Redmond, Wash. — Microsoft said that all Toshiba HD DVD players and all HD DVD movie packaging from Universal and Paramount will soon carry the trademarked “HDi” logo, representing the software giant’s contribution in developing the interactive software layer for the platform.
The logo will begin to appear on movie selections beginning in the fourth quarter, Microsoft said. HDi technology is Microsoft’s high-performance implementation of the interactivity layer for the HD DVD format, which allows such advanced features as network connectivity and community scenarios.
HDi is a mandatory component to the HD DVD system, defined as Advanced Navigation by the DVD Forum. Early movie titles such as “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” “Miami Vice” and “Mission: Impossible III” were among the first titles to make heavy use of the capability, offering such bonus features as picture-in-picture director’s commentaries to graphical interfaces with tailored movie specifications — all available without stopping the movie playback experience.
“With Microsoft’s HDi technology, Toshiba is able to offer consumers a consistent movie-watching experience in a way that simply isn’t possible with today’s DVDs or available with any other format right now,” stated Jodi Sally, Toshiba America Digital A/V products marketing VP. “Advanced navigation using Microsoft’s HDi technology has been offered on all of Toshiba’s HD DVD players — from the models introduced last spring to our third generation of models that are shipping today.”
The technology is based on easy-to-program Web standards providing studios with a familiar and simple development environment, Microsoft said.
“For studios to truly enhance and change the way people watch movies, HD DVD provides the features and the flexibility we need to offer a personalized experience,” said Ken Graffeo, executive VP of Universal Studios Home Entertainment and co-president of the North American HD DVD Promotional Group. “Web-enabled network features made possible through HDi are particularly compelling because they bridge the gap between physical media and the Web-based world of the MySpace generation.”
Studios supporting HD DVD are already delivering on promises of expanding their offerings with Web-enabled network (interactive) features on shipping titles such as “300” and “Blood Diamond” from Warner Bros., “Heroes: Season 1” from Universal and the upcoming “Transformers” from Paramount.
The ability to download new trailers, buy ringtones and other merchandise, and share favorite bookmarked scenes with other HD DVD owners are just a few of the features now available on discs from studios supporting HD DVD. Universal recently announced that all day-and-date titles moving forward will include Web-enabled network features powered by HDi.