When the father of Java speaks, developers listen. James Gosling, widely known as the father of the scripting language, spoke about Java and Blu-ray innovation at the Sun Tech Day in Sydney, Australia. Gosling, a vice president and fellow at Sun Microsystems, gave the keynote address and talked to reporters.

Sun's Java language is part of the Blu-ray specification. Gosling told reporters that the next-generation Blu-ray Profile 2 will be "mind-blowing." Demonstrations of Profile 2 are scheduled for demonstration at the JavaOne conference in May, and players with the new specification are expected this spring. Profile 2 offers Internet connectivity and storage for downloaded content.

"Now the real battle begins between Sony and Panasonic and Pioneer and Sharp and all the playermakers to make their players richer," said Richard Doherty, an analyst at Envisioneering Group. "How many consumers would like to be able to chat with family members in different cities over the Internet while they watch Ratatouille the week it comes out?"

The Promise of Blu-ray Profile 2

Sony took a step in that direction when it updated its Blu-ray Disc player line with two new models that will offer advanced interactive features, including trailers and games from the Internet. The new players will debut this summer.

The BDP-S350 and BDP-S550 models both support BonusView -- Picture-in-Picture -- featured on some of the new Blu-ray Disc theatrical releases. The BDP-S350 is BD-Live ready and features an Ethernet port for an easy firmware update and access to Internet-based interactive content. The BDP-S550 will be BonusView and BD-Live capable when it ships.

Doherty pointed to the possibilities with Java applications from the movie studios, from third parties, and Java environments supported by Blu-ray player manufacturers like Sony. The discs, he said, will be much richer and interactive. Beyond the socialization, we might see scenarios where folks like children's TV activist Peggy Charren, for example, offer a Java site that passes over the most gory scenes of movies for children under 12.

Let the Innovation Begin

In short, Gosling is absolutely right about the mind-blowing potential of Java in Blu-ray, Doherty said. That's one reason, he added, why Microsoft subsidized the high-definition battle on HD DVD's behalf. Microsoft wanted to block Java from becoming the developer language of choice for high-definition discs, he said.

"There are licenses paid for Java on the disc side and the player side, so it's a long-term revenue win and it's an architectural win and a salute to Gosling and his team, as well as the hundreds of thousands of people who program in Java," Doherty said. "Most of the developers who were working on both platforms are throwing their weight behind Java. Now we'll begin to see all kinds of social interactivity with high-definition players and discs."