Panasonic said Tuesday that it had introduced the first Blu-ray player to be based on the Final Standard Profile, which adds new functionality that so far has been missing from Sony's format.
For example, picture-in-picture will be available for the first time in Blu-ray; previously it was only offered by HD DVD players and is useful for displaying special feature content alongside a movie. Additionally, other features which made the interactivity superior in HD DVD are now making it onto Blu-ray.
This is because the new standard makes certain interactivity features mandatory. Panasonic's DMP-BD30 player is the first player to support the new standard, also known as Blu-ray Profile 1.1.
Unfortunately, older players from Panasonic and other Blu-ray manufacturers may not be upgradable to the new standard due to changing hardware requirements, leaving early adopters without full functionality. Only the PlayStation 3 will be upgradeable to Profile 1.1. However, Profile 1.1 does not mandate an Ethernet connection for downloading extra content, which will come in Profile 2.0.