NBC Universal has traditionally included rather extensive special features on the Blu-ray box sets for seasons of The Office, the mocumentary series following the ups and downs of the Dunder Mifflin paper company. Special features typically include digital shorts, surprisingly long and in-depth blooper reels, extended episodes, deleted scenes, and even the ability to use an iPhone or Android as a remote control. The sixth season Blu-ray adds yet another neat feature - streaming for future episodes.
Utilizing the BD-Live Blu-ray technology, owners of the sixth season Blu-ray will be able to stream the latest five episodes of season seven directly to their Blu-ray player. Episodes will be available in high definition the day after they air on NBC.
This would seem to be one of the first truly compelling uses of the BD-Live system. If the content streams in 1080p without advertisements, BD-Live could prove to be better than internet services like Hulu. Until now, BD-Live has been a near useless technology, serving as rarely more than a place to watch trailers. Occasionally something compelling has been done: Warner Bros. has used the network to host live chats with Christopher Nolan and Guillermo del Toro for The Dark Knight and Hellboy 2 Blu-ray releases. However, these instances are few and far between.
By instituting this streaming option for future episodes of The Office, NBC Universal may have found the future of BD-Live. If other television shows follow this example, BD-Live could become a powerful streaming service. Also, by buying the Blu-ray, the service is effectively paid and could be run without advertisements theoretically.
Everything comes down to execution. If The Office pulls this off well, the streaming could garner attention and be implemented more and more often. If they botch it, BD-Live will continue to be a service with infinite potential that suffers from a lack of support and implementation.
The Office Season Six Blu-ray will be available on September 7, 2010.