Pocket Blu application for iphone is now available

While Steve Jobs & Apple’s involvement in the Blu-ray format has been almost non-existent (despite actually sitting on the Blu-ray board), Blu-ray studio Universal is embracing Apple’s App Store with their own iPhone app, bringing bonus content and extra features for Blu-ray owners who purchase specially marked discs – among the measly six films currently on offer are Universal’s Funny People, Public Enemies and Inglorious Basterds. I bought the latter, and as advertised, the disc comes with a whole range of special features, most of which can now be accessed with my iPhone through the Pocket Blu app.

Set-up was easy, but not obvious. There’s nothing inside the disc or package that instructs the less technically inclined to visit the App Store and download Pocket Blu from there – just a sticker on the front advertising bonus content for iPhones. Having said that, once you do download it, everything works well. Pop in your disc (in my case, Inglorious Basterds), load up the Pocket Blu app and away you go. The only requirement is that you have a BD-Live enabled player – not a problem for my PlayStation 3, but older Blu-ray players won’t be able to connect up with it (software updates can sometimes solve this, so check your firmware if it isn’t working for you). Finally, you need to (of course) be connected to the same wireless network on both your Blu-ray player and iPhone/iPod touch for them to see each other.

Once everything is hooked up though, your bonus features are ‘unlocked’ and you can navigate through disc menus with the included wi-fi remote, browse through disc scenes, look at other Pocket Blu enabled apps, or most interestingly, watch Blu-ray special features (such as the Nation’s Pride short film, shown above) right inside the app. You can even save them for offline use later on. The remote is easy to control but I don’t see much use in it. I’m not going to need to navigate through menus if I’m nowhere near a screen, after all. As for the bonus content, it’s nice to have but there’s much more that the app can do. In a dream world where studios cared just a little less about locking their films up (to the extent that you’re mostly not even allowed to create a personal copy), I’d be able to watch the whole film on my iPhone (and my Mac) too. Personally, I’d rather just be able to create a free digital copy of Inglorious Basterds than have a largely pointless bonus app.

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