December 28, 2007 by Marshal Rosenthal
BD-Java is already making its impact felt on popular titles. Take the “Find-the-Car” game in “Cars” which lets you search for cars during the movie and save the results to view at another time. There’s also the Jolly Roger host in “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” who navigates users through animated menus with state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, and Gusteau’s Gourmet Game from “Ratatouille” which is a highly interactive fast paced feature which puts you in the kitchen as the new chef. Examples from Fox includes Trivia games (“Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer”), pop-up Maps (“Master and Commander), and an arcade-style game found on “Live Free or Die Hard.” Davidson says that DVD set top games were clunky and did not have fluid graphics. “Now we can utilize fluid graphics within the bounds of the film,” he says. There’s also picture-in-picture capabilities - such as BonusView found in the upcoming “Sunshine.” While picture-in-picture on DVD was created using seamless branching, now there can be two separate video streams married within the player, allowing for an independent stream that can last as long as the film.
The next “big” thing is something that will bring Blu-ray on par with a feature found on HD DVD: web interactivity. As BD-Live debuts in 2008, you’ll be able to access a network, the Internet and enable web-related features. (Lionsgate announced they will be the first to bring this to market in the early part of the year.) Through the use of BD-Live, in conjunction with BD-Java, such things as online community features, e-commerce, film clubs, movie events, multi-player games as well as access to studio and user-generated content will become possible.
Disney says that BD-Java provides incredible opportunities for enhancement and further innovation in both disc viewing experiences and bonus content. Fox’s Davidson also sees there being a great level of flexibility to BD-Java that will enable Blu-ray content features to grow over the next several years, with many new features that have not been imagined yet. “Fox is focused on expanding the user interface to provide new and compelling experiences where the consumer will interact with a movie to a much larger extent than is seen on any other format today,” Davidson says. “BD-Java will allow Fox to bring this vision to reality.”
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