Advanced Content

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Advanced Content provides interactivity in the HD DVD optical disc format.

Advanced Content is used to provide interactive menus and "special features" such as additional bonus/extras content and games for HD DVD (one of the high-definition video formats). The Advanced Content runtime engine is responsible for responding to user navigation input (e.g., from a remote control) as well as events set to occur during playback of a movie, controlling all actions and interactive properties during the playback of a movie. The Advanced Content specification was developed by Microsoft and Disney with input from other members of the DVD Forum including Toshiba and Sonic Solutions.

The ability to play back Advanced Content is a mandatory part of the HD DVD-Video specification. Its features were defined by content providers (specifically Disney and Warner Bros.) based on the scenarios they required for a next generation disc format.[1][2]

The most popular implementation of Advanced Content (running in both the Toshiba HD DVD players and Microsoft Xbox 360 add-on) is Microsoft's HDi.[3]

The rival Blu-ray format does not use Advanced Content. It uses BD-J instead.


Advanced Content is written using the declarative XML language and the imperative ECMAScript language. Advanced Content applications are very similar in structure to AJAX applications on the web, using a combination of script and markup in an asynchronous execution model. A "page" is created using markup and it can be modified over time based on user input, the progression of the movie, and so on. A new "page" may be loaded as needed (e.g., when switching to a different part of the application) and the process starts again.[4]

Advanced Content includes an XML element grammar based on HTML for content such as images, buttons, text, etc.; An XML attribute grammar based on CSS and XSL to describe layout, color, font types, etc.; and an element and attribute grammar based on SMIL for timing, animation, eventing, and synchronization. Whilst it is possible to write complex, interactive pages using only the declarative XML dialect, any interactions with the player itself (e.g., to change audio language or jump to a new title) requires imperative code written in ECMAScript.

To support the ECMAScript code, Advanced Content defines a large number of objects, properties, and methods ("APIs") that are analogous to the DOM in a web browser; these APIs allow the script to query and control the player, animate the markup page, respond to user events, and connect to the internet to download new content such as trailers, cast & crew bios, or other information.


Some examples of Advanced Content on HD DVD are:

  • Interactive features such as picture-in-picture, story boards, actor biographies, GPS, and "Tech specs" on many Universal Studios titles, branded as "U-Control"[5]
  • Passive features such as picture-in-picture and story boards on many Warner Bros. titles, branded as In Movie Experience
  • User-defined chapter points, known as "Bookmarks" or "My Scenes" found on many titles from various studios
  • Downloadable features such as a colouring book on for Shrek the Third from DreamWorks Animation[6]
  • Downloadable trailers and other content on various titles, including Freedom from Bandai Visual
  • On-line shopping for goods and services depicted in the film, such as Evan Almighty from Universal Studios[7]