Adoption of Blu-ray Disk (BD) technology is advancing quickly. The first $150 BD player may arrive by Thanksgiving, and BD title sales in the United States are expected to soar to $1 billion in 2008, a 588 percent increase over 2007.

Consumers purchasing these newer players will notice they all come with an Ethernet port. An increasing number of players come with Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) support, and some even come with streaming players. (Samsung’s BD-P2500 can stream movies from Netflix.)

Ethernet is a feature of previous BD players, but newer players offer BD-Live (also known as BD Profile 2.0), which supports downloadable complimentary content via the Internet available on a small but growing list of BD-Live movie titles.
Static to dynamic BD-Live is an example of taking a static technology and turning it into something more dynamic. Some of the initial drivers for BD-Live include the ability offer:

• Collaborative viewing
• Interactive
• Annotated
• Audio sharing
• Dynamic content insertion

In these cases, the Internet can round out the available content and features of BDs nicely, perhaps to the point where the disk merely becomes a storage vehicle for the high bandwidth content while the BD-Live feature allows the disk to point to more exciting downloadable content that lights up once the disk is loaded.

Technically, BD-Live leverages Blu-ray’s mandatory scripting support (BD-J and BD-Java) used to drive interactive menus on Blu-ray disks along with an Internet connection to obtain updates which can add features and additional menu content not included on the disk at pressing time.

Interestingly, BD-J is a subset of Globally Executable MHP (GEM), which is the foundation for the cable industry’s tru2way platform.

With the similarities between BD and tru2way, it seems conceivable that future DVRs or possibly even set-top boxes will be able to save content (with imbedded BD-Live or equivalent content) to blank Blu-ray disks for personal uses. Such disks could contain features such as targeted advertising avails along with previously recorded ads for instances where the BD player isn’t connected to the Internet.

It is also conceivable that due to this fairly broad consensus around using GEM among interactive video options, that recent holdouts like Verizon may adopt something that is also based on GEM and will be in some way compatible with BD-Live for cases when users want to save their recorded content on a BD.

– Bruce Bahlmann

Read more news and analysis on Communications Technology‘s Web site at www.cable360.net/ct/news/.

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