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What is BD-Live?

written by: Tolga BALCI•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 2/26/2010

Blue Ray devices offer far more than incredibly clear visuals and audio, and not only the bonus content that you may think of first. Additional features such as interactivity, and additional down-loadable content come to us courtesy of BD-Live.

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    Blu-ray Discs and Their Capacity

    Blu-ray Logo 25 Gigabytes is a huge storage space. You may be thinking that there are already terabyte hard drives are in the market, but if you consider that all this space is for just one thing- the movie - you'll see my point. Let’s do the math together: 1 hour of full HD video takes about 11.25 Gigabytes of space. If you have a single-sided (single layer) Blu Disc, you will have 23.28 Gigabytes. Let’s say that the movie is 90 minutes. It will have 16.87 Gigabytes of size on disc, and you still have 23.28 - 16.87 = 6.41 Gigabytes available. Stuff 20 minutes of HD bonus content (such as "behind the scenes" and "the making of") and it will take 11.25 * 20 / 60 = 3.75 Gigabytes. So we still have 6.41 - 3.75 = 2.66 Gigabytes available. Now, think about a double-layer Blu Disc, which has 50 Gigabytes of capacity. What will you do?

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    BD-Live?

    BD-live The answer is pretty simple: you put more content in it. It need not be more behind the scenes, but it can easily be something dependent on your Internet connection, secondary or overlay content in a picture-in-picture (PIP), online interactivity, access to additional local storage, exclusive downloadable content, trivia games to play with other people watching the same movie, or all these together and possibly more advanced interactivity that that they haven't thought of yet. And all these advanced technologies come with the Blu-ray Disc Live feature, also known as BD-Live.

    Image courtesy of Blubutton.

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    I Want These Features, and I Want Them Now!

    Of course you do. So do we all. But there are always prerequisites, which in the BD-Live case, are two:

    1. Your Blu-ray player must support BD Live
    2. You need a broadband Internet connection with high bandwidth
    Please note that item number 1 is the most important part because the BD-Live feature is optional in all Blu-ray players. If you already have a Blu-ray player, check to see if it supports BD-Live, either built-in or by firmware update. If you are going to make a purchase, insist on seeing proof that the device supports BD-Live. And here's a Bright Hub tip: ask for the profile version. If it is 2.0 and if the product has Internet connection capability, it means that it supports BD-Live. BD-Live depends on Blu-ray Java (BD-J for short). BD-J is required for all the features I have listed under the “BD-Live?" section except the Internet connection. Basically, the equation is BD-J + Internet Connection = BD-Live. According to the Blu-ray Disc Association, the BD-J feature was made mandatory for all the devices as of October 31, 2007. BD-J is becoming the de facto standard for the interactive TV as well, thanks to the Sony Playstation 3, which is the showcase product of the BD-Live players.