Ascent Media, Akamai, Sofatronics Tackle Blu-ray Disc Live

Ascent Media Group has teamed with Akamai Technologies and Sofatronic to integrate digital workflow and distribution for the production, hosting, and delivery of BD Live functionality for Blu-ray Discs.

BD Live offers a wide array of interactive features to the home-entertainment ecosystem. With the highly interactive BD Live platform, personalized avatars can be created, subtitles can be frequently updated, and viewers can simultaneously interact with others while watching a movie. By instantly connecting users to the Web and empowering them to browse and download online content with special features, new trailers, and games, BD Live enables content creators to deliver an interactive service, as opposed to a static product that becomes obsolete once it has been shipped.

Available through Ascent Media’s Blink Digital, the platform provides a more efficient and cost-effective way for movie studios and content creators to harness the full power of BD Live’s Internet-enabled features, such as bonus content, online community, and interactive and e-commerce applications.

“In partnership with industry leaders Akamai and Sofatronic, we are able to offer studios a new solution to BD Live functionality, which simplifies the process of delivering this new and exciting interactive experience to the consumer,” says Jose Royo, CEO of Ascent Media Group. “Our head-to-toe package still leaves room for flexibility, plus our best-in-breed partnership allows us to deliver high-quality performance with greater efficiencies for our studio and Blu-ray distribution partners.”

Under the joint initiative, Sofatronic is responsible for development of a software platform based off its Kaleidoscope technology, a development platform for interactive entertainment on Blu-ray. Akamai’s global distribution platform will enable Internet-connected devices to support large-file downloads and acceleration of rich, interactive media content and applications. Blink Digital is responsible for providing creative delivery, design, authoring and programming services, and BD Live integration for high-quality Blu-ray Disc production.

“Blu-ray is one of the first convergent devices to hit scale in the connected living room,” says Akamai Chief Strategist, Digital Media, Tim Napoleon. “Studios recognize the power of the Internet, and with that, the entertainment paradigm is shifting. BD Live is designed to help studios build social communities around entertainment content and get more for their investment through a platform for merchandising brands, promoting future sales, and creating direct relationships with consumers. Akamai’s expertise in delivering rich, dynamic content coupled with Sofatronic’s unmatched BD Live development tools and Blink Digital’s proven track record of high-quality authoring services, will give studios an edge when developing a BD Live experience.”

Together, the three companies have addressed many of the issues that previous BD Live platforms have experienced by providing improved authoring tools, better disc-quality assurance, increased menu functionality, secure retailing interface, improved bonus-content download times, and fixed disc pricing.

“Sofatronic is exclusively focused on Blu-ray and interactive-TV-technology development,” says Isaac Larbi, CEO of Sofatronic USA. “Through this partnership, we are better able to meet consumer demand for progressive Blu-ray entertainment by offering a seamless one-stop development solution to studios and Blu-ray-distribution partners.”