Sleeping BeautyYahoo! News reports that in October, Disney will release its first animated classic on Blu-ray Disc, “Sleeping Beauty,” which will offer viewers a full palate of high-tech viewing options. Thanks to BD Live technology, which connects to the Internet, viewers will be able to pop “Sleeping Beauty” into their Blu-ray Disc player and get a variety of interactive features.

And just what might those be?

  • A customized version of the famed Sleeping Beauty castle that serves as a backdrop for the menu. The sky behind the castle will reflect the weather in their hometown, whether it’s a blizzard in Cleveland or a balmy day in San Diego.
  • Once movie starts, viewers can chat with other viewers right on the movie screen, using a laptop, Blackberry or other personal digital assistant (PDA).
  • The ability to insert customized video messages anywhere in the movie and send them to friends or family members via a Disney “movie mail” feature.
  • Viewers will be able to play trivia games with fellow viewers across the country and when they’re done, get a constant supply of preview trailers simply by inserting the disc into their Web-connected player.

Bob Chapek, president of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, hopes the release “will revolutionize the way people will interact with, and view, movies in the home.”

Personally, I don’t really care about the customized weather feature as I’m not going to sit there and stare at the menu for that long anyway. Being able to chat with other viewers might be cool but only if I know them. And trivia might be fun, especially if Seinfeld episodes begin to be released on Blue-ray.

One thing I fear is that all these “interactive” features will take away from the movie watching experience itself, at least if you are a guy. While my wife can watch something on the tube, be on her laptop and even carry on a conversation all at the same time, I need to concentrate on what I’m watching if I’m to take it all in.

One of Disney’s goals with this interactive release is to connect people online through a secured network. “Parents don’t have to worry,” Chapek said. “We’re trying to connect families, so for example your daughter can talk to her grandmother in Cincinnati while they are both watching the same movie, and you can leave the room and not have to worry.”

Disney isn’t the only studio that has announced plans to implement BD Live technology. Lionsgate’s Blu-ray versions of “War” and “Saw IV,” released in January, offer a chat feature. Sony released its first two BD Live features in April: “The Sixth Day” and “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story” come with exclusive downloadable extra content. And Fox’s “Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem” lets viewers superimpose themselves into a game and play against others over the Internet.

I think for now I will just wait this all out. After all, I was one of the last people I know to give up my vinyl records for CDs. Therefore, although this BD Live technology sounds cool, I am in no rush to swap out all my DVDs.

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