'Avatar' Blu-ray Consumers Can't Watch DVD
An unusual glitch has angered some "Avatar" Blu-ray owners. For these unlucky people, since the disc won't play on their Blu-ray players, their new "Avatar" DVD serves no real purpose other than to sit idly on the coffee table.
"When 3 out of 3 players in my house (Denon, Samsung and PC) won't play it, then 20th Century Fox should be slapped with losses on this one," said one irritated customer.
In reality, the disc works fine; the problem stems from the Blu-ray players themselves. In order to run optimally, the firmware for these fancy DVD machines needs to be updated regularly via a download from the Web. ("Firmware" is the program that controls the performance of an electronic device, which would be, in this case, the playback of a Blu-ray disc.) If a Blu-ray player owner doesn't have a home Internet connection, the chances are good the player's firmware will be out of date. Thus making "Avatar" -- a movie that prides itself on being presented with only the most cutting edge of technology -- unplayable with the older firmware.
Unfortunately, people without an Internet connection probably aren't reading this particular story -- or the hundreds of other pieces instructing new Blu-ray player owners on how to upgrade. So they're not aware of the root of a problem. But while they may not have home access to the Internet, they likely do have a telephone. And they've been using their phone to flood retailers with angry calls.
Still, that only seems to be part of the problem for "Avatar" owners.
It appears the main culprit concerning playback issues with "Avatar" is, ironically, the disc's DRM (digital rights management). DRM, which is the very technology meant to prevent bootleggers from illegally copying the film, is the very technology preventing people who actually paid for the disc from watching the film. Even with updated firmware, a lot of Blu-ray players weren't prepared for these security measures.
Despite the security problems, bootleggers are having a field day. Pirated copies of "Avatar," according to Los Angeles Times, were available as early as January.