Universal Integrates Blu-ray Interactive Features with iPhone, iPod touch

--Also Plans to Integrate New Blu-ray Releases with Twitter and Facebook

Universal Studios Home Entertainment announced Monday that it plans to provide an "extensive array" of iPhone and iPod touch-enabled features on its upcoming Blu-ray releases. The features will be accessed via companion applications that will be available through the Apple App Store, the company says. The first of these apps is scheduled to launch on the App Store July 28th, and is designed to work with the two-disc "special edition" Blu-ray release of the movie, "Fast & Furious." According to Universal, the app will allow iPhone and iPod touch users to use their Blu-ray player's Internet and WiFi connections to access BD-Live-powered interactive content from the "Virtual Car Garage," one of the various "bonus features" offered by the new release: via their devices' touch screens, the company says, users will be able to control 360-degree views of the movie's supercharged street-racing cars and access exclusive technical specs for those cars.

Later this year on select Blu-ray releases, Universal says, consumers will also be able to access bonus content on their Blu-ray disc and download it into their iPhone or iPod touch, so that they can watch it on the go. The company says that they will also be able to use the devices as a "virtual remote" to control their Blu-ray disc features and/or access additional detailed information about the film they are watching. In addition, it promises, new Blu-ray releases will be integrated with social networking services, such as Facebook and Twitter, allowing users to "update their friends about movie-related activities." "By harnessing Blu-ray technology and combining it with Apple's highly acclaimed iPod touch and iPhone, we continue to raise the bar in delivering an array of unprecedented, user-friendly home entertainment experiences," Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Universal Pictures Digital Platforms, said in a prepared statement. "Bridging these platforms further broadens the scope of the digital landscape by paving the way for innovative new applications and interactive content enhancements that continue to uniquely engage consumers."

North America