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Universal to launch iPhone app that controls Blu-ray content

The application is the first Blu-ray Disc-related app in Apple's App Store.

Erica Ogg Former Staff writer, CNET News
Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.
Erica Ogg

Starting next week, Universal will release an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch that controls content on Blu-ray Discs.

It's a first for the industry, but it falls in line with the Blu-ray format's efforts to expand beyond the disc and into other personal electronics devices. The app will launch to coincide with Universal's release of "Fast & Furious" on Blu-ray July 28.

Depending on the title it's associated with, the free application will allow bonus features from the disc to be downloaded to an iPhone or iPod Touch, and will let either device act as a remote control for some Blu-ray features. While watching the film, the app will also feed related info about the cast or the film itself.

For "Fast & Furious," the application will have access to the "Virtual Car Garage" bonus feature. While viewing bonus features, app owners can use their iPhone or iPod Touch screen to control 360-degree views of the cars from the film.

It's notable that this offering is coming from Universal, known for being the last major film studio to leave HD DVD for Blu-ray, thus effectively killing Blu-ray's rival disc format in early 2008.

This post was updated on 7-21-09 to reflect the app's price and correct usage. It previously misstated when the application could be used.