Universal Studio gave reporters a sneak peak at their latest web-enabled innovation on Tuesday.
Called "U-Shop," the upcoming 'Evan Almighty' HD DVD will be the first next-gen title to allow complete online transactions via a customized web browser. (As previously reported, Warner's earlier '300' HD DVD included the ability to send a text message to cellphones with links to purchase ringtones and wallpaper.)
Tying into the environmental theme of 'Evan Almighty,' items for sale via the disc will include a solar radio, a spinning composter, toilet paper made from recycled materials. More traditional film memorabilia (including an 'Evan Almighty' t-shirt) will also be made available.
Universal says it's not viewing the functionality as a new revenue stream, but rather as a demonstration of the format's interactive capabilities.
According to Universal VP (and HD DVD Promo Group Chair) Ken Graffeo, web-enabled features have already proven popular with consumers. Graffeo says that 40% of those who bought the 'Heroes: Season One' HD DVD registered to access the title’s Web offerings.
As we've previously reported, Universal recently launched a companion website for its web-enabled offerings. The studio says consumers will be able to create U-Shop accounts via a normal internet connection, but final product purchases must be made from the HD DVD.
'Evan Almighty' is due to hit HD DVD next Tuesday, October 9th. In addition to the "U-Shop" functionality, the title is also set to include a series of more traditional extras from the standard-def DVD, plus an HD DVD-exclusive picture-in-picture video commentary and two trivia tracks.
(Thanks to Diablo for the tip!)