Blu-ray player upgrade process is killing the movie watching experience


We tried to watch the Blu-ray version The Happening at the Deleon abode last night. That embarrassing admission aside, let me tell you what a complete pain in the neck it was to update the firmware on our player—which we needed to do to watch the movie—the Samsung P1400. It’s a good thing we don’t own any firearms here because I was fully prepared to go about back and give the player the Old Yeller treatment.

We first had to physically move the player so that we could connect it to our router. Silly us, thinking that using the player’s built-in network upgrade would work! After selecting “upgrade,” we’re waiting for, I don’t know, 20-25 minutes; nothing happens. Clearly this network upgrade wasn’t in the cards.

At this point, I decide to re-name the movie The What Isn’t Happening.

Then I decide to burn the firmware to a CD, thinking that would be easier. It was and it wasn’t. After finding the firmware on Samsung’s labyrinth of a Web site, I burned it to a disc. I place the disc in the player and wait some more. And wait and wait and wait. Fifteen minutes go by before the player pops up, “Are you sure you want to upgrade the firmware?” Yes, player, I was sure one hour ago, thank you. The the little elves inside the player, after so much goading, finally perform the upgrade.

The point of all this claptrap is, the upgrade process is needlessly complicated. I was able see it through, but that’s only because I scoured AVS Forum for advice. What about the average guy who merely wants to come home from work, plop in a disc, and watch a movie on the plasma that he’ll finish paying off in 2014? Now he’s gotta figure out how to update his player? It ruins the “dumb” experience that is watching a movie—“dumb” in that zero thought or tinkering is required to watch a movie.

Samsung is at fault for, at the very least, not putting in a progress bar to tell you whether or not the update is moving forward. As it stands, you have no idea if the update is working or the player is hanging.

The studios are guilty for making all of this necessary to begin with, paranoid that people will copy their Blu-ray discs and spread them all over the Internet. (As if their copy protection is worth anything anyway: you can find Blu-ray rips of retail movies on the day and date of their release, if not sooner.)

I worry—well, not worry—that the Blu-ray will forever be hobbled by this type of nonsense. I want to come home and watch a movie with no thought required. The second I have to start burning ISOs with esoteric firmware files on them—what if I don’t have a blank CD handy?—the whole experience is ruined.

I might as well read a book.