Your Opinion on Firmware Updates, Now and In the Future - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: What is the Future of Firmware Updates?
I love Firmware Updates, they make my machine better, Keep them constantly coming 0 0%
Firmware Updates are simply a necessity due to the inconsistencies of a new format 0 0%
Firmware Updates should only be for videophiles, A Player should be able to play all discs 0 0%
Whats a Firmware Update??? 0 0%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 0. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 74 Old 07-10-2009, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Firmware updates were an absolute must for the past 3 years, the weaning, of Bluray. However, as Bluray is trying to break into mainstream America with a Bluray player hooked up to every HDTV what is the future of Firmware Updates?

Here is a quick poll to gauge what you think.
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post #2 of 74 Old 07-10-2009, 10:18 AM
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Well they shouldn't have jumped the gun and rushed the machines into production without a final standard just to try and kill HD-DVD but all machines should be able to play any disk you stuff into them I think.
Maybe not do live view and whatever but the disk and normal extras should work, and if not update the machine.
My Panasonic bd10a has played everything I've fed it so far including AVCHD dvd disks and they have updated it quite a few times to fix things or add features. A lot of the latest bargain players don't get any updates so if your lucky it will play everything, if not you play the waiting game or return it
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post #3 of 74 Old 07-10-2009, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
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I think your right about rushing Bluray, absolutely.

But now that its been nurtured for the past few years, I think its time that all NEW players, need to play every disc. I don't think your going to get mom and pop and mainstream America to have to constantly be doing Firmware Updates just to watch a move. I think the BDA has to crack down on studios making problem discs, and make them all conform to a standard, so that every new player plays every new disc with no problems. It all comes down to the BDA needing to get their act together.

But for features and such, AWAY FROM THE ACTUAL PLAYING OF A DISC, I'm all for firmware updates.
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post #4 of 74 Old 07-10-2009, 10:35 AM
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For myself I like them. In the olden days of DVD players if something changed drastically with a new feature or so you had to buy a new player. Updates make that unnecessary. However, I do understand that this will probably not go well with the general populace...I know my family (Mom, sister, and brother) will not put up with it.

My complaint is with some CEs that make updating less "user friendly" - Denon AVRs come to mind. Updating my three BD players, Oppo BD83, Pioneer 51FD, and Panasonic BD30 are a breeze I just wish I could update my Denon 4308 as easily.

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post #5 of 74 Old 07-10-2009, 10:41 AM
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Using a Linksys Wireless Ethernet Bridge makes life easier. I have no idea on how many CD-Rs I have used over the years with all the players I have had! And with the issues some titles cause (Like T2 Skynet) firmware updating is not an option anymore. It is a function and or maintenance that must be done.

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post #6 of 74 Old 07-10-2009, 10:48 AM
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Well, I didn't vote, because there wasn't an option that said "FW updates for stable products should never be required". Maybe option 3 is the closest, but IMHO even videophiles should have no need for FW updates.

IMHO some initial FW updates right after release are probably a necessity in today's market of getting the product to consumers as soon as possible, but once a product "works" there should be no call for FW updates.

Unfortunately, with studios apparently constantly juggling the DRM stuff to fix what last got hacked, the FW updates are now driven by new titles not playing. Which is not the OEM's fault, and I look forward to the day when OEMs push back on the studios and say "quit buggering about, I'm sick and tired of maintaining 40 different FW update stacks for our current and legacy players!"

But maybe I'm just tilting at windmills...

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post #7 of 74 Old 07-10-2009, 11:08 AM
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There's no way to avoid firmware updates. With evolving technology it's a must. We did need firmware updates in the beginning of the DVD era. With the BDs, what we have is a computer far more powerful than the old mainframes playing our discs. No way are they going away.......
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post #8 of 74 Old 07-10-2009, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shinksma View Post

Well, I didn't vote, because there wasn't an option that said "FW updates for stable products should never be required". Maybe option 3 is the closest, but IMHO even videophiles should have no need for FW updates......Unfortunately, with studios apparently constantly juggling the DRM stuff to fix what last got hacked, the FW updates are now driven by new titles not playing. Which is not the OEM's fault, and I look forward to the day when OEMs push back on the studios and say "quit buggering about, I'm sick and tired of maintaining 40 different FW update stacks for our current and legacy players!"

I agree with almost all of that, thats why I voted for 3 myself.

If I just want to watch the movie, my player should not need a firmware update. To expect consumers to do so will leave Bluray with the fate of always just being a niche product.
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post #9 of 74 Old 07-10-2009, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shinksma View Post

well, i didn't vote, because there wasn't an option that said "fw updates for stable products should never be required". Maybe option 3 is the closest, but imho even videophiles should have no need for fw updates.

Imho some initial fw updates right after release are probably a necessity in today's market of getting the product to consumers as soon as possible, but once a product "works" there should be no call for fw updates.

Unfortunately, with studios apparently constantly juggling the drm stuff to fix what last got hacked, the fw updates are now driven by new titles not playing. Which is not the oem's fault, and i look forward to the day when oems push back on the studios and say "quit buggering about, i'm sick and tired of maintaining 40 different fw update stacks for our current and legacy players!"

but maybe i'm just tilting at windmills...

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike171979 View Post

i agree with almost all of that, thats why i voted for 3 myself.

If i just want to watch the movie, my player should not need a firmware update. To expect consumers to do so will leave bluray with the fate of always just being a niche product.

+1!

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post #10 of 74 Old 07-10-2009, 11:59 AM
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The first Pioneer multi format audio dvd player got a update that helped fix dvd audio and SACD playback but they refused to either provide a update disks or allow consumers to download it and update them selves. They insisted you take it to the nearest service center and up to 2 weeks later you'd get the player back. All they did was put in the factory update disk pioneer sent the authorized service centers and that takes maybe 5 minutes tops
Finally some people got a hold of the disk because they forgot and left it in their machine or something and normal users were able to update it unofficially them selves, I did
Some manufacturers are too paranoid that somebody will brick their machine, or too worried that maybe we'll figure out how to hack something that they want total control, others figure it saves them time and money overall and make the updates readily available. I voted I like updates myself but I do agree the basic playback functions should work from the start, updates should add feature or fix minor problems that crop up.
As far as my parents they would never know how to update anything, I would have to make a disk and bring it over and update it for them. They have a hard enough time figuring out hot to get the AV system to do anything they want it to as it is A harmony 880 remote fixed most of that for them but I still have to reprogram it when something changes.
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post #11 of 74 Old 07-10-2009, 06:10 PM
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I don't mind f/w updates, they are a necessary evil at this point. Plus remember, it's an interaction between the player and how any particular disc is authored. As long as the disc authoring continues to evolve, the hardware (and f/w) will have to change to keep up.

USB f/w updates rule. I had one player where I had to burn a CD to upgrade it. That was a pain in the butt, and I wouldn't buy a player that only had that as a method now.

If it's not worth waiting until the last minute to do, then it's not worth doing.

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post #12 of 74 Old 07-10-2009, 06:56 PM
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Firmware updates are going to be the reality forever. When devices are all connected to the internet, then the manufacturers will get more sorted and the updates will happen behind the scenes like they do for cable boxes. That is likely to improve with time.

They are the obvious way to provide improvements and supprt for unexpected stuff after the initial purchase. The complexity of these devices grows with each new model and there is no way that they can scale the testing needed to completely guarantee that they are perfect. I wouldn't want to wait for products that are tested that thoroughly.

Firmware is really software and it will never ever be perfect. Ever! It is naiive to think that it will. I work in an industry where we have very similarly complex products. Firmware updates are always needed and will always be needed.

Welcome to the digital age where most of the work is done by software.
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post #13 of 74 Old 07-10-2009, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike171979 View Post

I agree with almost all of that, thats why I voted for 3 myself.

If I just want to watch the movie, my player should not need a firmware update. To expect consumers to do so will leave Bluray with the fate of always just being a niche product.



And you would not buy a computer because updates are needed? They are not niche products and everyone if fine with updating them regularly. Strange perspective. It is not just Bluray, this is the future of this digital industry. My Plasma TV, DVR, Receiver, ... all need firmware updates. I am happy to get them. Only our analog components (amplifiers, non-digital speakers, ...) will survive without updates.
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post #14 of 74 Old 07-10-2009, 11:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Except my Cable Box and Plasma TV don't need firmware updates to watch a particular movie.
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post #15 of 74 Old 07-11-2009, 04:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike171979 View Post

Except my Cable Box and Plasma TV don't need firmware updates to watch a particular movie.


And that's the difference.

I think its o.k. to do a hardware related firmware update when they find something they can improve upon, similar to a windows update, but not this endless cycle of Fox or whoever releasing movies that due to not meeting specs. will not play correctly until a firmware update is released.

Tell you what would help is if we as a community would develop a website of problem disc. In time (and it might take 2 or 3 years) enough of the general public will check that site before buying a dis. or even more important "not buying a disc." Once studios discover that they're being monitored and their sales are being affected, they'll streighten up their act.

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post #16 of 74 Old 07-15-2009, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhassle View Post

And you would not buy a computer because updates are needed? They are not niche products and everyone if fine with updating them regularly. Strange perspective. It is not just Bluray, this is the future of this digital industry. My Plasma TV, DVR, Receiver, ... all need firmware updates. I am happy to get them. Only our analog components (amplifiers, non-digital speakers, ...) will survive without updates.

If I bought a computer and all I did was one type of function (like watch BDs, for example), then yes, I would expect that the device should work at once and forever without firmware updates. Actually, the PC I use for my home recording studio is as-configured since I bought it, I think. The only real reason for PC updates is threats from outside forces (hackers, viruses, worms, etc), which is a completely different dimension - the updates are nominally to protect me, not the software-producers.

How would you like it if you only needed to do regular updates because Micosoft didn't trust that you weren't pirating their software? Hmm, maybe that's it - the whole virus-threat thing is just a fake conspiracy to cover up the real reason they want to access your PC...

Back when CD players came out everyone was astounded at the computing power they represented. Who the heck ever needed firmware updates to play CDs? The only two reasons we "need" FW updates for BD players are:

1. Sloppy BD authoring and/or authoring tools, either not playing by the rules or using some obscure implementation of the rules (probably not communicated to the player manufacturers),

2. Re-issuing and re-configuring DRM keys and other copy-protection schema.

These reasons don't exist with CDs because there is only one way to author a CD (a true audio CD!), and there were no DRM schema requiring constant updates (ignoring Sony's root-kit fiasco - can you imagine if that had actually been accepted practice?!).

FW updates for consumer products like TVs and receivers are usually one-time events, often due to an imperfectly-implemented new feature. They are not a function of every three months go through the whole update cycle again.

e.g. My Samsung TV needed a FW update to fix the 120Hz frame interpolation function (when off it wasn't really off). My TV does not need updates every few months because the TV stations are broadcasting in some new format that the ATSC tuner cannot recognize or a sloppy encode of the movie being broadcast.

Some will say this is an unfair comparison, but IMHO the differences that would make it unfair are the same differences that make BD authoring and DRM such a dog's breakfast. Put the content on the disk following all the authoring rules, don't invent new stupid Java-based widgets, and quit trying to stay ahead of the piracy curve - if you can't invent a DRM mechanism that is effectively unbreakable, then you should just give up and use a single "fairly difficult to break" DRM scheme to keep casual pirates at bay. But maybe the studios feel that inconveniencing all consumers all the time (every player needs a regular update) is a fair price to pay to keep a tighter grip (is it really tighter?) on their copyrighted material.

Sigh, sorry for the rant, saw some windmills, and just had to tilt...

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post #17 of 74 Old 07-15-2009, 12:09 PM
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Poll option should be added: Studios/authoring houses should use the existing base of code for their working discs to make new discs, so that firmware updates aren't needed every month for the latest unnecessary deviation from the norm in coding by studios/authoring houses.
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post #18 of 74 Old 07-15-2009, 03:58 PM
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So far as far as I know everything with BD has been broken, it just took a while for some of it. If thats what you want to do it's easily available with a search.
They really do need to just do a fairly hard DRM scheme and leave it at that as they'll never win against the true pirates and hacker kids who have plenty of time and nothing better to do with it. At least the few BD disk I have play on my Panasonic bd-10a so far.
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post #19 of 74 Old 07-16-2009, 05:55 AM
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As a Software Developer & HD early adopter I definitely can see the need and benefit of firmware updates. I have a wired ethernet line running to my equipment rack with 12 port switch and connecting branch to each and every component in my rack that has an internet port. At this point I think every component in my equipment rack except one device and my front projector itself contains an ethernet jack. They all may not yet be using it but the hardware capability is present already.

With that said though, I have to wonder about the average consumer and there willingness to bother upgrading a product. Also to add although I am willing to update for fixes and/or gaining of additional features I am not being paid by any studio and should not be forced to upgrade in order to watch a movie I already paid for because they decided to change some key.
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post #20 of 74 Old 04-20-2010, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrHT View Post

... It's the way my co-workers talk. So, I figured I'd run with it.

Well, when in Rome...


Quote:
Originally Posted by MrHT View Post

Probably, A. This player doesn't seem to be problematic for people. It's the main reason why I bought it. If it has issues running Avatar, then this will be the first problem for this model.

I would imagine there will be more reports of woe and loathing for various machines in the next days. I wish you luck. I have to update firmware for three machines. This ritual of down loading, burning a disk, and praying for a successful update is getting a bit old.
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post #21 of 74 Old 04-20-2010, 09:40 AM
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Studios really need to test their new BDs on several different machines before releasing them. It's like every new release requires a firmware update. It is getting very old, indeed!
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post #22 of 74 Old 04-20-2010, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrHT View Post

Studios really need to test their new BDs on several different machines before releasing them. It's like every new release requires a firmware update. It is getting very old, indeed!

You have it backwards. With Blu-ray it's designed to have the players catch up with the media... not the other way around.
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post #23 of 74 Old 04-20-2010, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrHT View Post

Studios really need to test their new BDs on several different machines before releasing them. It's like every new release requires a firmware update. It is getting very old, indeed!

The only player testing that's done is on the PS3, AFAIK. Some prolly don't even do that much.
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post #24 of 74 Old 04-20-2010, 09:54 AM
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The only player testing that's done is on the PS3, AFAIK. Some prolly don't even do that much.

I don't think it's a matter of testing. They know they are adding code that isn't supported by the current players. That's why the players were designed to have firmware updates. I think it would be a (semi) stretch to think the media guys don't make their discs available a reasonable period of time before their release. If not, then I can see pointing your finger at them... other wise I blame the hardware guys for not keeping up.
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post #25 of 74 Old 04-21-2010, 08:13 AM
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Every time one of the major BD movies is released and causes this problem, I think of Warren Zevon and sing the chorus form his little song, "Send lawyers, guns, and money. The **** has hit the fan."

.

+1

I have abstained from BluRay first due to the format war, then BD+ DRM issues, then waiting for the standards to stabilize (Profile 2.0, Pip/Bonusview, too frequent firmware updates, slow performance of standalone players, etc), then cost of quality players.

I finally bought a BDP-320 last week as it appeared most of these issues had been mostly resolved.

I will return the unit and abstain from BluRay if new releases continue to require firmware updates just to play.

If this behavior is accepted by consumers, then BluRay standalone players will be valueless once a manufacturer stops firmware updates to a given model, which could be after only 18 months- 2 years after a model's last firmware release, making a good quality BluRay player (like the BDP-320) useless in a very short time. This goes for *any* BluRay player make/model.

If BluRay doesn't get to the point where set top players require ZERO firmware changes for any new releases, its future is in doubt...
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post #26 of 74 Old 04-21-2010, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Rgb View Post

+1

I have abstained from BluRay first due to the format war, then BD+ DRM issues, then waiting for the standards to stabilize (Profile 2.0, Pip/Bonusview, too frequent firmware updates, slow performance of standalone players, etc), then cost of quality players.

I finally bought a BDP-320 last week as it appeared most of these issues had been mostly resolved.

I will return the unit and abstain from BluRay if new releases continue to require firmware updates just to play.

Your ire may be mis-directed. The studio is under no obligation to implement new DRM restrictions. They have taken this step of their own volition. So returning the disc may be a more appropriate step. The same action would be appropriate in the case of an older player with no new firmware support.

Sooner or later the studios need to get the idea that these DRM steps hurt only legitimate customers and don't inconvenience the pirates at all. The best way to get that idea across is to return the discs.
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post #27 of 74 Old 04-21-2010, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb View Post

+1

I have abstained from BluRay first due to the format war, then BD+ DRM issues, then waiting for the standards to stabilize (Profile 2.0, Pip/Bonusview, too frequent firmware updates, slow performance of standalone players, etc), then cost of quality players.

I finally bought a BDP-320 last week as it appeared most of these issues had been mostly resolved.

I will return the unit and abstain from BluRay if new releases continue to require firmware updates just to play.

If this behavior is accepted by consumers, then BluRay standalone players will be valueless once a manufacturer stops firmware updates to a given model, which could be after only 18 months- 2 years after a model's release, making a good quality BluRay player (like the BDP-320) useless in a very short time. This goes for *any* BluRay player make/model.


Curious... if you've read the forums here, why would you buy a Pioneer if you are looking for playability, reliability, and stability?

EDIT: add Samsung to that list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb View Post

If BluRay doesn't get to the point where set top players require ZERO firmware changes for any new releases, its future is in doubt...

+1.

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post #28 of 74 Old 04-21-2010, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb View Post

If BluRay doesn't get to the point where set top players require ZERO firmware changes for any new releases, its future is in doubt...

I see it exactly the opposite. The players were designed to be updated and that in and of itself gives them an extended life cycle. Not to mention all the new features that can be added with BD-Live, streaming, etc versus having to purchase another player the moment a new features becomes available. My guess is the average Blu-ray player being sold today is used more for streaming than Blu-ray playback anyway.
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post #29 of 74 Old 04-21-2010, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Rgb View Post

If this behavior is accepted by consumers, then BluRay standalone players will be valueless once a manufacturer stops firmware updates to a given model, which could be after only 18 months- 2 years after a model's release, making a good quality BluRay player (like the BDP-320) useless in a very short time. This goes for *any* BluRay player make/model.

If BluRay doesn't get to the point where set top players require ZERO firmware changes for any new releases, its future is in doubt...

+1. Agreed!

Yes, firmware updates are nice as they help resolve issues and add extra features, but since manufacturers are coming out with new models every year, then the older models will be forgotten and therefore will not be able to be updated to the latest DRM. Ridiculous! Improve the DRM.....pirates just find a new way to pirate. Studios are not winning by doing this. It's just killing the format and causing problems for people. I guess this is why they all say that we shoulda bought a PS3. But still....what kinda format is this if we're only limited to the PS3? Not good!

I'm surprised Blu-ray has gotten as far as it has despite all the problems it has given people.
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post #30 of 74 Old 04-21-2010, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

The players were designed to be updated and that in and of itself gives them an extended life cycle.

In theory, but guess what: manufacturers are reluctant and/or slow to release updates for players they sold 3-4 years ago. The ability to be updated is having the exact opposite effect that you describe; it's leaving customers out cold with $500 hardware they have to replace after only 2 years because it can't play the latest releases well, or at all.

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