Home Theater Gear: Why Won't My Blu Ray Player Play a Disc?
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Why Won't My Blu Ray Player Play a Disc?

So, you're standing there, looking at your almost new Blu-Ray player, as it refuses to play your new disc. Why won't it play? After all, the thing is almost brand new? Welcome to the brave, new world of cutting edge technology, combined with a bit of copy protection, and bonus features thrown in for good measure. The truth is that there are several reasons why a given disc may or may not play, but as Frank Drebbin would say, that's really not important right now. What is important is how you can get your new disc to play so that you can back to your movie night. There are a few things to check, brought to you by the Home Theater Gear blog at http://1touchmovie.com/home-theater-gear.

Dirty or damaged disc - Blu Ray discs are built with very fine rows of pits, like a CD or DVD. The difference is that those on a Blu Ray are much finer and more closely packed, that's partly how they are able to cram so much more data on a single disc. That means that they are much more suseptable to damage, dirt and fingerprints than a CD or DVD would be. So the first thing you should do is make sure your new Blu Ray is clean. As with a DVD or CD, you should wipe it from the center to the outside edge, to avoid making scratches that follow the data groves.

Firmware update - As with so many other consumer electronics and appliances in your house and car today, a Blu Ray player is basically a computer. It has a set of instructions hard coded in it's little electronic brain on what the heck it's supposed to do when you insert a particular disc. The set of electronic instructions inside is called firmware. The great thing about firmware is that it can be easily (more or less) updated to deal with changing conditions, so that your player's functionality can change for years to come. Having a Blu Ray disc that won't play is a much more common occurance than many people would have believed when they bought one. That's the price you pay in this case for the spectacular picture and sound you get with Blu Ray. Some things are dreadfully slow, and sometimes titles just won't play.

If your player has an Ethernet port on the back (the one that looks like a phone jack on steroids), simply plug it into your network router. Make sure you keep the player plugged into your TV while you do this, you'll need the on screen menu tyo complete the process. After it's plugged into your home's network, remove the disc, go to the menu, and find the section that deals with updating the firmware. Then follow the on screen instructions to update the player's firmware. The files will be automatically downloaded from the Internet, and installed into your player. The process can take between 3 and 20 minutes depending upon the size of the update, the speed of your network and Internet connection.If you don't have a player with an Ethernet jack on the back, you'll have to go to the manufacturer's website and download the firmware from them. Then you'll have to burn the firmware onto a DVD and load the new firmware into your Blu Ray player that way.

There is now doubt that a Blu Ray player can deliver truly spectacular picture and stupendous audio quality, especially if you have a high end surround sound system and the disc has DTS Master Audio or Dolby Digital Tru HD. For all that performance however, you may have to pay a price beyond what showed up on your credit card statement, and discs not playing once in a while is part of it.
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