I admit I’m a wannabe geek by which I mean that I love gadgets and technology but don’t always spend the time figuring out the intricacies of each piece of technology. That said my wife very kindly bought me an HD/BluRay DVD player as we both love watching movies at home (as well as the cinema) and we kinda buy into the whole ‘higher quality visuals’ stuff but it was only recently that we bought some DVDs – the range is fairly limited still.

Firstly, why we’re having this HD vs BluRay thing is nonsense, doesn’t anyone remember VHS vs Betamax? And the hassle of having one set of films on one platform and another on the other is pathetic. Still, we dodged around it with a ‘will play all’ machine.

Anyhow, the visuals are everything they claim. Simply stunning. Fortunately we have a good TV as well (otherwise what would be the point) but the clarity and quality of the picture (Matrix on HD) was fantastic. The navigation and feature selection on the disc is still weird but watching the film again was a real treat. So, we thought ‘cool, sales are on, let’s get some more’.

A grand plan. Right up to the point where you find that a) the selection of films is limited b) some are on one platform etc c) they cost massively more than the average DVDs £30 vs £3 (sale) and d) whn you get home and try your new BluRay DVD you find that they changed the spec and you have to do a firmware upgrade on your brand new DVD player – WTF!

Having had my fingers burnt on a firmware upgrade already this year (killed my Mac’s DVD drive), I approached the whole thing very slowly and methodically.

Now LG, my TV and DVD manufacturer, has obviously spent some time and money on building a reasonably good looking an easy to navigate website. But for some strange reason have coded the whole thing in JSP not HTML so cutting out a bunch of browsers and so users. OK, work my way round that one (BTW the URL they give you in the manual doesn’t work) by using two browsers. Secondly, the firmware update (150Mb) I have to download and burn to a DVD myself. OK, not great but I’ll give it a go. So, I switch into Windows, as all the downloads are for Windows and I want to do it right, download the ISO but wait Windows doesn’t come with a DVD burner (sigh). OK, download a DVD burner for Windows XP.

Now I’m confronted with two problems. The LG website is offering me multiple options for downloads with no explanation as to what is for what and which is the latest and can I or should I run one or more to allow me to watch my DVDs, gathering dust by now. I pick the latest two one for upgrading my program (sic) and the other for firmware upgrade (I think). An horu later all downloaded and ready to go. Reread the instructions, yes I’m a man who reads instructions, and burn the DVD. Rereread the instructions about installing the firmware. OK, ready to go. Load the DVD…play!

Nada, can’t read the DVD.

Great, reburn, retry, nada.

Rerereread the instructions, change the formatting of the DVD burn, burn the disc and play!

Nope.

OK, this is silly. Switch back to Mac, copy files from Windows to Mac, burn DVD and play!

Nope.

By this time, two and a half hours have gone by. So, I think this is silly, I’ll get LG to send me a disc, which I’ll have to pay for, but then I can watch my BluRay DVDs. At this point the navigatio around the LG site become somewhat tricky. The Help area is not very helpful with no email addresses, phone numbers yes but this is a bank holiday no one’s going to be there. OK, check out the Contact Us area. Fine, here’s a form….ah, coded in JSP, back to browser problem. Work around that and fill out form, hit send….ah, have to register with LG before I can send the form to get the DVD to upgrade my brand new player to watch the BluRay DVDs I just bought.

Sod it, went back to my book and left mysel a sticky note to call them in the New Year. Merry Christmas LG and manufacturers of BluRay DVDs that don’t work on BluRay players, thanks for nothing.

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