Disney plans online gaming, chatting and video sharing on Blu-ray

Posted by Mark Raby

Los Angeles (CA) - Disney has revealed details on the kind of features it plans to incorporate in the next generation of Blu-ray Discs.  A new technology known as "BD Live" will open up Internet connectivity options and other advanced features, of which Disney is apparently poised to take advantage.

To date, confirmed BD Live capabilities have been picture-in-picture video features, online polls and downloadable content.  Those are all features that the now-defunct HD DVD format had from day one.  But now Disney is expanding that technology to new horizons.

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BD Live was announced at this year's Consumer Electronics Show

According to a report from USA Today, Disney's upcoming Blu-ray release of Sleeping Beauty will have some special features not seen in any high-def disc yet.  For example, the disc will connect to the Internet to allow users to send instant messages to each other during the movie.

Additionally, it will allow users to send custom video messages to others with a feature called "movie mail."  Also, the movie's main menu screen will feature a virtual castle with dynamic backgrounds that change to reflect the real-life weather conditions in the city where the viewer is.

One more advanced feature will be online gaming.  Users will be able to play trivia games online with other Blu-ray Disc owners, offering digital prizes like ringtones to the winners.

"We pulled out all the stops in launching this technology," said Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment president Bob Chapek to USA Today, adding that Sleeping Beauty "will revolutionize the way people will interact with and view movies in the home."

Disney has been previewing its Blu-ray release of Sleeping Beauty (along with a day-and-date re-release of the classic on DVD) on home video releases for months.  It will be the first pre-1990 animated Disney feature to make its way to the high-def format.

The two-disc Blu-ray edition of Sleeping Beauty is slated for an October 7 release with a retail price of around $35.