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Jerry Del Colliano just posted this article on HomeTheaterReview.com about firmware updates to Blu Ray.

What are the Hollywood studios thinking these days with these feature-loaded Blu-ray titles that have the power to render a player to not play their newest films? While Blu-ray has tremendous power to be updated thus allowing new, sexy added value features - when is enough enough? If you are a heavy collector of movies in HD on Blu-ray or have a Blu-ray enabled subscription to Netflix you know exactly what I am talking about with discs that simply won't play. It doesn't take more than a few weeks of playing movies before you encounter a Blu-ray disc that has some new codex, feature or fomatic that requires you to go to your PC (screw us Mac users) to rip a new firmware update to hopefully allow you to simply watch the movie.

Could you live without playing "Liar's Dice" on the Blu-ray offering of Pirates of the Caribbean? I could. Despite how much some studio spent on an added value feature how is it cool if I can't watch the actual movie? How important are the supplemental materials on a Blu-ray that it forces you to have to do a firmware update on your player? Mainstream users want to simply plunk a disc into the tray, press "play" and watch the movie. DVD-Video provides this level of simplicity yet Blu-ray has decided to make things more and more complicated for the end user. Under $100 players, fast load times and this level of universal simplicity are all key to DVD-Video's success. Why can't Blu-ray follow this path to success a little more closely?

Some people are pretty gun shy with firmware updates for their Blu-ray player and for good reason. I will never forget burning a disc of updates for my first generation $1,000 Samsung BDP-1000 Blu-ray player. In went the disc and dead went the player. Dead, I say. Never to play another disc. It was as if I lit 10 Benjamin Franklins on fire right in my dedicated theater. Of course, the player was out of warranty and I ultimately recycled the unit at a local electronics recycling event and bought another new player. I bought yet another player after that one and another one after that one but despite my investments to stay current with Blu-ray I still need firmware updates to watch The Dark Knight or for my wife to watch Marley any Me from Netflix. I mean c'mon - what could go into Marley and Me that requires a firmware update? Perhaps it's the Jennifer Anniston Boyfriend Finder game on BD Live that did it? Its hard to tell.

Proposed Solutions

In no way am I suggesting that the electronics companies and Hollywood studios should shy away from making Blu-ray better as a format but the constant need for firmware updates needs to be scaled back a bit. One easy fix is to make all Blu-ray players be wireless devices that when new software is available you simply can choose to download it from the Internet via your wired or wireless connection. I am not calling for constant connections so that Big Brother is watching which Digital Playground titles you are spinning in your free time. What I am suggesting is that much like your DirecTV DVR or your Apple iPod Touch asks you when new software is out - your Blu-ray player should do the same.

For legacy players there should be a more standardized time for Blu-ray updates that studios know of. Old players should be stuck without updates but if there was a standardized time for these updates studios and mastering houses would know the exact standard that they need to meet with the discs they release.

Another relatively affordable add-on to players in the future would be to have USB inputs on the front of players so that you don't have to waste burning a DVD from your computer to update your Blu-ray players. Much like the ad campaign against drinking water out of a plastic (throw-away) bottle - you can save a lot of wasted DVD discs if you can update firmware using a cheapie USB flash drive.

In the end people love Blu-ray when they see it. Netflix users proved that they would pay more to watch movies in HD and are now being asked to pay even more which many likely will. But if Blu-ray wants to get the 91 percent market penetration that DVD-Video has they need to make sure the players flat out work.Blu-ray firmware updates Mainstream consumers don't want to endure the buzz kill of having to spend 20 to 30 minutes going to some company's website on a Saturday night at 8 PM to rip a firmware update just as movie night is supposed to be starting. The overall process of keeping a Blu-ray player up to speed with new technologies needs to be a lot more simple for the non-IT professional.

Source: Blu-ray Limits Its Growth Rate With Constant Firmware Updates at HomeTheaterReview.com
 

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Obviously the AV industry has not learned from its mistakes Chrisy!! The format war not long ago from just ruining everything, I myself, just want to go home and push play, and watch a movie. That should not be a challenge. For the mainstream guy, or audiophile, period. But, for whatever reason, rather than embracing this technology to the fullest, and making it fun and a pleasure to use............
I don`t want to deal with firmware updates either!!
 

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I think the worst case scenario is having to run out to Best Buy to buy a new player to watch the latest movie because the manufacturer decided it's no longer profitable to provide firmware updates for your unit.
 

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I think the worst case scenario is having to run out to Best Buy to buy a new player to watch the latest movie because the manufacturer decided it's no longer profitable to provide firmware updates for your unit.
I hear you. Its obvious folks did not fully think things through. I have always thought, though it seems inevitable, that marrying computer technology with A/V equipment, was not a good idea, in the first place.
Computers inherently have their own problems. Crashing, freezing, etc. But, that is where we seem to be headed.
 

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I guess I've just been lucky...I've never had a problem with a disc not loading. I check on an update for the PS3 about every few months to stay up to date...that's about it. Seems sony puts out an update about 3 times a year thus far. I don't get into a lot of the added features so I can't really comment on that.

As long as firmware can be easily updated...you can count on an ever changing format. In time I believe a set of standards will be established, it's just going to take a few years for companies to come up to speed on what they can and can't do with this form of media.

Blu-ray is not the only electronic device on the market with the potential for frequent firmware updates, many AVR's also have this capability, and in time I think we will see many other electronic products have this added capability.

I ask myself why? Are programmers just this bad that we rush these products into production and fix it after it's been out in the field? Is it simply there for potential future proofing? That's not been the trend in electronics...why future proof when you can just sell new product?

Anyway I've got to go update the firmware on my toaster...I detected it wasn't browning the bread to my satisfaction.
 

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I hear you. Its obvious folks did not fully think things through. I have always thought, though it seems inevitable, that marrying computer technology with A/V equipment, was not a good idea, in the first place.
Computers inherently have their own problems. Crashing, freezing, etc. But, that is where we seem to be headed.
We are getting real close to not having AVRs/prepros and disk players at all. Most manufacturers higher end systems have media streaming built in and this will trickle down to the lower cost units in the future. While they may still call them AVRs, they will be more akin to the HTPCs of today. The only disc player will be the one on your media server and that will be there just to get the media into the server. Eventually the media server goes away and content is delivered by the Internet or similar network. A network connection at your HT will be just as important as having a power outlet. (It's pretty close to being that way with the number of game consoles out there now.) Updates are taken care of with automatic updates and the user is not inconvenienced.

I can see Blu-ray taking off as a cheap medium to add content to your server. It won't be a hit with consumers in it's present state.

Now for the "Crashing, freezing, etc". We are starting to see that already in some A/V equipment. :no:
 

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We are getting real close to not having AVRs/prepros and disk players at all. Most manufacturers higher end systems have media streaming built in and this will trickle down to the lower cost units in the future. While they may still call them AVRs, they will be more akin to the HTPCs of today. The only disc player will be the one on your media server and that will be there just to get the media into the server. Eventually the media server goes away and content is delivered by the Internet or similar network. A network connection at your HT will be just as important as having a power outlet. (It's pretty close to being that way with the number of game consoles out there now.) Updates are taken care of with automatic updates and the user is not inconvenienced.

I can see Blu-ray taking off as a cheap medium to add content to your server. It won't be a hit with consumers in it's present state.

Now for the "Crashing, freezing, etc". We are starting to see that already in some A/V equipment. :no:


Yes, we are, you are right. i guess we will just have to grin, and bear it.:foottap:
 

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I guess I've just been lucky...I've never had a problem with a disc not loading.
Same here. The only problem I had at all was about a month ago with a first generation Panny (BD10?). When I moved it to a different system it would play the intros and menus, but would stick on "Reading" when I tried to play the movie itself. Several discs did the same thing.

I wondered if the firmware had gotten corrupted. I went to the Panasonic website and discovered that the firmware update page no longer listed this player. I found it in the website's archives, loaded it into the player and it now works perfectly.

I now have a Panny BD-55 in the main system. I remember it downloading a firmware upgrade automatically via the internet connection when I first set it up. It is set to automatically check for upgrades, so I don't know if it updated since then or not.

I suppose the best strategy is to buy a player from a manufacturer with a proven track record of firmware upgrades and then keep fingers crossed.
 
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