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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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  • by Decaff ( 42676 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:42PM (#12937470)
    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 prices in the near future.

    What complexity? Most new mobile phones have JVMs built in. There has been no struggle to bring these 'complex devices' to 'sane prices'.
  • 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 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.
  • Re:Great! (Not) (Score:3, Informative)

    by Osty ( 16825 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:05PM (#12937600)

    Well, my TIVO has the Linux O/S and it's as slow as christmas. It ain't got anything to do with the UI you idiot, it's the speed of the CPU in the thing.

    In Tivo's case, it actually is Java. The interface used to be very quick and snappy. Then they decided to push the Home Media Option out to all users, and the same quick, responsive UI has now slowed down to a horrible crawl. The hardware didn't change at all, only the software.

    As for the poster making the crack about putting Windows Mobile on a box, Microsoft already has a program with Comcast and Motorola where the HD DVR box Comcast offers uses Microsoft technology. I have no idea if it's WinCE-based or Windows XP Embedded-based, but it's very quick and responsive compared to my now-sluggish Tivo. It doesn't have all of the searching and filtering features of Tivo (I wish it at least had thumbs-up/down), but it has a more responsive UI and records HD streams so I use it much more than my Tivo (relegated to my bedroom TV and a basic cable feed).

  • Re:Java IS sux (Score:4, Informative)

    by Decaff ( 42676 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:11PM (#12937627)
    Note: the majority of people couldn't give a hang about back-end, so called 'enterprise' solutions with Java)

    Yes, because, like, no-one uses E-Bay, banks, stock-markets, airline on-line booking systems.

    I'm sure the majority of people couldn't give a hang about these.
  • by Decaff ( 42676 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:16PM (#12937655)
    Because Java is slow, takes a lot of processor cycles,

    As shown by Linpack benchmarks run last year, Java can run at up to 95% of the speed of optimised C++.

    and eats memory like there's no tomorrow.

    Embedded Java systems can run in as little as a few hundred KB of memory.

    This is going to seriously hinder blu-ray adaption.

    Just as the use of Java on mobile phones has (not) hindered the production of Java games and applications for those phones?

    A Java implementation means at least 30% more processor power and memory than otherwise needed.

    Why not look at the real situation and not present a years-old outdated view of Java?
  • Re:Great! (Not) (Score:5, Informative)

    by pivo ( 11957 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:34PM (#12937765)
    In Tivo's case, it actually is Java. The interface used to be very quick and snappy. Then they decided to push the Home Media Option out to all users

    The problem with your reasoning is that the quick and snappy UI was also in Java.
  • Re:Great! (Not) (Score:5, Informative)

    by JebusIsLord ( 566856 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:51PM (#12937873)
    a) Java was DESIGNED for embedded systems, first and foremost. That's why it is hardware-agnostic; because it allows the hardware makers to throw in whatever chips are cheap in bulk at the time, change on a whim, and still push out the same upgrade to everyone. Being cross-platform in the MacOS/Linux/Windows way was just sort of a side-effect. Think about how much this will benefit set-top manufacturers!!

    b) Java isn't interpreted anymore... its just-in-time compiled and then executed as native code. A bit of a start-up pause while the classes compile, that's all.
  • Re:ARG (Score:3, Informative)

    by Decaff ( 42676 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:17PM (#12938017)
    No this isn't a shot at Java this is a shot at over building things. What's next Java in my car?

    It may already be there:,39044164, 39185006,00.htm []
  • Re:Not Java but JVM. (Score:3, Informative)

    by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:26PM (#12938077) Homepage
    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 are largely academic. The JVM back end for GCC you mention describes itself as "highly experimental." There's Jython, but Python is itself a fully interpreted language, so it doesn't count. Sun has said that it has no interest in supporting languages other than Java on the JVM.

    The CLR, on the other hand, was designed from the ground up to be a runtime environment suited to multiple languages. Right now, right at this minute, in addition to C# you can write .Net applications in a variety of languages, including Managed C++, Visual Basic, a language called J#, and JScript. Active work is being done to port other languages to it; I keep hearing about Haskell, for instance.
  • by Decaff ( 42676 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @11:09PM (#12938358)
    Aw, come on. Don't use some obscure, rare example as a means of "proving" that java is good. Look at the majority of software out there that's written in java. It just plain sucks.

    Ok. Let's take an obscure rare example like... E-Bay!

    The entire site is written in Java. It is one of the most high-performance, reliable and successful websites ever written. Your bank uses Java. All major stock exchanges (with tens of thousands of transactions per second) use Java.

    It takes forever to fire up due to the VM,

    Java 1.5 now has VM start-up times in a few hundred milliseconds at most.

    is sluggish on GUI response,

    Not now. Have you tried Swing or SWT on Java 1.5?

    and soaks up RAM like a sponge (near 300MB of RAM to use the iPlanet web server admin interface?? WTF!?)

    So don't use the iPlanet Web server.

    Face it, java may offer some advantages to the programmer, but the end user suffers for it. Plus, I've seen far more java exception errors than I've ever seen segmentation faults.

    With good reason. Most errors in C/C++ programs that corrupt memory are hidden and never discovered. These lead to problems that allow viruses and worms to attack. Maybe it is just me, but I would rather use a language that threw an exception whenever I did something wrong..
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) * on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @12:48AM (#12938927)
    Just not right away.

    Don't believe Microsoft would be so stupid? Read this []!

    As the saying goes - Game Over, Man! And not for Sony.

    And for cross-reference, Balmer said as much (about the eventual inclusion of HD-DVD) when interviewed by Engadget way back in May. Actually what he really said then was they could go other way, but the link I provided seems to indicate which way they are swinging - and is anyone surprised it's whatever Sony is NOT doing?
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:01AM (#12939208)
    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.
  • Re:Great! (Not) (Score:4, Informative)

    by SewersOfRivendell ( 646620 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:08AM (#12939236)
    Show me a set-top box running off a battery.

    Java actually wasn't designed for generic 'embedded systems', it was designed for set-top boxes, but it was apparently too expensive for the prospective customers.

    So this was Gosling's original intent. I don't know whether it's good or bad that it's now fulfilling that intent. I'd rather see Ruby in the standard, it'd be a lot easier to work with (and cheaper to license).

  • Re:Great! (Not) (Score:2, Informative)

    by -brazil- ( 111867 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @04:29AM (#12939738) Homepage
    Nope, it's you who's confused. Java has made use of JIT compilers since at least version 1.2. The platform independent bytecode (Java .class files) is compiled to platform-dependant machine code while it runs. At first this was done to all the code, which increased startup delays a lot, nowadays only the frequently-executed code (on a per-method basis) is JIT-compiled, the rest is indeed interpreted, which gets you the best of both worlds.
  • Re:Great! (Not) (Score:2, Informative)

    by rjshields ( 719665 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @04:48AM (#12939790)
    Really? It's not interpreted anymore??? I was under the impression that java has had a virtual machine ever since it was designed
    You seem to be under the incorrect impression that the presence of a virtual machine means interpreted code.
    I think you may possibly be confused with javascript
    It's quite obvious to me and anyone with an ounce of sense that the grandparent is *not* talking about Javascript.
  • Re:thank god (Score:3, Informative)

    by RDW ( 41497 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @06:46AM (#12940074)
    You might find these pages useful: [] [] []
    (brief descriptions of the current DVD VM commands).
  • Re:thank god (Score:2, Informative)

    by -brazil- ( 111867 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @08:29AM (#12940404) Homepage

    Correction: Java has not exploitable buffer overflows, because arrays have a fixed size and any array access is checked against that size, so attempts to write beyond the end of the array result in an ArrayIndexOutOfBoundException rather than smashing the stack. Most other common (in C) forms of exploits don't exist because there is no pointer arithmetic.
  • 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.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers