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Advantages of an Internet Connection on a Blu-ray Player

written by: •edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 9/7/2009

Call it Internet connectivity or BD-Live, but having an Internet connection on a Blu-ray player is very advantageous. But it's not because it competes with a computer- the real value lies in how a Blu-ray disc can now become more than just something to watch once and then forget.

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    Why an internet connection on a Blu-ray player?

    Anybody who remembers the early days of the Internet knows that for all the excitement and wonder of going online, the pain of trying to get your computer to sync up with that modem was horrendous. Of course today pretty much anything that can connect to the Internet does - and easily too. But the question that seems to be overlooked is “why?” Is there a reason that a device needs to be connected to the Internet, and how does that enhance its use?

    Well in the case of a Blu-ray player, pretty much the answer is yes to both. There’s five advantages and they all involve how the player syncs in with the disc to become more than just an hour and a half diversion.

    Sony BDP-S560 Blu-ray player 

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    1) Ignoring the manufacturing deadline

    It’s not only that the disc is “locked” once the content is placed on it, but there’s the entire process of physically making and packaging the disc before getting it to the store (and you). This necessitates a timeline that can’t be sidestepped. So if, for instance, there’s a panel of the stars of Starship Troopers on the 19th, but the disc has to be on the shelves by the 3rd - that used to be too bad. But by building in hooks in the disc and planning for things like this, that panel discussion can be streamed or downloaded to the Blu-ray player for viewing.

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    2) Clever content

    Being Internet enabled allows for the studios to create varied and clever content that would not otherwise be possible. Examples include having your uploaded digital photo “pasted” onto a character’s face during a scene that is being played or unlocking a special feature that merges content on the disc with that coming from online. Of course there’s also online games and contests and the ability to download (and buy) title-related materials, such as ringtones and wallpapers, but it’s the long-form content that can keep you coming back to that disc, rather than leaving it gathering dust on a shelf.

    Starship Troopers 

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    3) Updates for staying informed of your favorite films

    Movie studios love nothing more than building a franchise. For that to happen successfully, they need to keep fans in the loop as to new developments. Which they can do every time a disc gets inserted in the BD player.

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    4) Embracing social networking

    That disc-based features relating to the Internet are given priority over just going online makes sense - after all, the purpose is to add value to the disc. But social networking and community is also important and so many of the movie studios are building technologies to facilitate this into their Blu-ray disc - letting you participate in them while the disc is in the player. Examples are online forums devoted to the title or genre, being able to directly “chat” with others (whether they’re viewing the title as you are or not), including those on smart phones and computers, and being able to share videos clips from the disc or even uploading original personal videos to a server for all to view. These and other opportunities provide for a participation by the viewers that otherwise wouldn't be possible.

    Sleeping Beauty chat 

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    5) Taking on the dreaded digital download

    A lot continues to be made about how digital downloads will render the physical disc immaterial - but even if high-resolution coming from a network could be as stable as coming off a disc, going on the Internet is like Dodge City, where anything and everything can be had. That can’t compete with the interactivity and content that can join movie studios and viewers, or viewers and other like-minded folks, because the online aspect is being targeted. That’s the real advantage of the Blu-ray player’s internet connection.