Keeping pressure on the Blu-ray high definition disc camp, Toshiba today announced a firmware update which will enable its HD DVD players to access Web-enabled content on new HD DVD titles via the player’s integrated Ethernet ports. The idea is that once connected to a user’s home broadband network, users will be able to download additional premium content from movie studios’ online services to complement their HD DVD titles—or unlock additional content tucked away on the HD DVD disc.
“Through Web-enabled network connectivity, HD DVD is unlocking the door to an entirely new world of entertainment and once again achieving another milestone in next generation DVD,” said Jodi Sally, Vice President of Marketing for Toshiba’s Digital A/V Group, in a release. “With HD DVD, studios have the ability to develop new and unique content for movie fans, enabling consumers to have an entirely new way to access entertainment and customize their home movie experience that is currently not available with any other format.”
In addition to accessing or downloading additional content, network-enabled HD DVD players can let users upload content and interact with service providers. As an example, Toshiba cites the Warner Home Video title Blood Diamond which lets users participate in interactive polls. Once users have voted, they get to see poll results sent to them via the HD DVD player. The first Web-enabled HD DVD title is Bandai Visual’s anime title Freedom, volume 1—the disc is also the first “twin disc” title with HD DVD on one side and standard DVD on the other.
Users can configure their HD DVD players to download the firmware update automatically by connecting the units via Ethernet to their Internet-enabled home network. Details are available at Toshiba’s HD DVD site; DHCP service is required, and configurations instructions are included with the players.)
Toshiba also announced a firmware update due in September will enable their HD-XA2 and HD-A20 HD DVD players to play back 1080p content at 24 frames per second.