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Old 10-20-2007   #13
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Default Re: Many Players Need Firmware Update To Play Spider-Man 3 on Blu-ray

Count me in the minority on this board. I love the fact that both HD DVD and BD players offer firmware updates to address ongoing issues with either format as they are discovered. I agree in principle that the idea of using consumers as "beta testers" isn't the ideal. However, when new discs come to market making new use of technology not previously implimented in any real-world software, it's inevitable that there will be some growing pains. I'd rather have BD technolgy NOW and be able to upgrade as Java and 1.1 come on board versus having had to wait another year for 50GB HD media "to have everything at once".

In the days of DVD those growing pains meant that you had to buy a new player or that the format couldn't progress to avoid isolating consumers with incompatible gear. I'm thankful that we don't have either problem with HD media because of a new pardigm of upgradable firmware. And the process is pretty painless on my PS3. IMO, anyone buying state-of-the-art elctronic gear should *plan* to apply firmware upgrades and purchase gear that makes it as easy as possible (the PS3 has wireless networking making it VERY easy from anywhere in your home). Rather than complain about firmware upgrades, we should be looking at it as a glass half full.
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Old 10-20-2007   #14
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Default Re: Many Players Need Firmware Update To Play Spider-Man 3 on Blu-ray

David, you make a valid point. However, I think the key is perception as to the general public as opposed to issues for videophiles. My hobby (apart from A/V) is building computers. I fully understand (and even expect) firmware updates for motherboards, DVD-burners, etc. However, as often the machines will do what the owner wants it to do without the firmware updates, the mahcines chug along doing what the owner purchased them for (word processing, interent or the like). If my wife had to apply a firmware update to her toaster every few weeks, however, we would say goodbye to toast forever. I think it is kind of the same thing with the new hig def DVD players. You and I have no problem flashing an upgrade, but John Q. Public may not be so enthralled with the idea. And it is John Q. Public's purchasing power that will make the technology affordable and successful in the long run.

Of course, as Dennis Miller says, "I could be wrong."

Mike
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Old 10-21-2007   #15
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Default Re: Many Players Need Firmware Update To Play Spider-Man 3 on Blu-ray

Mike,

John Q public isn't buying *any* HD format right now. Using him as a measure of what can be tolerated in operational complexity isn't meaningful just yet. By this Christmas, maybe it will apply to a small percentage of BD/HD DVD viewers. By Christmas of next year, your point will be much more germane.

Right now, it's *enthusiasts* who are buying both formats. These are the folks who have the technical prowess to handle a firmware upgrade or two. By the time John Q Public gets into Blu-ray, these issues will be water under the bridge since by that point there wil be plenty of Java-heavy BD software on the market for CE/hardware developers to use in product/software design (ie, those players will ship from the factory able to do much more than our current players can).

-dave
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Old 10-21-2007   #16
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Default Re: Many Players Need Firmware Update To Play Spider-Man 3 on Blu-ray

Hi, Dave. I agree that currently the market is mostly limited to enthusiasts. However, with HD-DVD at $249.00, I know a number of non-techhies who have taken the plunge. It has been my experience that John Q. tends to ask their enthusiast friends about formats, brands, etc. Perhaps it is correct to think that it is too early to have the general public's perceptions about operational complexity be a real factor in the long term success, but time is passing and it has been some time since the introduction of both HD formats. I think HD-DVD has it more "together" in that area. I hope Blu-ray does get its software compatibility issues in hand by then. I tend to think that this Christmas will be important in the format wars. With digital TVs coming down (Best Buy just dropped all sales of analog TVs I understand), Santa will want something to show off that new lower priced digital set! Beta was a technically better format, IMHO, but lost out due to a number of factors (I am not saying operational complexity was one of them - but Beta took "too long" to catch up to VHS' lead).

Mike
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Old 10-21-2007   #17
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Wink Re: Many Players Need Firmware Update To Play Spider-Man 3 on Blu-ray

Mike, I don' think you're wrong at all! Problem is that today we see the marriage of the traditional A/V and computer industries. Unloke you, I know virtually nothing about computers, only just about being able to do simple things.... my own pc is used soley for the purpose of running ms flightsimulator, and maybe word processing.... it is not even connected to the internet.... I come from an A/V background, including commercially....

The A/V world before today expected a product on sale to be a finished work of art... the public public have never had to go back and get an upgrade on tv/videos/regular dvd players, camcorders, etc. In your computer world, you no doubt have ALWAYS purchased and used equipment that was never the fully finished article in the first place. You EXPECT to rectify the incompetence or lack of full functionality (due to being technologically a work "in progress").

Today we see the digital world come together in the home/office environment, to bring us technology that was impossible to give us even 5/10 years ago, such as HD in the quality we demand. I personally am thrilled to have both a US Tosh A1 and UK/euro XE1 (this is the US XA2) and well as UK PS3....... the XE1(XA2) has performed flawlessly, with only a few upgrades (here in Europe we still await the 1080p/24 fix from toshiba... I phone them weekly, as we were due it over a month back. Toshiba are helpful, they send me upgrade discs direct, I believe they are as helpful Stateside too... whereas Sony, well, forget it! You pay UK pounds 5,or more (US$10/+) if you want them to send it, so I have a friend who connects it up to receive the free download upgrade.... which is not quite that convenient to me!

Ok, I admit I've been very pleased with my PS3, used purely as a BD player. From UK day of launch (last April 2007) it needed an upgrade, which improved greatly its performance, namely the hallowed 1080p/24 fix. Since then, together with Euro releses from Fox using MPEG4/AVC codecs, I've enjoyed some spectacular discs... but the early releases all in MPEG2 were mediocre to fairly poor in comparison. New discs that still use MPEG2 are now better, because they throw a heap more bitrate at it so that it appears better... HD DVD,on the other hand, HAVE ALWAYS used the MPEG4/AVC/VC1 codecs, as part of the "founding fathers spcifications" from day one. Ok, some of the early HD DVDs were also a little weak, but, just for the hell of it, I went back to my US HD DVDs from 2006, and re-examined a few discs that looked poor on my original A1, playing them on the high-spec XE1(XA2 in the US).

Got to tell you, they look a darn sight better now than they ever did! Honestly! I was,frankly,suprised. Time to look again at my early collection that I thought were poor tranfers, because clearly they're not... Okay, one soft print is being replaced with a truly remastered edition in a couple of days time.... Full Metal Jacket, now a 2 disc edition with bags of features.... and hopefully a sharper,pristine print! It better come with my fave Clockwork Orange... all the Kubricks are due for Oct 23... Better not be more UK postal strikes, or I'm going to get mighty sore!!!

When Blu-Ray launched in the UK,quite a few months later than the US.... must have been exactly a year ago,actually.... I was invited to a trade presentation by the first manufacturer to bring it over here....no, it wasn't Sony, but Samsung.... various stores that know me wanted,for some reason, me to go along with their owners for my opinion, probably because the casual store staff (all Asian) had no idea about the technology, its problems, and implications,limitations,etc. The very first thing that became apparent was that their player was not as advertised a 1080p player. No! Clever trickery,by upscaling, gave the 1080p output! Naughty! and I told them so..... the presenter claimed no knowledge of this or how it worked! Others present, i.e. technophiles, had also read about this from the internet.... anyway, its performance on a big screen via a quality projector looked...well, pretty awful. It did not impress. I charitably informed them that this was more to do with the software at the time, and not so much to do with that first Samsung player.... but as much as I wanted to have one, quick as a flash I put my wallet away faster than you can you "Jack Daniels"!!! Blu-Ray was not ready. We all know that... and many like me KNEW that then.... so too, by the way, did Sony who took a further 6 months to bring their first player to Euro market, the PS3, and only just a couple of months back their top
of theline model.... followed only just now with their cheaper UK Pounds 400 player (that =US$800)..... that is still too much for mass market prenetration. HD HDVD can be purchased here off the shelf for HALF that amount E1 model(US equivalent A2)...... NO UK BD spinner is capable of meeting the 1.1 spec, because they don't have the internet outputs, all except PS3 which has some upgradeability. OK, I'm not neccesarily bothered about all the interactive features... but if I were, I would not buy a current pre-November 07 standalone player because of such issues. For the money, my PS3 is fine, except for the fact that here in Europe there is, as THERE ALWAYS IS, a scarcity of software, because the majority of it region locked, so I can't get,for example The Devil wears Prada. That would look good in HD on Blu-Ray... moreorless any studio to do with Sony... it's locked!!
So I have to make do with my Region 1(US) std. disc....

Thank you HD DVD because I can get the discs I want from the US,France,Germany,even Japan.... without feeling that I'm some sort of a criminal because the Hollywood studios say so! The available catalogue of discs is therefore FAR greater on HD DVD than for BD here in Europe....

To conclude, although I am not personally used to upgrades, and incidentally, many people out there seem unaware that they DO NEED upgrades, it is now a neccessary eveil we have to put up with if we want to keep abreast of improvements/fixes that make the technology work.... just as folks in the computer world do.... I don't much care for injections,either, but when needs must.....

This is Michael (Chipmonkmrl) saying goodnite from London, England.... oh, just one last thought of the night..... we should thank you guys stateside/japan, because you take more of the heat out of problems because you get it launched longer ahead of us here in Europe, so thanks to you, many of the bugs you suffer have been ironed out for us 6-12 months later!!!
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Old 10-22-2007   #18
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Default Re: Many Players Need Firmware Update To Play Spider-Man 3 on Blu-ray

Why would a videophile care if HD DVD "had it together first" if Blu-ray gets it together a few months later and can provide years of superior encoding with high-bit-rate AVC/VC-1 video and lossless audio? We all know that BD wasn't ready for launch when it officially launched with that faulty Samsung player. No one would dispute that. Even the head of Fox stated that the "real" launch of BD occurred with the release of the PS3 (by that time the crappy low-bit-rate MPEG2 discs were history) and Disney and Sony have now been consistently producing discs that have more visible detail than Warner's lower bit-rate VC1 HD DVD/BD titles. Not to mention studios that are optimizing for BD (Sony/Disney) are providing lossless audio on all titles versus the rare-privilege that WB, Universal, and Paramount offer on a select few (due to tigher constraints in bit-rate and mastering limitations of HD DVD). I don't understand the perspective of picking a format based on early-released hardware and software when a format can, has, and will continue to evolve to offer so much more... more than HD DVD can offer despite "having it together" at launch.

Last edited by DaViD Boulet; 10-22-2007 at 07:54 AM..
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