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Sony claims BD-Live is catching on

Sony reports that the company's BD-Live servers are nearing one million visitors, indicating that BD-Live may be catching on despite criticism.

We've certainly been critics of BD-Live in the past, but Sony reports that Blu-ray's interactive platform is catching on. Sony's servers for BD-Live content are coming up on the one million hit mark, according to a report by Video Business, and Sony VP Rich Marty is quoted saying that "consumers are engaging with this game-changing interactivity and are defining BD Live as that killer application." That's in pretty stark contrast to previous reports that industry insiders considered Blu-ray's interactive features to be mostly a let down.

If BD-Live truly is catching on, then we've underestimated the public's desire for slowly loading movie trailers.
If BD-Live truly is catching on, then we've underestimated the public's desire for slowly loading movie trailers.

While the one million mark is surprising to us, we'd bet that the majority of those visits were made by PS3 owners--rather than more mainstream standalone players--for a few reasons. First, only a fraction of standalone Blu-ray are Profile 2.0 compatible, which is necessary to access BD-Live features. Of those Profile 2.0 players, so far all of them require a wired Ethernet connection to connect to BD-Live features, while the PS3 can connect via Wi-Fi. Lastly, in our experience, even the best standalone Blu-ray players have handled online content clumsily compared to the PS3, which boasts superior processing power. For BD-Live to go mainstream it needs to work on all players, which means Blu-ray hardware makers have to improve the user experience.

While we've often found interactive Blu-ray content to be lacking, we've seen some signs of improvement. The upcoming The Dark Knight Blu-ray disc will feature a BD-Live feature that allows you to create your own picture-in-picture video commentary track and share it. We're also looking forward to seeing Office Space on Blu-ray, which according to The Digital Bits features bonus content such as, "Jump to Conclusions 2.0, Grab the Stapler, Printer Beat-Down, Last Piece of Cake, Whack-a-Drone, Post-It Pandemonium and The Apathy of Man: History Track."

What's your take? Is BD-Live set to take off in 2009? Or will it continue to be more of a gimmick than a useful feature?