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Blu-ray players get a new standard set of features this October

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Blu-ray owners waiting for more Java features and highly interactive releases like the recently announced Matrix compilation on HD DVD could be due for a hardware upgrade this winter. VideoBusiness is reporting that the BDA has mandated all hardware launched after October 31 must support BD-J enabled picture-in-picture video playback, 256MB of persistent memory, and (for players with an internet connection) 1GB of memory for downloads. Currently these features aren't required and picture-in-picture support isn't in the PlayStation 3 or Sony's lower priced BDP-S300 that will debut this summer, ahead of the deadline. BD-J support has been sketchy so far, with many players needing upgrades to run titles like The Descent, which was able to do PiP by including two different versions of the movie on one 50GB disc. High profile DVD producer Van Ling (Star Wars, T2: Special Edition) is working on his first (unspecified) BD-J release, but is worried about supporting so many players with different capabilities. HD DVD mandated PiP and persistent storage support in all players since its initial launch; we'll wait to see if new Blu-ray hardware can implement new features and still continue the downward price trend.

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