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Java to Appear in Next-Gen DVD players 330

Ivan P. writes "Sun Microsystems's Java technology will be built into Blu-ray DVD players, executives said on Monday during Sun's JavaOne trade show, a development that advances the technology in the consumer electronics market for which Sun originally developed the software. 'Java will be used for control menus, interactive features, network services and games,' said Yasushi Nishimura, director of Panasonic's Research and Development Company of America. 'This means that all Blu-ray Disc player devices will be shipped equipped with Java.'" Next stop, annoying Flash intros.
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Java to Appear in Next-Gen DVD players

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  • thank god (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MatD ( 895409 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:29PM (#12937387)
    That means it will take about a week for someone to write a crack to bypass all those annoying trailers we have to watch before we can actually watch the dvd we payed for.
  • Great! (Not) (Score:2, Insightful)

    Now my DVD player is going to be slow to respond to UI, just like my mobile phone is now. Next they'll be putting Windows Mobile on these things too, and it will take 45+ seconds to 'boot' the damn thing, like with the Orange C500 phones....
    • Re:Great! (Not) (Score:5, Insightful)

      by spinozaq ( 409589 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:02PM (#12937586)
      This is 'Insightful'?! This is a troll to start Java is slow because applets are stupid war. Java is a platform. Code it how you will. It's obviously a damn good platform considering its extremely wide spread use despite strong arm tactics by its competitors.
    • A player that can decode high definition video should be able to run Java software with incredible speed. Keep in mind that a CPU to handle menus doesn't need to be that powerful.
  • The future is now. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JonLatane ( 750195 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:30PM (#12937395)
    Next stop, annoying Flash intros.

    I believe they're already essentially here, in the form of previews - some of which are unskippable - before you can even get to the menu. (Not Flash, but obviously still something very, very wrong.)

  • by Will_Malverson ( 105796 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:31PM (#12937399) Journal
    Next stop, annoying Flash intros.

    Well, at least they'll take up less space than the current annoying MPEG2 intros...
  • Does this mean I can run NetHack on my new DVD player?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:31PM (#12937405)
    Next stop, annoying Flash intros. Sigh... how this relates to java is beyond me... java is actually a very powerful language that drives alot of enterprise solutions and embedded systems. People always confuse java with java applets, or for some reason think java is crap. I used to too, before I got to know the language better. Oh, do I like Ruby or python better? Sure. But that doesnt remove the fact that java is here to stay and has proven itself more than enough in the enterprise. So why slashdot's hostility towards it remains is beyond me. I've seen large scale systems attempted to be developed in perl and believe me... that doesnt work well at all! :)
    • by Decaff ( 42676 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @01:06AM (#12939007)
      But that doesnt remove the fact that java is here to stay and has proven itself more than enough in the enterprise. So why slashdot's hostility towards it remains is beyond me.

      This hostility is so boring and extremely old fashioned and reactionary.

      I have seen exactly the same thing in the 70s when developers were complaining about procedural code, and wanted to keep their 'GOTO's.

      I have also seen the same thing in the 80s when the idea of using C or C++ in place of assembler was consider too innovative, slow, and demanding of memory.

      And again, in the 90s, there was the same reaction against the use of OOP.

      Now that procedural development, the use of high level languages, and OOP are now mainstream, the same old arguments are being used against safe and VM-based languages like Java.
  • by Sv-Manowar ( 772313 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:32PM (#12937406) Homepage Journal

    After reading the article, it seems to me that these new media standards are pushing far beyond just new ways to store video. Gosling is quoted as saying "Part of the DVD standard is the players have network ports out of the back". This just smacks of network controlled DRM, and the ability to run java bytecode when the discs boot could allow a whole new range of lockdown facilities on the disks. Not to mention the amount of complexity having network & JVM functionality must be introducing to the end units. Surely even mass production wil struggle to bring such complex devices down to sane prices in the near future.

    This would appear to be strongly pushing the bias of practicality toward the opposing HD-DVD camp, while attempting to strengthen Blu-Ray's position as technologically more advanced and superior.

    • by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:35PM (#12937428)
      yeah, but you are forgetting, using java could allow easy reverse engineering of the player. java is cake to reverse engineer, it would take someone no time to pump out a solution that lacks the DRM features, or atleast come up with a way to cirumvent the DRM features (such as a fake server to "authenticate" against)

      i see it as a great thing
    • This just smacks of network controlled DRM


      and the ability to run java bytecode when the discs boot could allow a whole new range of lockdown facilities on the disks.

      How is this different from running any other software when the discs boot? The use of Java bytecode has no relevance to lockdown.

      Not to mention the amount of complexity having network & JVM functionality must be introducing to the end units. Surely even mass production wil struggle to bring such complex devices down to sane pric
    • Surely even mass production wil struggle to bring such complex devices down to sane prices in the near future.

      You're kidding, right? Building a unit that can use Java for network connectivity and menus won't be very expensive. Your average TiVo box or PDA has more horsepower than they need for that, and I don't see a lot of problems with mass production of those.

      I'd expect next-gen DVD players to enter the market at around a $200 price point anyways.
    • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) * on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:50PM (#12937518)
      Although I see what you are saying about the danger of a network based DRM creeping into discs, I think it very unlikley - a deivce that requires a working network connection would not be nearly as mass-market as DVD players are today. It simply cannot be a requirement.

      There may be some specialized discs that do something like this but I don't not think it will be mandatory.
  • Kinda funny, Java started as a language for programming TV cableboxes, and after years of evolving into everything from J2ME to J2EE, it finds itself back home atop the TV in DVD players.
  • by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:39PM (#12937456) Homepage
    Is it just me, or am I the only one completely freakin annoyed with DVD menus? One out of every two has a DVD menu that is absolutely infuriating from a usability perspective. Half the time I'm guessing at what is about to happen, as there appears to be not one freakin convention in the industry as to how DVD menus should be laid out, operate, and respond. I appears to be a totally 'make-work' industry, and nobody can convince me that the production of fancy interfaces doesn't cost a little extra. I'm not saying you can't figure them out after a little fumbling, but sheesh, I'm buying a movie and some comentary, not a magazine that happens to contain a movie.

    ARGH. Probably one of my absolute top peeves of the last 10 years of technology. Its enough to make one weep for the comforting sight of a simple, nondescript blinking 12:00.

    As for Java, I don't care what it is. I hope to god that interface creation is done through SOME kind of standardized framework or toolkit so at least widgets can at least act, if not look similar, DVD to DVD.

    I know I'm asking for a lot tho, because it really seems to me that there are a lot of things in our technilogical world that are done simply because somebody sees a potential way to make money and successfully sells the problem (standardized DVD menus, in this case, the horror) to an industry.
    • by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:45PM (#12937500)
      Same here, but the "most annoying DVD feature of all time" prize goes to (taaa-daah!) unskippable trailers/clips/FBI warnings/whatever. In some recent releases, it's downright infuriating - with up to three movie trailers you have to go through before you can even get to the content.

      Publicists should be shot.
      • I've never seen a DVD which forces you to watch trailers. Is this a regional thing (I live in Region 4) or something that only happens with DVDs of very recent films?
        • My brother has a friend who owns a video store, so we get to watch a lot of DVDs at home - yes, most recent "blockbuster" releases have unskippable trailers. Shrek 2, as it has been mentioned a few times here, is one of them. Alexander was another one.

          I live in region 4 aswell, but we usually see a lot of DVDs for other regions (the wonders of region-free players!)
      • There is a very simple way around all of this...and I am supprised more people haven't found out about this the next chapter button. It has worked on every dvd played flawlessly..
        • Not for me. The DVD standard allows buttons to be disabled. The DVD author usually disables the next title, fast forward, and menu buttons. My usual trick was to hit the stop button, then the menu button which would take me to the main title menu. But I recently got a DVD (MacGyver Season 2) that disables the stop button during the FBI warning. That is totally evil.

          Your player may just not honor the UOP (User Operation Prohibited) part of the DVD spec. But that is a totally cool violation with me.
      • Are for children's videos.

        Some of the Thomas the Tank Engine videos my three-year old is in love with have 3 seperate, unskippable "We made this!" snippets, along with the FBI warning and two trailers. (At least the latter are skippable.)

        Now add in menus that have to go through the entire minute plus animation before responding, it can easily take three minutes from disc insert to viewing the video. Ever waited with a three year old desperate for his fix for that long?


      • unskippable trailers/clips/FBI warnings/whatever

        Video Help [] is your friend - look up your dvd player and crack it. Chances are good your player is easily hackable to disable the unskippable crap. If yours isn't on the list, at least you now have a list of what DVD players to consider buying when you want to upgrade.
    • I completely agree. You'd figure by now the movie industry has figured that their menus are hard to use, especially to a computer-illeterate user (ie. probably more than half their audience).

      Hell, since I moved away from my parents' house they no longer rent DVDs. Yep, back to VHS, because they find DVD menus too confusing and frustrating. They don't care about special features or better image/sound quality, so for them DVDs were only a step backwards. And I'm sure they're not the only ones who feel that w
    • DVD menus should be completely declarative, and the exact layout should be decided and implemented by the player. This would allow for players which can attempt to read the menu captions out for blind viewers, among other benefits. It would also mean that they would by necessity be less flashy and annoying, and they'd work the same for every DVD. It wouldn't work the same on every DVD player, but then people might start shopping for DVD players based on who has the best UI, which would be fine by me.

      • Blind viewers? Is that like deaf listeners?

        Seriously, I didn't think blind people would listen to movies... seems like a terribly boring thing to do.
        • I have a blind couple as a client, and was surprised to find a big-screen TV and DVD player in their front room. Apparently there is quite an industry in selling movies for the blind - complete with voiceovers telling you what's happening. From what they said, porn dominates that market, too!
    • My pet peeve with menus is ones where the highlight of a menu selection is swapping a colour on the icon or the words, as opposed to an arrow or something similar. It's fine if there's three or more options, but if there's only two and you forget which one is the highlight colour, you have no idea which menu item you have selected. Bad menu designer! No cookie for you!
    • Many times I have found myself literally swearing at the DVD player because the menus are so bad. As if the poor design isn't enough, the damn animated transitions make everything so slooooooooow.

      Now with Java coming I'm sure we can look forward to a whole new universe of sluggish, buggy interfaces. I forsee a day when it doesn't just take 5 seconds to go from screen to screen, but it there is a maddening delay between moving the selection from one item to another on the SAME screen. That will be SWEET.

    • "sigh..."

      First off I agree that many menus are obnoxious, and not straight forward to the user. There is also a lot of overuse of video clips going into and out of menus.

      However, when you purchase a movie/TV show/etc. you are buying a creative piece. You may not consider it art, but the people who create it do. They (and in many cases 'they' refers to the studios more than the producers/directors/actors/etc but the studios do also own creative rights to the work), they have the right to create a who

  • Not Java but JVM. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by burnttoy ( 754394 )
    Editors, you should try to correct the original article not parrot it. 'nuff said

    Anyhoo.. what they are saying (which I think is pretty cool) is that the movies will be scripted by programs "written in" java byte codes. Who cares what the language is (java is a language editors). It could even be Flash something or other, or C++ compiled on Windows as long as the output is JVM byte codes who cares. This _could_ lead to very interesting development tools and quite imaginative use of next gen disks.

    More int
    • Uh, OK ... so how many people are writing code that gets output as Java bytecode but is not written in Java?

      You sure you're not thinking of .Net? (And no, that's not a troll.)
      • Re:Not Java but JVM. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by burnttoy ( 754394 )
        As far as I understand it the .Net technologies and this are complimentary in that they tackle different but similar problems. Although .Net supplies a byte code interpreter of its own (CLR) it isn't necessary to use it (in fact most .Net apps are compiled to x86 machine language). .Net supplies a standard for language and API linkage data, representations of API's if you like. JVM supplies a binary level interface for execution of code. Also, it isn't that people aren't (they are just in very small number
        • Re:Not Java but JVM. (Score:3, Informative)

          by PCM2 ( 4486 )
          If you do a little studying, I think you'll find that your understanding is erroneous. The .Net Framework is "the managed programming model for Windows" -- Microsoft has trademarked that phrase, in fact. Managed code means the CLR. You might write .Net applications in C++, but you most certainly don't write them in assembly language. You can link to unmanaged objects, but a .Net application is implicitly managed.

          While there are a number of ways to generate Java bytecode from code that is not Java, these ar
          • by Dacta ( 24628 )

            The JVM back end for GCC you mention describes itself as "highly experimental."

            Untrue. The Java-GCC backend can be used now, for significant program. For instance, Fedora 4 ships the Eclipse IDE compiled using GCC.

            Sun has said that it has no interest in supporting languages other than Java on the JVM.

            Untrue. JDK 6.0 will include an API to use scripting languages directly, and will include a Javascript-on-Java implementation. There is also Project Coyote (scripting languages on Sun's Netbeans IDE),

  • by metalpet ( 557056 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:45PM (#12937493) Journal
    > Next stop, annoying Flash intros.

    The playstation 2 already has a flash player in it, used by various games for their menu systems among other things.
    I guess game companies try not to annoy their customers, so Flash gets used reasonably there.
  • by Scott Swezey ( 678347 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:45PM (#12937494) Homepage
    Damn, now we just need to get these things a network connection and a plugin for Azureus, then I can download new movies before their released, watch them on my TV, and maybe if its also one of those nifty VHS/DVD combo things, burn my new movie to a disk.
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) * on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:53PM (#12937535)
    The inclusion of Java could lead to nicer open source DVD authoring apps that would allow easier control over menu workings. And it's a lot nicer to have a standard language underneath rather than the cryptic menu building language of todays DVD's.

    At the very least those games they always throw on kids DVD's might not be so awful to play if they do not have to be shoe-horned into a system never really designed for games.
  • So what makes this more attractive than the PS3? I don't see why they want to add games to a basic DVD player. A normal blue-ray DVD player might be around the same price when they both start hitting the market full-scale.

    This convergence thing is really starting to go too far. Does anyone else agree, or do people actually want all your products to do a gazillion things?

    • There are lots and lots and lots of DVD's with "games" on them today. Mostly kids DVD's but not all.

      I use the term loosely because the games are hampered by the fairly horrific need to use the DVD menu system to play them. This makes for really annoying games, even if you like the basic concept.

      In the DVD release of National Treasure, they had actually kind of a cool little movie/game, that was trying to interactively demonstrate different forms of encryption. It had some kind of interesting activities
  • It's funny how every specialty manufacturer attempts to reach out to another not-new-and-already-dominated market segment with an idea that they should have committed to years ago.

    It sounds like they want some kind of time shifting device that's network enabled. Let's see, time shifting? Yup done. Now networked media device? Yup done.

    So that means my mega-corporation will make a device that will be higher priced that no one will buy because the price is too high and the feature set too vague! "Let's
  • I'm happy to see this. It's a big piece of the technology market that is going to be occupied by someone other than Microsoft. Can you imagine if every DVD player in the future had Windows and .NET in it? It would take less than a year for Microsoft to begin forcing all DVD player owners to become XBox owners.
  • "Java bytecode" isn't very specific. Will this be running J2ME? Something new? What?
  • Finally... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Ingolfke ( 515826 )
    I can run Eclipse on my Blu-Ray player!
  • by Cereal Box ( 4286 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @11:09PM (#12938354)
    Joe Sixpack inserts his new DVD into the drive and...

    "NullPointerException? WTF?"
  • Now you have a retro gaming machine, and with 50 gig per blue-ray disc, lots of room left over!
  • I predict the RIAA will be the number one revenue stream for malware authors, whose spyware and viruses will primarily be used to detect illegal files on the home network and alert the DVD player server to lock you out. I figure that's the main reason for the Java, to make it easy to calculate and update encryption. Conceivably an i-Mode type network could be built but it's hard to imagine all companies working together in step on it..
  • by tod_miller ( 792541 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @04:55AM (#12939804) Journal
    Not even his posted comment, but to him, he is objectionable:

    Next stop, annoying Flash intros.

    Right... the processor that will run the JVM, if not a specific Java chip, then the DVD will certainly have a chip capable of running an embedded flash player.

    Now. I have to shout sorry:


    1) It has nothing to do with Java - THIS news is AWESOME and I look forward to being able to write my own programs to take screen caps, and write a whimsical comment while the player is playing, and email it to a friend. Or keep a log of my movies and ratings as I watch them, or write a book mark sharing XML format, and wire it to the remote, so you can bookmark film locations, and plug your own audio commentary on them. (think about wedding videos / holiday video, and you will see why this is nice - but also for mainstream stuff)

    2) So, Java can do games and animation, and even there are Java flash players, and SVG players, and MPEG4 players. Just because the technology is there, doesn't mean annoying 'Flash' (unrelated) intros.

    3) *ahem*

    What is more annoying is the abundance of unskipable content on DVD's, and this has nothing to do with either of the unrelated technologies that you have mentioned.

    If this can be screwed off, I would be happier, I still haven't had time to look for a firmware hack for my DVD player.

  • OK, yes, the announcement is something new and it is relevant for /. to report this kind of story, but as far as the DVD industry is concerned, they blew their chance and this is essentially old news.

    Every DVD player comes equiped with its own CPU, and even its own assembly code that is a part of the DVD-Video specification. This is already a part of the DVD-Video spec from even the very beginning. The problem is that Hollywood (together with the other members of the DVD Consortium... now DVD Forum) deliberately crippled the CPU so that it could in reality do very little. I've described this CPU has having 26 registers, no RAM at all, and 1 TB ROM address space, with incredible video capabilities but lousy rendering capabilities (sub-pictures).

    Frankly, I think the DVD Forum blew their chance at having a cheap consumer entertainment computer back when the original design was put together back in the mid 1980s. If the CPU would have even had just a little bit more computing power, including a small (even 64 K) amount of RAM and text rendering capabilities (nothing new or even expensive to implement back when the design was being put together) they would have had not only a movie playing machine, but a computing platform that would have been more widely distruted than the X-Box or Playstation.

    Even before the DVD-Video 1.0 spec came out (it was at a beta 0.98 when I mentioned this) I was suggesting to the design committee for DVD-Video to incorporate Java into the specification. Even then (about 10 years ago) I felt that some sort of programming environment would have been both easy to implement and offer to make DVD-Video something well beyond a simple movie playback box. Obviously my idea fell on deaf ears. Too bad I didn't patent the idea (perhaps I should have).

    The DVD Forum will probabaly screw this one up as well, but at least they are going down the right general direction. IMHO there is no reason to make it specific to the Blu-ray format except as a splash to make the new generation of players seem to have more capabilities. Existing DVD discs certainly could be using this same capability, and there is plenty of space on a DVD for some binary (even raw source code) programming instructions, with a full two hour movie.
  • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @11:43AM (#12941779) Homepage
    Do I get this right?

    A $50 box that is quiet, plugged into my TV, plugged into the Internet, and can run custom code from a custom disk that I burn?

    Possible applications anyone?

    A cheap slave box with a custom Java code that functions as an alternate type of MythTV front end, that streams video on demand from a MythTV backend?

    Games? (Using only the remote control as an input device?)

    A general porpoise Java app could be written that talks to a server, where the server "drives" the user interface on the TV screen. This general purpose DVD only needs to be released once. Applications can be written on your Linux box that present any type of user interface for any purpose. Home control menus and applications, for example. Show me the latest Slashdot headlines. (But the custom code for this is on the Linux box, the DVD is just a general remote driven user interface toolkit.) Show me the current weather map. Show me the front door security camera.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."