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Say Hi To Blu
Most apps that work with hardware are geared for particular device. pocket BLU is different in that while it works with a Blu-ray player, the Blu-ray discs it interfaces with are each unique. Of course they all share the “pocket BLU” technology which, for now anyway, is a property found only on specific Universal Studios Home Entertainment Blu-ray titles. But what pocket BLU does provides a glimpse at the kind of future we all want - full control of our entertainment using an iPod Touch (or iPhone too, btw) from the palm of our hand that doesn’t require a computer to be anywhere near what is going on.
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So What IS Going On?
It's not often that an app is easier to use than understand, but here goes. Universal Studios Home Entertainment has created technology which they call "pocket BLU" and which works through the BD-Live function found on Blu-ray discs and those Blu-ray players with a connection that can go onto the Internet (which is pretty much all third+ generations now). You insert a Blu-ray disc with pocket BLU capability, turn on the Blu-ray player and then watch the movie, etc. Where it gets good is when you launch the pocket BLU app. The app connects to the Blu-ray player over your home network - providing that you have a wireless network in place - and offers a number of features, such as a remote control to handle the movie without using the Blu-ray player's remote (I can never find the right keys in the dark anyway) and a graphical timeline once the iPod Touch is turned horizontal that can let you quickly access any part of the film. Chat and registration also get a leg up, thanks for the onscreen keyboard and your dancing fingers.
Another feature of value is that added content becomes available through the app that you can stream to watch right on the iPod Touch - the list includes those titles where this can occur and I imagine that updating happens over time to keep the list current. Of course you do have to have the Blu-ray disc of the title in order to do this - there's no freebies until you get to the next section.
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What's New for BLU
Sensibly, the pocket BLU app is being updated to include more than just tweaks of what it can already do. This includes features geared for "social" use, such as rating and posting comments about the film or bonus content to Facebook, being able to view upcoming information about upcoming movies and review songs from the movie's soundtrack album and then buy them on iTunes (surprise!). There's even information relating to the parts you're looking at when using the Timeline.
Being able to control the Blu-ray player from the couch may be just the start of what the iPod Touch and a Blu-ray app can do, but it's a great start. One worth getting a wireless adapter for the Blu-ray player so that you can start using it.