Home Theater Forum Treated to Blu-ray Demos23 Oct, 2008 By: Chris Tribbey
Every major studio opened its doors to members of Home Theater Forum (HTF) Oct. 19-24, showing off BD Live features, answering questions and touting upcoming releases. When members weren’t getting insights on the latest Blu-ray Discs, they were enjoying tours or attending tapings of “Real Time with Bill Maher” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
“All the studios embraced our visit, and we got to see a lot of BD Live materials,” HTF founder Ron Epstein said. “For many of the attendees it’s a fantasy come true for everybody who has never been to a studio.”
- Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment demoed the “Living Menu” for Sleeping Beauty, and touted the upcoming BD Live features for Tinker Bell and Wall-E. The studio previewed the gaming feature “Axiom Arcade” from Wall-E, as well as a “Circle Vision” option for the Blu-ray of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, which offers new ways to view the movie, including a 360-degree, behind-the-scenes option. More than a dozen BD Live features will be available, Disney told the HTF, and the studio will offer streaming and downloadable content as well.
- At Universal Studios Home Entertainment members explored the Blu-ray bonus features The Incredible Hulk, including a BD Live online chat feature and a U-Control behind-the-scenes option.
- At Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Forum members got the first glimpse at new BD Live special features for Step Brothers, the first look at Sony’s first interactive picture-in-picture Blu-ray Disc and the first North American viewing of Resident Evil: Degeneration.
Forum members got a look at a hot-off-the-presses BD Live feature, which takes video clips of Step Brothers stars Will Farrell and John C. Reilly dancing on a boat with two women, flashing money and drinking champagne, and allows BD Live users to mix the clips to a rap song called “Boats ‘N Hoes.” Finished videos can then be uploaded to the BD Live network and ranked by other BD Live users.
- After breakfast and a tour at Paramount Studios, HTF members were greeted by actor Ben Stiller before a screening of the director’s cut of Tropic Thunder. Afterwards, instead of a simple Q & A with HTF members, Meagan Burrows, president of domestic home entertainment for Paramount Pictures, and other Paramount studio brass, answered questions about Blu-ray Disc over lunch. HTF members asked about chatting with BD Live, digital copies and audio tracks for Blu-ray.
The Home Theater Forum group was slated to visit Fox, Panasonic Hollywood Labs and Warner Bros. later in the week.
It wasn’t just the studios that welcomed the Forum:
- At the Microsoft Zune Lounge in Los Angeles, group members got a demo of the Windows Media Center, which moves content throughout a home, and also controls room lighting and security alarms. Group members also were treated to a touchscreen table called “The Surface,” which recognizes hand gestures.
- At Pioneer, Forum members got an audio and video demo that featured six flat-panel TVs, a Pioneer HT receiver and a Blu-ray player. Pioneer pitted its Kuro plasma against brands from three other companies in a side-by-side comparison, and previewed the first few minutes from the upcoming Blu-ray picture of The Dark Knight.
Home Theater Forum’s Patrick Sun and Justin Sluss contributed to this report.