A slight departure from the normal fare today as instead of looking at a specific DVD or set of DVDs I'm going to take a look around one of Sony's newest Blu-ray related sites: http://www.experiencebluray.co.uk
I'm still on the fence with Blu-ray myself, I don't own a Blu-ray player but the passage of time, the increasingly affordable prices and the addition of more and more features is gradually bringing me around. Much like in the years where DVDs replaced Videos I took a fair time to make the jump - these days I'm very happy with the DVD medium but I'm getting an increasing awareness of the benefits that Blu-ray offer for the viewer (in part thanks to Dan who often reviews High Definition releases).
So when I learnt about Sony's newest site - Experience Blu-ray - I decided to have a nose around and see what exactly I was missing out on, besides the shiny "blu" boxes and higher definition pictures. (I'm going to avoid making jokes, but let's just get it clear - I find the name Blu-Ray patently ridiculous and amusing to the highest degree).
The site itself serves as a combination library, resource/information site and promotion for Sony's range of Blu-ray releases. In addition to showcasing the various titles the site also has information about some of their screener events (in Soho Hotel), runs a few competitions with various prizes and has a couple of simple flash games. It does seem to be a work in progress at this point, but perhaps that means there's less competition for the prizes? (Anyone fancy taking a shot at winning 5 Blu-Rays?)
The feature I'm most impressed with on this site is the calender function, it's frankly so elegant and clever that I'm surprised it's not used more often. You can browse back and forth between the various months and all the days when a given release is out are highlighted, you can then select that date and read about the movie. It's intuitive, informative, slick and most importantly it's very fast to navigate; why the heck aren't more sites using something like this? I'd love to have this on network sites with something this easy to use on them for listing their shows. It's like, what's out in say November? Click, click, click - Year One, Moon and Terminator Salvation. Click on the date, find out a little more about the movie. That's just fantastic.
You've also got the films sorted by various categories and the category sections contain blurbs about the various movies. These each link to a specific page which has the YouTube trailer and a slightly more detailed synopsis on it. There are even a couple of TV series starting to make an appearance on here as well, considering that some of my favourite shows were Sony DVD releases originally I can't help but hope they'll also turn up on Blu-ray soon. The trailers themselves aren't that great on the resolution front - I'm not feeling the high definition when I watch them and some of the film trailers are still missing, but the potential is definitely there.
The other issues I'd say this site has right now is a lack of content, as it's clearly still in the development/growth stage - there aren't that many movies on it right now, but it's so easy to use and browse about the various films that it could become a pretty useful resource as well as a place to try and decide what is worth watching next, the trailers in particular help - but the information beneath them could do with being a little more detailed, especially if it wants to hang with sites like of Rotten Tomatoes, TV.com and the IMDB.
That said, it's an interesting site which could grow into something worth checking out every once in a while, the aforementioned release schedule calender is good enough by itself and it makes finding out the various release dates very simple. Plus I'm always thrilled with any site that has Ghostbusters on it, I'm a big kid like that.
The second item is the one which really has me intrigued, I do adore interesting facts and tidbits about movies (and television shows) and MovieIQ is the kind of thing which has me going "Ooo" like an excited seven year old.
This short promotional video explains it better than I could:
Only time will tell just how interesting (or maybe useful) this feature will turn out to be, I do know two things I'd find it handy for. Those moments where you see a familiar face and you think 'Who's that guy, I know him, he's in that film, I forget which, darn it, it's on the tip of my tongue, this is going to bug me moments' - instead you can hit the enter button and quickly find out who it is. Likewise I sometimes find myself thinking 'This song is great, who sings it?', being able to find out immediately is something which is a) useful and b) dangerous for my wallet's health.
Still, as someone who adores extras and commentary on episodes because of the insights it brings this MovieIQ (or Movie Quite Interesting due to the potential trivia it can share) is probably the number one feature which has me thinking "This Blu-ray lark doesn't sound half bad at all!"