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New Universal Blu-rays interact with iPhone

Universal is planning to integrate iPhone interactivity on several new Blu-ray releases, aimed at overcoming the hurdles that have hindered BD-Live so far.

"9" will be one of the new Blu-ray titles to feature iPhone interactivity.
"9" will be one of the new Blu-ray titles to feature iPhone interactivity. Amazon

Excluding the recent Netflix PS3 disc, BD-Live has been a bust. Still, we give the movie studios credit for not completely abandoning the technology yet, and according to a recent Video Business story, Universal will feature iPhone interactivity on many several releases, "including Bruno, Public Enemies, 9, and Inglourious Basterds."

While it's easy to write it off as a gimmick, the iPhone functionality (called "Pocket Blu") is aimed at overcoming one of the biggest hurdles to interactive content, which is the painful process of entering text using a standard Blu-ray remote. While iPhone functionality won't solve that problem for Blu-ray owners that don't own iPhones, it's probably the easiest workaround at this stage. (We would have loved if Blu-ray players included a remote with a built-in keyboard, similar to Vizio's bluetooth remote.)

Universal is also planning to offer some exclusive content for iPhone users. We've complained about this before, but there's really no reason to limit that content to iPhone users (or even BD-Live users), since there's nearly always extra capacity on the disc for the bonus features.

Perhaps the best news is hidden at the bottom of the Video Business article; Universal says new titles will allows users to view much of the BD-Live content without having to register first. BD-Live has plenty of problems, but nothing kills enthusiasm faster than having to enter an e-mail address using an onscreen keyboard and a Blu-ray remote.