New Alien Anthology Is Pushing Blu-ray Technology Forward

Next week on November 10, all self-respecting science fiction fans will be rushing to their local store to buy the Alien Blu-ray anthology. With over 60 hours of special features, the original and director's cut of all four Alien movies and some impressive technological advancements for Blu-ray technology itself, it's as complete a HD movie collection as you'll ever get.

Completely remastered for the Blu-ray format, Fox has pulled out all stops for the Alien Anthology Blu-ray set, including the introduction of the first major technical advancement of Blu-ray since BD-Live with their "Unbound mode". Essentially a small piece of data is copied to the storage on your Blu-ray player that means you don't have to log out of the movie when you change discs to another film. While the need to have your Blu-ray player always at the ready so you can watch an Alien marathon may not sound like much, when coupled with the special features "MU-TH-ER" mode, it's genius.

MU-TH-ER is an on screen display that lets you see what special features are relevant to the section of film you're watching at any point in time. It's broken down into audio, video and data, and during playback you can manually set bookmarks for special features you may want to watch later. Because all the special features are stored on discs five and six of the box set, when you're done watching the films, you use Unbound mode to switch to the special features discs and have a ready made playlist of all the stuff you want to watch.

The potential for Unbound mode is probably best suited to Blu-ray editions of TV series. How many times have you had to change discs midway through a cliffhanger finale, as you battle with the frustration of loading the disc up and wading through the anti piracy messages again and again. While there's no guarantee we'll see this tech move outside of the Alien boxset, chances are Fox will start rolling it out to their collections pretty soon.

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