As one enters the Las Vegas Convention Center South Hall, you are greeted by the sights and sounds of various vendors pushing, what they claim, to be the next big hit. One booth, however, stood out from the rest. It could have been the huge 103" LCD displaying various clips from Blu-ray films, or possibly the large replica of the Black Pearl from the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' films, but the booth was absolutely swarmed with people looking for the latest information about the successor to DVD.
At the very front of the Blu-ray Disc Association display is a revised version of what many of you have seen while visiting Disney's Magical Blu-ray Tour. A huge LCD monitor displayed clips from recent Blu-ray releases as show attendees crowded around the presentation. Just like the mall tour, a representative guided viewers through the basics of Blu-ray, but even with a completely different demographic, all were enthralled by what they heard and saw.
The Blu-ray Disc Association, which was designed by Disney, was a very elaborate display involving themes from popular Blu-ray films. As you can see from the last photo, during the show it was packed.
I spoke with John Grantham who most of you will remember as the bald guy who ran the show. He commented how well the tour had been going so far, and his excitement to get back on the road and present Blu-ray to the eight additional cities recently announced. I asked him if the presentation would be changed at all due to the recent Warner announcement, and he said it would not. In its current incarnation, the tour was inspiring consumers go out and purchase equipment, even so far as trying to purchase players from tour representatives.
Behind the presentation area were many displaying showing recent and upcoming innovations in Blu-ray. The main focus of the BDA was to showcase BD-Live, and that focus was not lost when designing the booth layout.
Fox was displaying a BD-Live game for the film 'Alien vs Predator' called, "Alien vs Predator vs You". Using a webcam, PC, and Blu-ray BD-Live player, the user captures a picture of their face. This image in then morphed into either an alien, predator, or marine, depending on which character the viewer chooses. Next, the viewer must select which weapons and abilities they want before they enter the game.
Fox was showing off their Alien vs Predator vs You BD-Live game at the BDA booth during the show. The unique game allows viewers to play across the Internet.
After connecting with the server, two players enter into a scene from the actual movie. A pop-up screen shows the face, name, score, and health, along with weapon choices, and even data regarding their opponent. Following the guide, the players must use their weapons and abilities correctly in order to score points and stay alive. When the scene ends, the player with the most points wins.
Another big presence at the booth was Panasonic, who was showing off their DMP-BD30 and DMP-BD50 Blu-ray players, as well as their SC-BD1000 Blu-ray HTIB. Shown for the first time in the US is the Panasonic Blu-ray car system, which they had feeding two displays. The high definition 7" display was noticeably sharper and more colorful when compared to the standard definition display next to it.
Also shown was Panasonic's slim Blu-ray PC drive which will read at 2x and write BD-25s at 2x and BD-50s at 1x. A Panasonic laptop was also on display, though the drive was sold as OEM and there are no current plans to offer a Blu-ray laptop at this time.
The surprise of the show might have been Technicolor who were showing their FACTory Trivia Game. The service, which would be offered at the same time as disc authoring, is a web-based trivia track game. When the disc is inserted, one of many trivia games is downloaded to the player. In Network mode, the viewer is able to challenge up to 3 other players in real-time with score keeping and global stats. The content owners can, at any time, change the trivia questions or monitor activity.
The FACTory Trivia Game was a great example of how BD-Live titles might be authored in the future. Technicolor's product provides a simple way to enhance the Blu-ray experience.
Expanding on what was shown, the representative noted how studios could provide trailers for upcoming films and provide surveys after viewing to gauge consumer reaction. Depending on the results, they could alter the trailer to better suit their needs. Everything was running real-time on a PS3 with BD-Live firmware.
ArcSoft was showing off their Blu-ray PC software option with BD Magic option. When a disc is entered into your system (either PC or standalone), the program memorizes your library and then makes suggestions based on a remote database. For example, if you entered in the 'Independence Day' Blu-ray disc, you may get a message asking you if you want to download the new 'Hancock' trailer. Or if you enter in a Spider-man DVD, you would see the option to view the Blu-ray trailer.
BD Magic shows one of the many things possible with BD-Live; Many companies were showing off their players at the BDA booth.
On the player front, we saw Bonus view players from Samsung (BD-P1500), Philips (BDP7200) and Funai (Sylvania NB500SL9). All three players intend to battle in the entry level Blu-ray player market, with Funai claiming the lead with their sub-$300 player. More information about these players will be reported as we make our rounds to the various booths.
Other manufacturers were displaying their current Blu-ray products, showing their continued support for Blu-ray. While nothing notable was shown by these companies, but it was great to hear about the amazing success they were having with the products and how excited they were about Blu-ray.
last year I was there and didn't even know it. we were in the aladdin with some friends and my needed the restroom so we wandered until we found one and there were all these signs with onkyo, denon, and all these other audio companies. so of course I snuck in. I was in heaven for 10 minutes until my wife called me. wish I could be out there this year.
That's what I suspected, the BD-Live patch for PS3 is technically ready, but for it to hit mainstream they have to create on line services and content first.
Might also have to wait a little bit to let the CE makers catch up and not burry them with an already 2.0 PS3 (along with the Sony Sapphire models).
So far, except for the WB anouncement that was before CES instead of after, my 08 predictions are correct
oh if paramount follows warner than its all over, because then dreamworks would follow it, and since apperently HD-DVD and universal have no contract then universal would switch because they would not want to be the only one with HD-DVD. THAT WOULD BE SWEET. anyways thanks for the pics and coverage, looking nice.