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Sony Strengthens Commitment to BD-Live

On Wednesday, Sony Pictures Home Ent. held a press event touting its commitment to BD-Live (interactive content for Blu-ray consumers) on Stage 29 in Culver City, home of the old MGM and apparently one of the actual stages where THE WIZARD OF OZ's Yellow Brick Road was filmed.

While admitting some early technical glitches, SPHE President David Bishop touted some positive stats for the industry and Blu-ray, in particular, including: DVD and VOD rentals going up; domestic Blu-ray software and hardware sales rising 316% and 400%, respectively. In addition, Sony boasts around 100,000 unique users of its BD-Live content.

Meanwhile, with BD players reaching 10.5 million homes and 70 million homes with broadband access yet fewer than 50% with connectivity in or near the living room, Sony has addressed the problem by introducing a new BD player in July: the BDP-S560 (costing around $349), which, like the PS3, will offer a built-in wireless modem and "six second access" to your Blu-ray extras.

In terms of new BD-Live content, Sony expressed its growing commitment by demoing the online Cinechat available on next week's release of THE DA VINCI CODE. Currently available or upcoming are video editing, interactive playlists, RSS feeds, streaming video for live events and mobile apps.

Also on hand were SPHE Senior Exec VP of worldwide marketing Lexine Wong and Sony Electronics' VP for home audio and video Chris Fawcett, among others.

-- By AWN and VFXWorld Senior Editor Bill Desowitz