A new generation of high-definition TV and DVD technology heralds the arrival of the digital living room, says Alice Chang, CEO of Taiwanese media software maker CyberLink.
Users love high-definition TV because it’s like watching a football game from the sidelines, while HD DVD and Blu-ray, the high-definition video disc formats, put the cinema in your house and offer fun new possibilities. For example, the HD DVD version of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen includes a shoot ‘em up game users can play. Bad guys don’t die when hit, but the game does keep the score. Tokyo Drift includes a function that puts the story cards used to make the movie in the top left corner of the corresponding scene, giving users a glimpse of the creative process.
And that’s just the beginning, Chang says. One function her company is working on could one day let users buy items they see in movies on the click of a mouse. So instead of wondering where 007 picked up that suave tuxedo, or Carrie Bradshaw got her new shoes, users can click on them and buy immediately at Amazon.com or eBay.
IDGNS: The digital home is a buzzword we've been hearing about for years, but it hasn't really happened yet. What has changed that makes you think it's on the way now?
Chang: I think that because Apple Computer Inc. has been so successful with the iPod, the rest of the non-Apple world is looking at the Apple story and wondering how to do the same thing, but they’re using the Wintel [Windows + Intel] platform to launch from. At the end of last year, we saw a lot more companies start talking about the digital home, and now we have Intel Corp. with Viiv, and Microsoft Corp. with Vista, and Apple with its iTV, so it’s gaining momentum.
IDGNS: What's your definition of the digital home? What does it include?
Chang: When I think of the digital home, I think of myself at home, on my couch, watching TV, watching DVDs and listening to music. As users, that’s what we’re doing most of the time. In DVD [CyberLink is] already there. In TV, we started investing a few years ago and as time went on, video over PCs became more and more popular, with TV tuners for PCs, and making your PC into a TiVo. These things are all possible now. And now TV has moved from analog to digital, and up to hi-def (high-definition).
For the digital home, the digital entertainment TV and DVD will be essential for entertainment. So [CyberLink] is helping make sure the PC can move from the work ecosystem to the entertainment ecosystem; so we’re thinking about sharing, about easy access, home access, the PC as a home media device with all the media files, and a TV tuner.
IDGNS: What has been the hardest part in CyberLink's software development efforts in HD DVD and Blu-ray?