Back when the Blu-ray format was launched, the ability of players to connect to the internet was touted as a huge advance that would revolutionize the way we watch movies. Even if the feature didn’t quite live up to that hype, the internet connection still has its uses. Is your player connected online?
In the early days, the Blu-ray studios and manufacturers promoted BD-Live as a killer app that would showcase the format as a next-level entertainment product, and allow viewers to interact with the movies they watched in ways never dreamed of on DVD. “Convergence” was the buzzword promising to bring movies and the internet together, as if that was something that anybody actually wanted or cared about.
Sadly, BD-Live wasn’t ready to go when Blu-ray was launched in 2006 and had to be held back for two player generation cycles. (Do you remember the ridiculous player “Profiles”?) By the time it arrived, BD-Live felt half-formed, and most of the interactive features offered on Blu-ray were gimmicky and useless crap. Even more problematic was the simple fact that nobody in the audience gave a damn. Watching movies is a passive experience and does not require interactivity.
As far as I can tell, BD-Live is effectively dead right now. I can’t remember the last time I loaded a Blu-ray that had exclusive online supplements. The Hollywood studios have simply given up on them due to lack of interest. I doubt that anyone really misses them. I certainly don’t.
However, even as BD-Live failed, Blu-ray players evolved to find other uses for the internet connection. Blu-ray players these days do more than just play Blu-rays. They often function as entertainment hubs that allow users to stream movies from the web, play games, or access other online apps and content.
I may stream the occasional movie from VUDU, but I mostly reserve my Blu-ray player’s internet connection for firmware updates. What do you use yours for? Vote for as many options in the following poll as apply.
If you actually ever used BD-Live, what were some of the better features that took advantage of its capabilities?