Dreamer wants to change all that with its Blu-TV interactive television service. While Yahoo is doing this with its Widgets that have to be integrated into the HDTVs themselves or a dedicated set-top box, Dreamer’s creators envision it being included on Blu-ray players—and even on a Blu-ray disc that will work in any BD-Live capable Blu-ray player.
The Dreamer interface is very similar to iPhone app icons, and the service is similar in another way too: It offers an open API so that developers can easily offer app icons to their web video content in the service. So consumers will no longer have to be limited to, for example, YouTube, Netflix, Blockbuster, and Pandora—as is the case on my own Samsung Blu-ray player. Though those are fine services in themselves, there are other excellent ones out there like the well-organized DailyMotion and the HD-rich Vimeo.
And Blu-TV isn’t limited to web video—any web site such as online shopping, casual gaming, or social networking can take advantage of it by building a widget using Dreamer’s SDK. The platform is open, but Dreamer will review and verify submissions.
"At-home media consumption patterns are rapidly evolving, with consumers blending online video viewing habits alongside traditional disc-based formats," said Dr. Won Baek, CEO and President of Dreamer. "BD-Live enables limited online interaction for consumers, but Dreamer greatly expands the promise of extended Blu-Ray content without excruciating load times every time the disc is read. Our BluTV platform also establishes an open applications marketplace for Blu-ray disc players, allowing content owners to reach consumers with widgets and tools that enhance and extend the entertainment experience."
At CES 2010 today, Dreamer announced the first player to include the service OPPO’s high-end ($499) BDP-83 model, which also plays SACD and DVD-Audio discs. "Dreamer transforms Blu-ray disc players into a full-featured HD set-top box, making it easy for consumers to browse, search and watch interactive content on their TV screens," said Baek. "The options for content distribution through Blu-TV are virtually limitless, so we are excited to add the capabilities for an unlimited open applications marketplace and rich interactive services to the OPPO BDP-83 player."
While high-end players with the service include are all well and good, the concept of simply inserting a disc into any Blu-ray player is very intriguing. One shortcoming, though, is that Dreamer doesn’t support live streaming web video such as you find on Ustream.tv or Stickam.com.
One nifty feature is that iPhone and iPod touch owners can use these devices as remote controls for Blu-TV. An app enabling this is already available in the iTunes store.
Dreamer will not be charging a subscription fee for the service, but app or channel providers may charge for their content that you access through Blu-TV. You can read more about the service at Dreamer’s Blu-TV page.