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.