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Blu-ray Group Touts Interactivity

7 Jan, 2008 By: Stephanie Prange

Sony hosted a press event at its booth today during the Consumer Electronics Show touting new interactive features being incorporated into the Blu-ray Disc format.

BD Live features will allow consumers to play games, hear live commentary and even create their own avatars to insert into a film, among other networking activities.

Sony's VP of advanced technologies Don Eklund demonstrated downloading a low-res movie on a Blu-ray Disc to the PlayStation Portable through the PlayStation 3. He also demonstrated sending a ring tone to a phone through a connected Blu-ray Disc.

The event came on the heels of Warner Home Video's recent announcement that it will release its films exclusively on Blu-ray.

“The evidence is growing at a rather rapid rate that Blu-ray is dominating the field,” said critic Leonard Maltin, who hosted the event.

He interviewed producer Dean Devlin about the benefits of digital filmmaking and Blu-ray. Devlin noted that Godzilla had only two Technicolor prints; thus, the majority of moviegoers saw it in a less-than-perfect state on film.

“Now, with Blu-ray, for the first time people will be able to see it the way it was meant to be seen,” he said.

Devlin also praised the interactivity options on the new high-def format.

“It's just going to expand that universe so much more,” he said.

“[A film] is no longer frozen in time,” Maltin added.

Later Monday evening, at a Blu-ray Disc press conference, the four Blu-ray-only studio presidents were joined by a fifth member: Warner Home Video president Ron Sanders. All the presidents predict a swift end to the format war and said it is incumbent for them to refocus their energy on educating consumers about high-def media.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment's Danny Kaye predicted that in 2008, consumer spending on Blu-ray Disc software will hit $1 billion, and an estimated 10 million Blu-ray playback devices, including PlayStation 3 consoles, will be in U.S. homes.

Speakers at the Blu-ray event also said that while Blu-ray awareness among consumers was 26% at the end of 2006, it's now at 80%.

In response to a question from a member of the audience about whether Warner had been paid by Blu-ray to drop its support for HD DVD, Sanders chuckled and said, “I wish.”

“Any payment would just be a drop compared to getting it wrong in the consumer marketplace,” Sanders said.

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