By David Pogue The New York Times
Wednesday night at Bill Gates's CES keynote speech, one of the most intriguing demos involved a high-definition DVD player prototype. (Microsoft is among the companies that have backed the HD-DVD format, allied against the Blu-ray format endorsed by Sony, Apple and others.)
So it was interesting indeed to see one of these machines in action at last. A Microsoft employee demonstrated the interactivity that's possible on an HD-DVD movie disc. He brought up a superimposed button bar (Pause, Settings, etc.) while the movie was still playing. And the director's commentary featured an actual video of the director's talking head, superimposed on the movie as it played. And the employee could open up a superimposed screenful of details about one of the stars in the movie. "Now I won't get yelled at by the rest of my family for stopping the movie while I look up this information," he said earnestly (I'm paraphrasing).
He got a laugh, but it wasn't supposed to be funny. What he completely missed, of course, is that all this superimposed stuff is horribly distracting! No, his family wouldn't yell at him for stopping the movie--they'd yell at him for covering it up with superfluous superimposed junk!
Doesn't Microsoft realize that people HATE all the superimposed junk these days--the pop-ups, the network logo in the corner, the animated distractions? That's one of the main reasons we WATCH movies on DVD--to escape all of that detritus. And now we're supposed to buy a new player and a new DVD collection so we can superimpose still more crud on our favorite movies?