PlayStation 3 (PS3) owners will soon be able to enjoy web-enhanced, Blu-ray movies known as BD-Live discs, which contain extra features and content that can be accessed when the console is connected to the web.
A firmware, or system software update, will be released in the next few days, allowing PlayStation owners to buy and play these enhanced Blu-ray discs. This makes the PlayStation 3 the first Blu-ray player on the market to offer this feature.
It was originally expected that the Panasonic DMP-BD50 would be the first HD-Live-enabled player commercially available but it may still be the first standalone player and is rumoured to be available in May or June of this year.
“These features vary from disc to disc, and will keep your BD discs fresh with new content, and in some cases exclusive content only accessible to owners of BD-Live- enabled discs,” said Eric Lempel, the director of PlayStation network operations.
HD-Live will also add other web-enabled features to the Blu-ray disc, such as multiplayer functionality and social networking options.
On 8 April, Sony Entertainment will release the movies The 6th Day and on Blu-ray with BD-Live functionality, while film studio Lionsgate has already released the films War and Saw IV as BD-Live titles, so although there were already Blu-ray titles on offer with BD-Live options no player existed that could take advantage of the content.
The PlayStation 3 firmware update will also add extra features, including the ability to use the PSP (PlayStation Portable) handheld gaming console as a remote control to play music on the PS3 without turning on the TV.
The update will also allow PS3 owners to play back a Blu-ray or HD-Live disc at the point where they stopped it last, even if it is taken out and other discs are played in the meantime.
By Marie Boran