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Korean Firm Pitching Blu-ray Bypass Option

A Korean technology developer has begun marketing an interactive platform in the U.S. that could turn Blu-ray high-definition DVD players into networked platforms for providing high-definition content directly to viewer's TV screens.

With the program, dubbed Biddle (for business middleware), the disc players could bypass cable and satellite companies as providers of HD content.

But executives at Dreamer, the firm that developed Biddle, said they are pitching the interactive platform to domestic cable operators, too.

“We want to be a service provider” to content creators, distributors, retailers and other consumer-electronics companies, said Jim Braun, CEO of Namsung America (which also does business as Dual Electronics).

With the technology, Blu-ray players would be more than just a one-function box, they said. As a networked technology, the consumer hardware may deliver tailored advertising, measure viewership and refresh content, such as DVDs, after consumer purchases.

The middleware will be distributed by Namsung America, a 42-year-old electronics manufacturer in Korea, where the product is in use and has 1 million subscribers. Content is delivered by that nation's top Internet provider (Korea Telecom) and cable operator (CJ CableNet), including home shopping, games, social-networking applications and films, all in high-definition.

Unlike applications such as Microsoft TV, the content delivered via Biddle is manipulated with a remote control, not a keyboard.

The executives said they are pushing into the U.S. market now because Blu-ray has won out as the standard for high-definition DVD players, and the technology is 90% similar to the hardware used in Korea.

Also, developers believe Blu-ray players will hit a $249 to $299 price point by this holiday season, accelerating their penetration into American homes.