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Company Bows Technology Linking Blu-ray with iPhone, iPod

10 Apr, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel


Blu-ray has won the format war for the living room. Now, an Alexandria, Va.-based technology firm has introduced software it claims allows users to watch a Blu-ray movie on an Apple iPhone or iPod.

NetBlender said its “BD Touch” software expands on BD Live by linking a Blu-ray player, including Sony's PlayStation 3 game system, with the WiFi connection on the iPhone to create interactive functionality.

As a result, an iPhone or iPod can work as a remote control giving users the ability to interact with a Blu-ray movie, including special features, bonus material, GPS tracking, trivia and games.

BD Touch allows for the transfer of video, audio, text and player commands to iPhone or iPod.

The technology also allows playback of a digital copy of a Blu-ray movie on the portable devices. To date, several studios have included digital files on select standard DVD releases.

Lionsgate May 27 will include a digital file with the standard Blu-ray (and DVD) release of Rambo, which is playable on an iPod.

20th Century Home Entertainment was to first to release a Blu-ray Disc with a digital copy with its March 11 release of Hitman.

In January, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment became the first studio to include an iTunes compatible digital copy with the DVD release Family Guy Presents: Blue Harvest. The studio said it will include digital copies on all future special-edition DVD releases.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, which last week bowed its first Blu-ray title with BD Live functionality, is said to be working on a digital file for playback on the PS3.

Denny Breitenfeld, chief technology officer with NetBlender, said the company is not officially working with Apple but that it is working within the user and license agreements Apple established for third-party vendors.

“I can't officially comment on our relationship with Apple,” Breitenfeld said. He said the technology was separate from what Sony was developing.

He said BD Touch has also been incorporated in the company's commercially available Blu-ray Disc authoring software, DoStudio.

Richard Doherty, media analyst with The Envisioneering Group, said the concept has great market potential once the Blu-ray Disc Association and studios come aboard.“I'm not aware of there being a managed copy of a BD movie available anywhere,” Doherty said.

He said the idea makes sense in a mobile society increasingly running out of time for things.

“Convenience, not content, is king right now,” Doherty said. “If you were an American Airlines passenger this week, you had lots of time — at the airport. This is going in the right direction.”

A Blu-ray Disc Association representative was not immediately available for comment.

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