It used to be that when you purchased a consumer electronic device that when you took it home it would do what it said on the package. When you buy a toaster you expect it to toast bread and if for some reason it was a super smart toaster and there was a way to upgrade the firmware in the toaster you wouldn’t expect that with the upgrade you could no longer toast bagels.
When you take a Blu-ray player home, you expect it to play Blu-ray movies. When you apply a firmware update, you expect that the device will have new features like maybe a faster boot time or supporting new extra content functionality in the Blu-ray Disc. Unfortunately, Samsung’s 2009 line of BD-Px600 players just recently had a firmware update (v2.09) that appears to have broken the ability for the devices to function as a Blu-ray player if the disc you’re trying to watch is from Warner or Universal pictures.
The ironic thing is, the major reason updates are required for Blu-ray players is so that the player can play new movies that are encrypted in different ways in an attempt to foil would-be pirates from pulling content off of the disc. That’s right, it’s another case of the movie industry throwing the baby out with the bathwater. People who pirated the movie aren’t affected by these anti-piracy attempts, but the average consumer that paid money for the industry-recommended player and disc are penalized for their cooperation.
Samsung has provided a method to downgrade back down to v2.07 of their firmware so that you can continue watching Warner and Universal movies for now. What isn’t known, however, is if the compatibility that was supposed to have been provided in v2.09 will mean that people with these players won’t be able to play new movies released with newer protection mechanisms.
As we mentioned just last week, the MPAA still hasn’t learned that copy protection is futile and only hurting their consumers while providing no benefit to themselves. Maybe one day they will learn and we will be able to purchase a movie without copy protection so that we don’t have to worry about the video not playing and also be able to play the video on any device of our choosing. I’m not holding my breath.