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Mind-blowing Blu-ray with BD 2.0? Maybe.

by March 10, 2008
Profile 2.0 to offer mind-blowing features?

Profile 2.0 to offer mind-blowing features?

Recently a report came out on NewsFactor.com which covered a very interesting presentation given by James Gosling at the Sun Tech Day in Sydney. Gosling is the "father" of the Java scripting language and is somewhat of an expert on what it can do. What makes this an interesting topic is the fact that Blu-ray's specification includes mandatory Java scripting support (BD-J or BD-Java). Java is what is used to provide the interactive menus on Blu-ray Discs. The inclusion of a Java Virtual Machine as well as network connectivity in BD Profile 2.0 (BD-Live) devices will allow updates to Blu-ray Discs via the Internet - updates which can add features and additional menu content not included on the disc at pressing time.

Tech note: BD-J and is a subset of the Globally Executable MHP (GEM) standard, the world-wide version of the Multimedia Home Platform standard.

So what do some analysts believe about Blu-ray and the post-war battle that now rages between manufacturers?

"Now the real battle begins between Sony and Panasonic and Pioneer and Sharp and all the player makers to make their players richer," said Richard Doherty, an analyst at Envisioneering Group. "How many consumers would like to be able to chat with family members in different cities over the Internet while they watch Ratatouille the week it comes out?"

Um... three? No, Six. I believe there are at least six people in the continental United States who would love to schedule watching a movie in unison with friends and family while discussing it online. This would be a perfect of example of putting the "Could we do it?" question in front of the ever-important "Should we do it?" question. While chatting online during a movie sounds great - it is more likely to be used by regionally-based church groups than the average consumer.

My only problem with the sycophantic nature of some of these articles is their insistence that the new BD-J implementations are going to be "mind-blowing". Mind-blowing? Innovative, perhaps, but what will be mind-blowing is if the high definition disc market beats HD downloads to critical mass. That would be truly mind-blowing as it ushers in a new era of HD media over subscription and other fee-based solutions.

Now, what does this have to do with Blu-ray's upcoming Profile 2.0 (BD-Live) system? Lots, actually. The new Profile adds a lot more local storage (1GB in fact) as well as an Ethernet port for Internet connectivity. Now, combine Internet connectivity with a robust Java scripting language on which the menu system is based... Lots of doors and windows open up for the format.

So that's it - the world is Blu-ray's oyster, right? Well, yes and no. While the possibilities are near-endless, the business model of getting movies to market on time makes for an interesting dichotomy. On one hand you have the capabilities of Java-enhanced applications, and on the other you have the added time, costs and risk. What we'll likely see is a myriad of new application development to "see what sticks." Once the consumers settle on applications they actually want to use, then the new wave of features will become more mainstream. At this point a new Java-rich feature could help to sell discs, or end up costing studios hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted development time.

The upside is that any applications which create new paradigms of viewing trends will tend to stick around, and subsequent adaptation by later titles to the new system may not be nearly as time-involved as the initial application development.

One scenario, pointed out by Richard Doherty, an analyst at Envisioneering Group struck me as something that could stick. He expressed a possible website by someone like children's TV activist Peggy Charren could offer a Java site that passes over the most gory scenes of movies for children under 12. This actually sounds like a great idea to me, and one that could be made universal by a company to enable a relatively small amount of application development to have a farther-reaching impact on how families watch movies.

My favorite "could-have-been-cool-had-it-been-done-right" interactive show format was Star Trek 2.0, which wrapped the original series with a live chat window and allowed users to comment on the show while stats automatically ticked off alongside the episode content. While it seems this would almost certainly be a successful implementation for disc media, Star Trek 2.0 got canned in 2007 and is no longer on the air. The additional difficulty with this structure for films, is that the volume of use becomes much lower over time due to the lower replayability of movies (as opposed to video game software titles which work well with spontaneous online interaction even years after initial release).

So is BD-Java going to revolutionize the way we interact with movies? Definitely maybe, perhaps. The potential is certainly there and we'll be right along with everyone else rooting for our favorite features when they come out. One thing is for sure, however: While we may run into a really cool one-off early on, it's likely to be a long, slow and bumpy road before we get to anything truly revolutionary and "mind-blowing" that changes how we watch disc-based movies.

 

About the author:
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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Recent Forum Posts:

allargon posts on March 13, 2008 11:04
Reorx, post: 386705
So, is Blu-ray using Javascripting or Java Programming?

From what I've programmed in person, heard from friends, read online…Java Programming sucks. If you Google ‘java sucks’ you find 190k links.

So what makes BD-Java so different?

BD-J is real Java not Javascript. That's why it's so slow on everything but the PS3. Anyone who remembers the late 90's remembers how sloooooooooow client-side Java can be. I don't think it's the full implementation or even the full client-side runtime implementation just a subset of the embedded device version.

Here's the requisite Wikipedia link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BD-J
bigbangtheory posts on March 13, 2008 10:57
autoboy, post: 386353
Sorry, I still just want the movie to just start.

Amen to that. It's funny how when HT just started to become in vogue, it was supposed to be a movie-like experience at home. Now with BD 2.0 features on the way, the HT experience is more akin to surfing the web than it is sitting in a movie theater.

Are we the consumers really asking for this? If so, can some of you stop asking, I really just want to watch the movie I just bought!
HookedOnSound posts on March 11, 2008 18:09
For their needs not ours…

If they upload Commercials into players I'm gonna freak!!!

I've started to notice alot of DVDs that don't let you bypass commercials so I can bet where this is going….updates? yeah right…
Reorx posts on March 11, 2008 13:29
swestbom, post: 386489
Please don't confuse the Java programming language with Javascript. Java bears no relation to the Javascript language used on the web other than the word Java within Javascript. Java is a nice network aware programming language, Javascript is a POC hack language that is a necessary evil for interactive web development that just won't go away, just like most of the crappy stuff for web programming that we are stuck with such as HTML and CSS (I use this stuff every day but I don't have to like it).
So, is Blu-ray using Javascripting or Java Programming?

From what I've programmed in person, heard from friends, read online…Java Programming sucks. If you Google ‘java sucks’ you find 190k links.

So what makes BD-Java so different?
swestbom posts on March 10, 2008 22:32
admin, post: 386277
Recently a report came out on NewsFactor.com which covered a very interesting presentation given by James Gosling at the Sun Tech Day in Sydney. Gosling is the “father” of the Java scripting language and is somewhat of an expert on what it can do. What makes this an interesting topic is the fact that Blu-ray's specification includes mandatory Java scripting support (BD-J or BD-Java). Java is what is used to provide the interactive menus on Blu-ray Discs. The inclusion of a Java Virtual Machine as well as network connectivity in BD Profile 2.0 (BD-Live) devices will allow updates to Blu-ray Discs via the Internet - updates which can add features and additional menu content not included on the disc at pressing time.


Discuss “Mind-blowing Blu-ray with BD 2.0? Maybe.” here. Read the article.

Please don't confuse the Java programming language with Javascript. Java bears no relation to the Javascript language used on the web other than the word Java within Javascript. Java is a nice network aware programming language, Javascript is a POC hack language that is a necessary evil for interactive web development that just won't go away, just like most of the crappy stuff for web programming that we are stuck with such as HTML and CSS (I use this stuff every day but I don't have to like it).
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