In an interesting break with tradition, (to my knowledge at least) the online premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug first release preview will become uniquely available to anyone buying a copy of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Blu-ray format.
How does this work? The practice of releasing extras through an ultra-violet code has become common practice now according to BleedingCool:
“Packaged with the [Unexpected Journey Blu-ray] disc will be an Ultraviolet code, allowing you to unlock a streaming version of the film to play from the cloud on all manner of your devices .”
In this particular instance, however, the code will also allow access to the online preview. Announced through the Saul Zaentz Hobbit website, the release date is set for March 23, at 3pm Eastern / 12pm Pacific time. Discs will be available for purchase from the previous Tuesday, March 19th, so if you do want to take the offer up you will have plenty of time to purchase before the Smaug trailer is released. This disc will be a 24fps, 2D or 3D version of the theatrical cut and to add value to the event Peter Jackson will present the release himself.
I do not imagine the purchase is compulsory in order to watch the trailer. The preview is described as a ‘sneak’ preview, in which case I guess it will be the very same to hit the big screen soon after. That date is still uncertain, but it is unlikely to be very soon after the online release as this would render buying the Blu-ray version a little redundant if you’re trying to pique people’s interest into buying the Blu-ray.