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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Adding In-Movie Information to Blu-ray Releases via BD-Live

Posted on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 11:44 AM

Remember how I've been saying that if you're going to buy a Blu-ray player, make sure that it has BD-Live capability? Sony just announced plans to integrate some new BD-Live features into upcoming releases that should prove to be an innovative use of the Internet-connected feature.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment announced the launch of movieIQ, which uses an Internet connection enabled via BD-Live to deliver information about the movie being viewed. This information can be updated regularly by the studio and they are planning to provide details about the locations featured in various scenes, as well a list of the actors appearing on screen. The movieIQ feature is a selectable option, much like choosing a director's commentary track. Of course, your Blu-ray player needs to have a working Internet connection and BD-Live capability to take advantage of this feature.

The first Blu-ray releases that are planned to have movieIQ are:

  • Angels & Demons
  • Easy Rider
  • Punch Drunk Love
  • The Quick and the Dead
  • Silverado
  • sex, lies, and videotape

We're working on getting some screenshots and possibly a video demonstrating the movieIQ feature, but until then, tech site Engadget has some images to look at.

Features like this are a welcome addition to the list of enhanced movie experiences that are made possible by the Blu-ray format. Along with a picture that has six times the resolution of a DVD and sound that can match the original source material exactly (higher quality than what's possible in film-based movie theaters), the advanced functionality of Blu-ray can add to the enjoyment of watching and owning a movie. It has taken the studios quite a while to do something interesting with BD-Live, but I think they're finally starting to explore some interesting new features!

When you buy a Blu-ray player, be sure to demand BD-Live! Most new players have it, but some stores are still offering bargain-priced players that omit that feature to save money. Surprisingly enough, some of the really high-end (read, expensive) players also omit the feature for a completely unknown and inexplicable reason. Check the specs and make sure of what you're buying!

The full press release from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Gracenote appears below.

Press Release

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Partners with Gracenote To Deliver First Live, In-Movie Film Information with movieIQ

BD-Live™ Enabled Technology to be Featured on Upcoming Blu-ray Disc™ Titles Including Angels & Demons and Easy Rider

San Francisco, CA (June 18, 2009) - Sony Pictures Home Entertainment today announced the launch of movieIQ, a new Blu-ray Disc feature powered by Gracenote® that offers viewers access to a real-time movie database.  With a movieIQ-enabled Blu-ray Disc and an internet-connected Blu-ray™ player, movie fans can immediately access continuously-updated information on cast and crew and explore relevant trivia such as production facts, music and soundtrack information all tied to scenes within the movie. SPHE will feature movieIQ on upcoming Blu-ray Disc titles starting in September and will offer it on all major catalog titles and new releases including Angels & Demons, Easy Rider, Punch Drunk Love, The Quick and the Dead, Silverado and sex, lies, and videotape.

“It has always been our goal at Sony Pictures to offer fans the ability to truly connect with their favorite movies using BD-Live,” said Lexine Wong, Senior Executive Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. “We know many people interrupt their movie-watching experience to look up the filmography of an actor or to find out more about a song playing in the background. Now through movieIQ, movie lovers can dive into constantly-updated information about the movie they are watching without leaving their sofa, further enhancing the experience of watching movies in this always-connected age.”

movieIQ takes advantage of Gracenote’s Video Explore solution, which brings powerful search and navigation capabilities to connected consumer electronic devices.  Video Explore allows users to search the online Gracenote video database, linking together related cast, crew, movies, TV episodes, franchises, seasons, DVDs, and Blu-rays.  Gracenote’s global Video database contains rich video information for North America, Europe, and Japan, including factual metadata, synopses, credits, and detailed descriptive elements.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Sony Pictures to deliver movieIQ, a feature that takes full advantage of the Blu-ray format’s internet connectivity and truly demonstrates that Blu-ray is the future of home entertainment,” said Ross Blanchard, VP of Business Development at Gracenote.   “Now, movie lovers will have access to an incredible new service where they can explore and discover all the rich details on their favorite actors, directors and movies.”
The movieIQ feature is the latest addition to SPHE’s BD-Live portfolio, which also includes social networking through cinechat, multiplayer games, and a customizable music video editor, as well as soundtrack playlists, e-movie cash, downloadable featurettes, and more, available on over 100 Sony Pictures Blu-ray titles worldwide since the technology launched in spring of 2008.

About Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company. SPE is a division of Sony Corporation of America, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation.  SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; digital content creation and distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment in 67 countries.  Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.sonypictures.com.

About Gracenote

Gracenote, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, is a global leader in embedded technology, enriched content, and data services for digital entertainment solutions within the Internet, consumer electronics, mobile, and automotive markets. Formerly known as CDDB®, Gracenote delivers a substantially improved consumer experience in digital media devices and applications, plus media monitoring and other data services to the recording industry, making it an integral part of the digital media economy. Gracenote powers leading services including Apple iTunes, Yahoo! Music Jukebox, Winamp; home and automotive products from Alpine, Panasonic, Philips and Sony; and mobile music applications from Samsung, Sony Ericsson, KDDI (Japan), KTF (Korea), Musiwave (Europe), and others. Gracenote is headquartered in Emeryville, California. www.gracenote.com/corporate/.

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