12-04-2008 04:23 PM - edited 04-30-2010 12:58 PM
When Spiderman 3 was released on Blu-ray disc, a fairly large stir was created when it was discovered that the movie would not work correctly in all Blu-ray players. In most cases, players simply weren’t able to access many of the additional features that were included on the disc, although it was not unheard of them to be entirely unreadable as well. Eventually, it was announced that most affected Blu-ray players could remedy this problem by downloading and installing a firmware update.
What exactly is firmware?
Firmware is a type of program embedded into an electronic device that tells that device how to function. As the name suggests, it is something of a cross between actual hardware components and pure software programs. Like software, it is processed by a microchip. Like hardware however, it is closely linked to physical parts and means little – if anything – outside of that context.
So, why are firmware updates necessary?
Just like a computer’s operating system, firmware is occasionally updated by manufacturers to resolve technical issues that may occur and to allow compatibility with newer technology. For Blu-ray players, once such advancement came with the introduction of BD+ copy protection. Without firmware updates, players released prior to the advent of BD+ probably would be unable to play or even recognize discs with this feature.
What does this all mean for me?
Before assuming that any new Blu-ray disc you purchase is defective, make sure that you have the latest firmware update to your Blu-ray player. Many manufacturers will make regular announcements on their support websites whenever new firmware updates become available, as well as provide step-by-step instructions on how to perform them. You may even be able to find additional information by visiting the homepage of the studio that released the movie (such as Disney, Sony Pictures, MGM, etc).
UPDATE! You can now find additional information on firmware updates through the link I've provided below:
03-01-2010 12:24 PM
When a Geek Squad installer installs the blu-ray player is it the responsibility of the installer to insure that there are no firmware updates for the component or the customer?