'Avatar' Blu-rays Have Some Buyers Seeing Red

by Volker Weber

This was to be expected. Excerpt from TheWrap.com:

All they wanted to do was watch some blue-skinned aliens defend their home planet. Yet a number of the millions of people who made "Avatar" a record-breaking Blu-ray seller have been unable to get their discs to take flight.

Retailers have fielded calls from angry customers since the Fox blockbuster hit stores last week.

The problems plaguing James Cameron's science-fiction opus mirror those that crop up every time a tentpole movie hits Blu-ray -- be it "Iron Man" or "The Dark Knight."

The culprit, an individual at Fox told TheWrap, is not the discs, but that certain Blu-ray players need to be upgraded with new firmware

This only hurts paying customers. There are plenty of copies on the Internet that work without an update. Repeat after me: DRM is bad for the customer.

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[Thanks, Oswald]


The other problem is that Bluray as a format is still very much work in progress. My brandnew BD player (great reviews all around) doesn't play some brandnew discs, because the discs use a newer BD authoring profile than the player. Bummer.

Hanno Zulla, 2010-05-03

Then you have the issue where some blu-ray players don't get updated firmwares because the manufacturers have moved on to newer models which leaves only two choices, don't buy any more blu-ray disks or buy a new blu-ray player.

Declan lynch, 2010-05-03

"The culprit, an individual at Fox told TheWrap, is not the discs, but that certain Blu-ray players need to be upgraded with new firmware."

Of course the culprit is not the discs, the culprit is never the discs. And my skin is blue. (Actually it isn't ;-) )

Daniel Haferkorn, 2010-05-03

DRM is bad. But this isn't DRM or the Discs. It's about how most electronic devices don't have a way to be updated. Most are never intended to be. How many BluRay players use the 1.0 spec, don't have BD-Live, and have no way to connect the device to the internet?

This is why my main BluRay player is a PS3. Automatic Updates and Sony has been great with keeping the PS3 up to spec so far.

john head, 2010-05-03

yes john - exactly. happy with my BD player too -it's a PS3... and btw: Avatar looks really great on my 42" :-)

Anton Seissl, 2010-05-03

John, your player is a PS3 because you need to attend Gamers Anonymous. ;-)

Volker Weber, 2010-05-03

Not true Volker. I own four games for my PS3 - Uncharted1 & Uncharted 2 because a buddy worked on them, LittleBigPlanet, and God of War 3. All of my gaming is on the XBox or PC. But your spot on on the G A need :P

The PS3 is just the best BluRay player out there. I have a new BluRay player in the bedroom which has on-line support, including BIOS upgrading, but those are still pretty rare (this has wireless too). OK, and both of the new computers have bluray as well :P

I put Avatar BluRay into the PS3 with my 50" TV, and it auto updated itself before playing the movie. That is how it should work.

Seriously, this isn't DRM. It's the fact that industry expects folks to upgrade their media devices every 12 months. Which, in some ways, is far worse. :-)

john head, 2010-05-03

You are so easily taunted ... ;-)

Volker Weber, 2010-05-03

You're right, Volker.
I've bought "Avatar last Monday and am still not able to watch that stuff yet. I'm not sure I will pay for another Blu Ray disc once more.
DRM is really bad for the customer. And for the movie companies, too.
No money from me further...

Have fun although!


Walter Kraegeloh, 2010-05-03

Everything that is bad for the customer is bad for the industry in the long run. And that is exactly the reason I started asking you to repeat after me.

Volker Weber, 2010-05-03

The PS3 known to be the only player a) every publisher tests their discs on and b) that Sony is eager to release updates for when a disc makes problems.

Most likely it is the best supported BD player out there.

Too bad the PS3 is such a hog in power consumption. I chose my LG 390 BD player because it consumes less energy and is more silent. But, alas, see comment 1.

Hanno Zulla, 2010-05-03

@John: But this isn't DRM or the Discs.

According to news reports, a specific "new" version of the BD+ DRM has caused this issue. So yes, it was DRM, which I am told is bad for the customer.

Hanno Zulla, 2010-05-03

Here in the UK they tout Blu-ray discs as being more “resilient” than conventional DVDs. Yep, the fact they use a tougher coating (more in line with that used on CDs in the 1980s) is being presented as a benefit, and part of the reason why a typical BD costs twice as much as a conventional disc. I have dozens of unplayable discs thanks to a few surface scratches.

Nice. And now we find that when you get the disc it might not play. Who gives a crap about self-updating DVD players? Agree a standard and stick to it dammit!

Of course, assuming that the disc works in the first place, chances are the viewer gets a load of FACT propaganda (and possibly even some compulsory ads / trailers for good measure) before getting to the feature.

Yet still the movie industry wonders why people prefer to download…

Ben Poole, 2010-05-03

I'm firmly in Mr. Head's camp. I don't play games on my PS3, but it's the best blu-ray player you can get.

OK, I have the model that plays PS1 & PS2 games, and, well, I DO like Spyro. Sad, I know. For the music. Yeah, that's it.

Craig Wiseman, 2010-05-04

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