Monday, July 7, 2008

Sony Wants to Make Blu-Ray More Interactive

Just in case customers were sure that Blu-ray disc (BD) profile 2.0 was the final one for the format, Sony Corp. said that it would be glad to add further features would add features that will further differentiate Blu-ray from DVD, but which may potentially involve a new profile and hardware changes.

“If we had a dream (for) Blu-ray, it would be much more interactive than it is today: No. 1, where you could interface and change things as you want to see them on the screen. No. 2, you could socially interact with other people, it’s connected through the Internet, but theoretically you and your friend could watch the same movie, and you could change themes, change endings, all sorts of strange things in the future. Some type of social interaction in the future,” said Stan Glasgow, president and chief operating officer of Sony Electronics USA, in an interview with Cnet.

The Blu-ray disc (BD) format features three profiles: 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0. The BD profile 1 only allows to watch movies in high-definition (1920x1080, 1080p) resolution; the BD profile 1.1 supports picture-in-picture function, which allows to watch a 1080p movie while simultaneously listening to director’s comments or see how the particular scene was filmed; the BD profile 2.0 (also known as BD Live) is projected to offer Internet connectivity to allow downloading of additional content as well as Java-based games in addition to some other Java-based features that content providers may enable.

It is unclear whether the additional features will require a new profile, but another hardware change may further slowdown penetration of the format. Still, Sony is relatively optimistic about the progress of the format right now, but the company admits that those customers who are satisfied with DVD will hardly acquire Blu-ray shortly.

“DVD took 10 years to really penetrate. We’re now in the second year of Blu-ray. My guess is it will probably happen a little quicker in terms of penetration. The pricing is already coming down more quickly than DVD came down. The pricing is already coming down more quickly than DVD came down. I don't think it will take as long as 10 years, but I don't think it will penetrate to the same percentage because there's a couple of conflicting forces,” said Mr. Glasgow.

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