Mid-Week Poll: Do You Use BD-Live Features?

Last week, we asked whether you use Digital Copies when they’re included with Blu-ray discs. At least among our readers (who are presumably very savvy consumers and the prime demographic for Blu-ray ownership), it looks like a majority of you do not. This raises the question of why studios bother to include them. This week, we have a similar question. How many of you actually use BD-Live internet features on Blu-ray? Vote after the break.

Late last year, I moderated a discussion panel on this very topic of Blu-ray interactivity at the Blu-Con conference in Los Angeles. I guess that means that somebody considers me to be some sort of authority on the subject (or at least I’d like to think so). Yet even I have to admit that I haven’t found terribly many BD-Live features all that interesting. The BD-Live interfaces on most discs are a hassle to use, and most of the features to date have been worthless promotional fluff (trailers for unrelated movies, etc.) or simple video content that should have been authored on the disc itself in the first place.

Even those attempts to add genuine interactive elements that couldn’t be achieved without an internet connection (the “Lost University” feature on ‘Lost: Season 5‘ was a neat idea) often strike me as being better suited as standard online web site content. The need to integrate the feature with Blu-ray playback feels forced and awkward.

In my opinion, the biggest detriment to BD-Live is the need to play a disc to access the content. This is a real nuisance. I feel that the major studios should have coordinated their efforts in the early days of the Blu-ray format to develop some sort of centralized online hub, similar to Xbox Live or the Playstation Network, that could be accessed directly from the Blu-ray player whether a disc is being watched or not. Within this hub, you could branch out to the portals for individual studios to unlock or download their content. This would have made BD-Live substantially more convenient than it is now. Unfortunately, it may be too late to develop something like that now.

How do you feel about it? Do you use BD-Live features? Vote in the poll and tell us in the comments which features you particularly like or dislike.

Do You Use BD-Live Features?

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8 comments

  1. Adam

    I can’t say that I’ve ever used them. Maybe once or twice, but it was so pointless that it wasn’t worth the while. In fact, the whole extra time it takes my discs to load (especially you, Universal!) sometimes makes me wish there was no network connectivity to it at all. For all that I care, they could stop putting the BD-Live stuff together and take a nickel off of the price of Blu-rays. It would be a fair trade. Or better yet, release some great classic movies(Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, High Noon, the original Mr. Deeds, etc.) on Blu-ray instead of the junk they keep pumping out.

  2. Tim

    I’d like to see it used to provide dynamic content updates. For example, they could include additional subtitle tracks and/or corrections to existing tracks.

    Further, I’d like to see additional audio commentaries, but I don’t think this will ever happen as it’d reduce the urge to double-dip.

    BD-Live is a PITA in its current form. No standards and useless content. I used it once for an online chat with Zach Snyder for the release of Watchmen, but that’s my one mildly successful BD-Live experience in several years.

    The true evil of BD-Live is the fact that this “feature” sometimes stops the main movie from being accessible. That’s inexcusable.

  3. Star Trek included some neat news feeds from NASA, and that was a unique use of BD-Live. I actually poke through it whenever I stick the movie in.

    Some movies that include additional extras (such as interviews or whatever), or real-time viewing events are neat. However, manuvering through some of the BD-Live menus are annoying (ahem Disney, WB). Just pop up something on the main menu with a new link to a trailer or a new piece of content, don’t make me manuver through your tedious BD-Live generic portals to find what I am looking for. I think its WB who is really bad about throwing all their BD-Live stuff into a generic portal, and half the time you can’t even find the content for the movie you have in. If I am watching Harry Potter, I want to see extras for harry Potter, not extras for Gone With The Wind! Sure, give me trailers I can view for the stuff that may intrest me in buying it, that’s fine, but PLEASE do away with the portals!

  4. I use them when they work…half the time they’re so “glitchy”, they’re not worth the time/effort. Most of them now just link to trailers for other movies. About the only “cool” one I’ve seen is the one on THE DARK KNIGHT that allowed you to record your own video commentary. BD-LIVE certainly has not lived up to it’s promised potential/ability.

  5. EM

    I am forced to disagree, Josh: the dearth of use of BD-Live among the readership does not beg the question of why studios support it but—to the contrary—raises that very question.

    As for my reply to the poll, I have never, ever set up BD-Live or had interest in doing so. It’s possible an occasional BD-Live feature might enchant me, but overall I think I’m quite happier without the complication-inducing bells and whistles.

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