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Continuing the march into the new era of home video, Warner Bros. will be releasing its first Blu-ray title to contain Internet-enabled BD-Live content with next week's release of The Dark Knight.
BD-Live is a feature available on the Blu-ray high definition format that makes it possible for movie studios to provide network-enabled content, such as live chats, extra videos and interactive features, and more.
In this particular case, Warner Bros. has included the following BD-Live features on the Blu-ray for The Dark Knight, which is being released on December 9, 2008 (descriptions provided by Warner Bros.):
- Community screenings with friends
Users will be able to host their own Live Community Screening with their buddy list or the entire Warner Bros. BD-Live community. Fans and friends across the country can send invitations for screenings at a specified time and chat with each other as the movie plays.
- Record and post your own movie commentary
Post user-generated Picture-in-Picture commentary right over the film then share it with friends or the entire Warner Bros. BD-Live Community. Using a web-camera, users can record their own comments and play them back as a Picture-in-Picture feature over the film scene they have chosen. Users can then post the commentary on BD-Live, share it with whom they select and receive a rating on their videos.
- Additional Dark Knight content
(including, but not limited to) Two motion comics, one created as a bridge between the story of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and one created about The Joker, and an exclusive look a the premiere of The Dark Knight in New York City.
- Sneak peeks and trailers of upcoming Warner Bros. movies
- Create a wish list of upcoming releases
- Visit the Warner Bros. store
Additionally, a select number of fans will be able to interact with director Christopher Nolan. I believe this is being done by registering your disc, so don't delay when you get your copy!
While I am speculative on the appeal of community-based screenings, I'm open to the idea that it may appeal to a different demographic group than mine, and the Twitter set likes to chat and share their opinions at every turn. As more people have Blu-ray players and PC's in their homes, this kind of connectivity may become commonplace.
The "additional Dark Knight content" bullet point will be interesting to follow, because most studios tend to ignore their releases once the initial release excitement dies down. I have some HD DVD titles that have had network-enabled connectivity for more than a year (possibly two) and a few BD-Live Blu-ray titles as well, and there isn't any more content available than there was on release day.
I'd like to see the studios keep this content up to date and throw us movie fans a bone once in a while. For example, when a related movie is opening in theaters and/or on home video, I'd like to see some information about that release if I look through the BD-Live content on that disc. Doing so rewards those who purchase the disc instead of just renting it from Netflix, and I would think that reason alone would be incentive for the studios to revisit their online supplements on a regular basis.
Of course, none of this BD-Live content is going to be viewable if you don't have a BD-Live capable player and a network connection out to the Internet. This is why I've been saying for a long time that no Blu-ray player without BD-Live was worth buying. The good news is that the most popular Blu-ray player sold to date, the Sony PlayStation 3, is BD-Live capable, and it's still the king of the hill when it comes to speed and overall features.
The current slate of players from Samsung, Sony, and Panasonic are all BD-Live capable, so if you're buying one of the latest models, you'll be able to view BD-Live content on this disc and others as well.
All that said, The Dark Knight is one of the best movies of 2008, and this disc is a must-own for any fan of the movie! I'll be reviewing the disc soon, and I'm looking forward to seeing the movie again, and I'm also curious to see how the aspect ratio switch is done with the IMAX-filmed footage.
For information about The Dark Knight, including a plot summary, photos, trailers and videos, and more, please see the Information Page for the movie.
Blu-ray Editions Available
The Dark Knight (+ Digital Copy and BD Live) [Blu-ray]
Popular BD-Live Capable Blu-ray Players
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