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What Do You Mean My New HD DVD Won’t Play?

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When my young granddaughter was visiting for Christmas, she wanted to play one of my HD DVDs. When a strange error code came up that I had not seen before, I put in a regular DVD for her to watch. After Christmas when I seriously needed to catch up on my DVD reviews, I tried several new titles only to get the same message. Then I noticed a note inside the DVD box that warned if I had bought this DVD after purchasing the HD DVD player (less than a year old), "it may not play without an update."

I don't know about you, but I'm updated to death! Does technology have to change every day? As an entertainment journalist I was miffed that I had not heard about this new "firmware" the Toshiba HD DVD players needed since the studios had added new technology that enabled the new DVDs to do even more. Hey, cleaning my house while I watch, I could go for!

When I started getting emails from visitors to my sites, I realized they were upset. "It's bad enough that Microsoft makes us buy all new software every time they change operating systems every two years, now we have to update DVD players?" asked one annoyed consumer.

After going online, doing a download that didn't work the first time, calling the company (twice) to get a free DVD sent, my machine is finally updated, and from what I'm hearing on the web, the update will make the machine work even better.

Home entertainment was once a break from spending big bucks to take the family to the theater and enjoying a movie without someone behind you adding their own dialogue. It required easy decisions: What do you want to watch? What snack do you want?

No so, today. The players are pricey, complicated, and require lots of homework so you can decide what will work with your home system, which studio's product it will play, and apparently now, whether it will be viable long enough to earn back its cost. One good thing about both Blu-ray and HD DVD is that they do produce high quality viewing experiences often better than in the theaters, and the extra features are normally very outstanding. I've been reviewing movies in both formats since they came out and I'm still wowed by the experience every time I watch a new movie on these players.

So after I worry about the high-def player wars (Warner is going Blu-ray, Universal and Paramount are staying with HD DVD, and Samsung has a new unit coming this year that will play both), maybe I can get back to my real job — reviewing their products.

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About Diana Saenger

  • http://www.bluray.com Harmin

    yes but what you dont understand is that technology is changing at an alarming pace… Newer formats are released and are stil changing etc… I for one think its great that you can upgrade your electronics. Ask anyone with the early dvd players what problems they had. But also you forgot to mention is that at least your hd-dvd player has the ability to upgrade firmware while, exception of ps3, most blu-ray players cannot upgrade firmware and are essentially obsolete when it comes to the newer blu-ray movies.

  • Bill

    Older blu-ray players are essentially obsolete? That’s not a statement of fact – that’s an opinion – and I think it’s incorrect.

    Calling older (profile 1.0) blu-ray players obsolete is at best an extreme exaggeration. Here’s why:

    Older blu-ray players can and do play the new Blu-Ray movies without a problem. The new blu-ray discs and the old blu-ray discs have the exact same Hi-Def video and audio, so playing the movies isn’t a problem. And the old players also play most of the extras from the new discs as well. For blu-ray 1.1 discs, an older player loses one thing: the picture-in-picture commentary. That’s it. Not such a big loss, in my opinion. And definitely not something that makes the player “obsolete” when the new blu-ray 1.1 movies and all but one of the extras play just fine on the old blu-ray player.

    And when the newer blu-ray 2.0 movies come out later this year? The older players don’t have the ability for “on-line interaction”, whatever that may be. Personally, my main goal in buying a blu-ray disc is TO WATCH THE MOVIE. And the old blu-ray players will still play the newest blu-ray 2.0 movies just fine. Older blu-ray players are definitely NOT obsolete, seeing as how they continue to server their primary purpose – to play the movie. And above that, they will also play most – not all, but most – of the extra features as well. How can you call that essentially obsolete?

    That said, I still think (again – my opinion – and that of many others) that a PS3 is the best blu-ray player you can buy. Not just because the PS3 easily performs firmware upgrades across your home’s wireless network, but also because the PS3 is such a powerful computer for the money and it does a great job playing blu-ray movies. I’ve already bought three PS3s – one for each TV. I haven’t played a single game on them – but I have watched and enjoyed many blu-ray movies!

  • hi def

    if your older bluray is so good why buy 3 ps3s

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    “And when the newer blu-ray 2.0 movies come out later this year? The older players don’t have the ability for “on-line interaction”, whatever that may be. Personally, my main goal in buying a blu-ray disc is TO WATCH THE MOVIE.”

    That’s your goal. Some people like to get all of what they paid for. If you had paid $1000 for a Blu-ray player at launch, and now the guy who paid $300 can do more, why shouldn’t the consumer be irate?

    If you bought a HD DVD player on day one, it can do everything because it’s a finalized format. Blu-ray was not. It was a mistake, I can’t see any argument seeing it as a positive.

  • http://childoftv.blogspot.com Brent

    “if your older bluray is so good why buy 3 ps3s”

    Well I’m no expert (I don’t even own an HD TV) but I’ve been give to understand that the PS3 is probably the most inexpensive blu-ray player on the market. Maybe that’s why he bought three PS3s.

  • Bill

    “if your older bluray is so good why buy 3 ps3s”

    Sorry I apparently wasn’t clear. I never owned an older blu-ray player. I’ve always used PS3s instead.

    My post had 2 points:

    Point 1 – older blu-ray players face a small negative, but that’s not the same as “essentially obsolete”.

    Point 2 – in my opinion, PS3s are the best blu-ray player to buy, and always have been. If you haven’t bought a blu-ray player yet, then buy a PS3.

    Point 1 expanded and expounded upon – for those people that did buy stand alone Blu-ray players, their players aren’t “essentially obsolete”. They still play just as well today as the day they bought the player. Even for new movies bought next year, their “old” blu-ray player will still play them just as well as it plays to old movies. They will only be missing the new extras (Picture-in-Picture commentaries, when available, and on-line interaction, when available). That IS a negative. But my point is that it’s a small negative, not a large negative that qualifies as making a player “essentially obsolete”. “Essentially obsolete” makes it sound like it’s time to throw away the player because it won’t play the new movies, and that’s not the case. The new movies (and most of their extras) play fine. You only miss out on 2 categories of extras.

    As to paying $1000 at launch vs the new player at $300 does more, that’s ALWAYS going to happen. It happened with DVD! My first DVD player was $1000 dollars (I think I managed to get it on sale for $750). That was the Sony DVP-S7000, a beautiful player. Today, a $40 DVD player can run rings around my $1000 Sony DVP-S7000 DVD player. The new $40 DVD player can play formats my original Sony DVD player never even heard of. It’s called progress. My original $1000 Sony DVD player IS obsolete, because it simply can’t play many of the movies in the newer DVD formats (+r, -r, it even had problems with “normal” DVDs with pictures printed on them). I’m not mad. I’m happy the $40 DVD players came out. I bought three of them as well…

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    “My first DVD player was $1000 dollars (I think I managed to get it on sale for $750). That was the Sony DVP-S7000, a beautiful player. Today, a $40 DVD player can run rings around my $1000 Sony DVP-S7000 DVD player.”

    Yes, but if I owned one of those first DVD players, I could still play with all the special features. When I purchase a disc, I should be able to access of all of its features. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to.

    You’re making pathetic excuses for Blu-ray to justify being ripped off as an early adopter. All HD DVDs are equipped online and have been since day one. All of the features player regardless of the player because they were smart enough to have a standard before launch.

    “They still play just as well today as the day they bought the player. Even for new movies bought next year, their “old” blu-ray player will still play them just as well as it plays to old movies. They will only be missing the new extras”

    Wrong. The BDP-1200 can’t play Sunshine, Pirates 3, Live Free Die Hard, 3:10 to Yuma, and others. Compatibility problems have been a way of life for Blu-ray. That’s not to say the road with HD has been perfect, but as an owner of both, I’ve struggled loads with my Blu-ray player.

    I had one disc issue with HD DVD, and can’t count the number of times something didn’t work right with Blu. Cars menu wouldn’t play right and I couldn’t access features, War locked up when I tried to play some of the menu options, and Monster House wouldn’t get past the 30 minute mark. No excuse.

  • Eli

    “My first DVD player was $1000 dollars (I think I managed to get it on sale for $750). That was the Sony DVP-S7000, a beautiful player. Today, a $40 DVD player can run rings around my $1000 Sony DVP-S7000 DVD player.”

    I have one of these S7000 Sony units. I HIGHLY doubt if you compare build quality, engineering, sound & video quality of the Sony to today’s DVD units, you will find many that will come close to that flagship 7000.

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