Blu-ray disc association, the organization that oversees development of Blu-ray high-definition video disc, demonstrated its BD Live technology at Consumer Electronics Show. With no exact availability timeframe BD Live, or Blu-ray profile 2.0, offers similar capabilities that HD DVD has had from day one: interactive content management features along with support for Internet downloads.
While both Blu-ray disc (BD) and HD DVD offer a lot of storage space for additional content, only HD DVD offered a comprehensible amount of additional interactive and non-interactive features until recent launch of Blu-ray disc players and movies featuring profile 1.1 spec that supports picture-in-picture function. The latter allows to watch a movie while simultaneously listen to director’s comments or the way the particular scene was filmed. Nevertheless, even with PiP Blu-ray could not offer the same functionality as some HD DVDs due to the lack of some other additional features.
The BD Live is projected to close the gap with HD DVD by offering 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.
Both Panasonic and Sony exhibited their BD Live-supporting players at Consumer Electronics Show and some media reports indicate that Panasonic plans to make its DMP-BD50 available as early as in Spring 2008 with pricing just a slightly higher compared to the DMP-BD30, which costs over $400 in the USA.
Unfortunately for owners of first-generation the Blu-ray disc players, the vast majority of such devices may not be firmware upgradeable to Blu-ray profiles 1.1 and 2.0 due to lack of Internet connectivity as well as enough processing power, which means that early adopters of Blu-ray will have to get new players to take advantage of additional features that the forthcoming discs will have.