'

Stop Blu-ray discs from phoning home with AnyDVD HD

Did you know that Blu-ray discs can report back to studios when you play a disc? Yep. The BD-Live feature (which was initially touted as a way of delivering extra content to customers - as though Blu-ray didn't offer enough space in the first place) is being used by studios to keep track of how often you play a disc.

Did you know that Blu-ray discs can report back to studios when you play a disc? Yep. The BD-Live feature (which was initially touted as a way of delivering extra content to customers - as though Blu-ray didn't offer enough space in the first place) is being used by studios to keep track of how often you play a disc.

Just got this in from the folks at SlySoft:

Actually, the intent of BD-Live is, for example, to download several megabytes of additional content such as "extras" or "audio comments" over an on-line connection.

In any event, these are therefore really features that the customer would have expected to find on the costly Blu-ray disc. Surely there is no lack of space on this medium for these sorts of things.

Making things particularly less certain, it remains to be considered that quite a significant number of Players do not provide the user with the option to disable this feature - the Blu-ray content itself lively fires away and without so much as a by-your-leave. And so, many a film fan sits wondering in front of their television sets, oblivious to the reason why it is taking so bloody long for the film to finally begin.

The puzzled consumer is left to rightly pose the question as to what is the reason for this foolish act.

One can only presume that the primary motivation behind this farce is "getting closer" to the customer or, in other words, the studios would like to know exactly how often and when their disc buyers are looking at which film.

Peer van Heuen, the head of development at SlySoft: "When we took a closer look at the first of these disk types we were absolutely dumbfounded. Sometimes the films actually contacted the manufacturer and did that with the user not knowing about it or even being in a position to even recognize that this connection was taking place. I assume that a significant percentage of these film buyers don't know what to make of the little BD-Live logo on the package or even recognize it at all.

In other words: hardly anyone expects that a Blu-ray disc 'makes a telephone call home' while it’s being played. The circumstances and manner whereby unwitting consumers are maliciously and insidiously eavesdropped upon might get the attention of data and security and/or personal privacy experts in some countries sooner or later."

In the current version of AnyDVD HD there is an opportunity to disable BD-Live and in this way the personal privacy of the spied-upon consumer is restored. On top of this, the other points in the change log are impressive and worthy to mention. New variations of "region locks" can now be removed from menus and new versions of BD+ are supported as well.

I don't know about you, but as a consumer I'm getting tired of being spied on.