Universal Takes Blu-ray and iPhone Interactivity to the Next Level


Unviversal Studios Home Entertainment just dropped a press release in our mailbox that we’d like to share with you. It becomes increasingly relevant as I prepare several articles on the Blu-ray format for later this afternoon — including my long awaited This Week in Blu-ray column, which is frighteningly overdue.

iphone-bdAlas, the news today is that Universal is adding a very cool set of new features to their Blu-ray releases — namely Bruno, Funny People, 9, American Pie Presents: The Book of Love, Public Enemies and Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. These new Blu-ray features will integrate applications for the iPhone and iPod, as well as a newly redesigned BD-Live center that will deliver a new and improved connected experience. It’s enough to have me itching to pop in the Bruno Blu-ray copy that is currently sitting on my desk, waiting to be reviewed.

For all of the details, please see the official press release below:

Universal City, California, November 10, 2009 – Delivering on its promise to provide consumers an ever more immersive, dynamic and interactive Blu-ray™ experience, Universal Studios Home Entertainment (USHE) announced today the launch of an array of enhanced iPhone and iPod touch-enabled features and social web-based offerings with the release of upcoming titles Bruno, Funny People, 9, American Pie Presents: The Book of Love, Public Enemies, and Inglourious Basterds all available this holiday season. These innovations include the pocket BLU™ app, which offers iPhone and iPod users touch further enhancements to the Blu-ray experience, and social BLU™, which offers Blu-ray™ users more ways to interact with their Facebook and Twitter networks through an Internet-connected Blu-ray player. Additionally, USHE will unveil an all-new redesign of its BD-Live Center on Funny People, which makes the dynamic content on the multimedia portal easier to access, more engaging, and easier to use. On future releases, Universal will deliver even more innovative, exciting features based on these platforms, making Blu-ray™ discs more simple, fun, and sharable than ever before.

“These new features represent the latest step in Universal’s continuing effort to deliver an extraordinary home entertainment experience to consumers,” said Craig Kornblau, President of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. “By bridging Blu-ray’s vast capabilities with the Internet, iPhone, iPod touch and some of the hugely popular social networking platforms, we are effectively taking the Blu-ray experience to the next level, offering consumers the opportunity to easily integrate their favorite films into those activities and devices that have become part of their everyday lifestyle.”

pocket BLU™ app

USHE’s groundbreaking pocket BLU app makes its debut this holiday season for the iPhone and iPod touch on the Blu-ray editions of Bruno (November 17), Funny People (November 24), Public Enemies (December 8), Inglourious Basterds (December 15), American Pie Presents: The Book of Love (December 22) and 9 (December 29). The app uses the device’s Wi-Fi connection to work seamlessly with a network-connected Blu-rayTM player and offers the following advanced features:

  • Advanced Remote Control: A sleek, elegant new way to operate your Blu-ray™ player. Users can navigate through menus, playback and BD-Live™ functions with ease.
  • Video Timeline: By turning the phone to landscape mode, users will bring up the video timeline, allowing them to instantly access any point in the movie.
  • Mobile-To-Go: Users can unlock a selection of exclusive bonus content with their Blu-ray™ discs to save to their device or to stream from anywhere there’s a Wi-Fi network, enabling them to enjoy exclusive content on the go, anytime, anywhere.
  • Browse Titles: Users will have access to a complete list of pocket BLU™-enabled titles available and coming to Blu-ray™ Hi-Def. They can view free previews and see what additional content is available to unlock on their device.
  • Pop-Up Keyboard: Enter data into a Blu-ray player with this easy and intuitive keyboard that will facilitate such Blu-ray™ features as chatting with friends and sending messages.

pocket BLU TM is an extendable platform that will allow Universal Studios Home Entertainment to introduce even more new and groundbreaking mobile features on additional devices and platforms in the very near future.  The pocket BLU TM app is available for free from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch at

social BLU

The American Pie Presents: The Book of Love release also will mark the integration of Blu-ray content and social networking applications. This newly developed interactive technology allows users to easily sign on with their Facebook and Twitter login information and enjoy a variety of connected Blu-ray features with their friends.  Users can control status updates from their Blu-ray player, the website, or within pocketBlu.

As part of the newly developed interactive social BLU technology, users can update their Facebook and Twitter profile statuses via BD-Live. With the click of a button, users can rate the movie, send messages and on future releases will be able to share film-related user generated content with their friends via their social networking pages. social BLU opens up an entire world of social networking possibilities.

BD-Live Center Update

The newly redesigned Universal BD-Live Center as seen first on Funny People will offer an easy, fun and interactive experience directly from an Internet-connected Blu-ray player. By clicking on “What’s New,” users can check out the latest releases coming to Blu-ray and theaters, along with exciting BD-Live features.  Additionally, when they visit the new “Content Center,” users will intuitively find their favorite previews, trailers and more. Meanwhile, the previously-launched ticker and video rotation automatically bring updated content directly to the viewer.  Login and registration aren’t required unless the user wants to access select community features, so browsing BD-Live is easier than ever. Best of all, everything is designed for simple, one-click navigation, making BD-Live perfectly optimized for surfing content with a remote control.

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

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