In addition to the high-definition documentaries and the digital copy included on the Blu-ray of District 9, due Dec. 22, the disc also will include the highly anticipated PlayStation game God of War III.

Garvin said Movie IQ is the format’s “killer app.” It allows viewers to access information about the movie, actors, location and more, while they watch the movie. Movie IQ is included on Angels & Demons and on all upcoming catalog titles, Garvin says. She says that on the Dec. 8 release, Julie & Julia, Movie IQ will allow users to bookmark recipes that appear in the movie. A version of Movie IQ for mobile devices is in development and will be announced in 2010, she said.

Chris Fawcett, VP, home audio and video for Sony Electronics, said the hardware side has some new developments as well. For consumers in search of help managing the living room entertainment experience there are two 400-disc Blu-ray disc changers. Both interact with Gracenote, an online database, to organize movies and music. Using an existing Internet broadband service, Gracenote sorts discs in the changer by title, director, cast information, release year and genre information, allowing users to navigate their libraries through the player’s menu bars.

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