Universal enhances HD DVD web experiences


MUMBAI: Universal Studios Home Entertainment has launched an internet infrastructure for HD DVD’s web-enabled experiences that allows internet connection in every HD DVD player and deliver title specific features.


Heroes: Season 1 on HD DVD was the first title to use the web-enabled capabilities and with the forthcoming availability of Evan Almighty on HD DVD, Universal will provide web-enabled features such as the download center, U-Shop, and much more. With this facility Universal is set to explore digitally distributed scenarios and infusing movie content with e-commerce and social media capabilities.


Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Universal Pictures Digital Platforms, President, Craig Kornblau stated, “HD DVD provides a consistent platform that allows us to go beyond DVD to deliver the best possible next generation HD experiences and begins to introduce consumers to the infinite potential of web-enabled content. With our web-enabled features, we wanted to deliver capabilities that compliment the HD movie watching experience while also offering a destination online that gives users the opportunity to dive deeper into their favorite movies and TV shows. We’ve just begun to explore HD DVD’s potential and this infrastructure lays the foundation for us to easily evolve with consumer preferences.”


In addition to title-centric experiences available through any HD DVD player, a new website, www.UniversalHiDef.com, will serve as an online medium for PC-based interaction, enabling cross platform consumer engagement with additional content, fan communities and much more. The site also establishes a cross-platform integration point to take advantage of the growing web properties already in place across NBC Universal.


This new infrastructure augments all the great features available through recent HD DVD releases, such as Heroes: Season 1, Knocked Up and the forthcoming Evan Almighty. Fans can download bonus scenes and make an online profile, or even add new, downloadable experiences long after a title leaves the store shelf. The interface allows consumers to register and create a personalized experience, while taking the first step toward participating in a fan community around their favorite movies or TV shows. Once registered, the account will be recognized by a consumer’s player whenever a new web-enabled Universal disc is inserted. It can remember user preferences and multiple accounts with different passwords all registered on the same player.


The popularity and demand for such capabilities is evident with the recent release of on HD DVD. Within the first two weeks following the release of the television series, Heroes Season 1 in a seven-disc HD DVD set, nearly 40 percent of purchasers had registered an account in order to access connected features like the Heroes Ability Test and the Download Center.


Another new addition is the new U-Shop feature, an online store launching with Evan Almighty on HD DVD. By accessing U-Shop while movie watching, consumers will be exposed to online purchase options related to the movie – from the latest featured fashions to movie-themed collectables.


The experience from your living room is designed with tailored, remote control friendly navigation tools to access information. An ‘above the fold’ picture navigation offers pull-down menus and allows the consumer to easily descend into the subsequent pages.


An overview of some of the features coming to future Universal HD DVD titles and on UniversalHiDef.com includes:




The first functionality of U-Shop will be enabled with HD DVD release of Evan Almighty. With Universal U-Shop, viewers have the opportunity to shop for items from the movie right from their living room. Consumers can access the entire store from their HD DVD player and start purchasing exclusive items from titles that offer this feature.


Features/Download Center


Users will be able to scroll over numerous stills of the many interactive experiences that are already released on HD DVD. Web-enabled features allow consumers the opportunity to download exclusive trailers, content and games right to their HD DVD player, allowing one-click access to the Download Center. Consumers can also sign up for newsletters, sweepstakes and partner offers.


Best Buddies/My Scenes


Users will learn how create a Best Buddies list and collect and send their favorite movie clips to friends. Here, users will register their best buddies, who will be uploaded to the server and then accessible from their HD DVD player. Users can manage their buddy list using the HD DVD playback experience or via the PC to build a connected community of friends and movie fans.


Customer Support


The support section features instructions in the “screen grabs” format for easy step-by-step instructions. A list of error codes will also be provided to help identify any issues, along with links to customer support sites for Xbox and Toshiba are also available.