Firmware upgrades to players to fix issues?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Phil Carter, Jan 10, 2003.

  1. Phil Carter

    Phil Carter Second Unit

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    Hi folks.
    First post, be gentle with me. [​IMG]
    I'm delighted to find a forum where spam and flaming is practically nonexistent. Nice to see so many people talking about the stuff we all love so much.
    I'm just getting interested in home theater-related stuff, so pardon my ignorance on a lot of matters. My first query has to do with my Sony DVP-xxx something DVD player (I'm not at home so I don't have the model number handy). The layer transitions are handled fairly poorly by this player (almost two seconds' pause sometimes, very distracting), so although I'm quite happy with the features it offers, I'm wondering if Sony might have released a firmware upgrade that would handle layer transitions a bit better. Is something like that possible?
    I thought I would ask the experts first, as Sony's website is a mess and finding anything useful is damn near impossible.
    Failing the firmware upgrade thing, can anybody recommend a good player with progressive scan and near-seamless layer transitions? I'm about to purchase some nice home theater stuff including a widescreen TV, so I want to do things right this time around. [​IMG]
    cheers,
    Phil
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Your best bet is to call sony. Depending on the age of the player you may even be able to burn a CD and do it that way, rather than sending it in to Sony
     
  3. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    In my experience, "firmware upgrades" in DVD players have all the reality of unicorns. They may be theoretically possible, but is a manufacturer really going to commit programming resources to upgrading old machines they've already sold? Not likely.

    Jan
     
  4. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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  5. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    Firmware upgrades from the manufacturers are a sad story for the most part. While it is easy nowadays for players to be made so that the firmware ROM can be "flashed" easily by the consumer using an upgrade CD or DVD, few manufacturers if any provide this service. In my opinion, all of them should make the necessary files and instructions freely available on their websites for download/burning or offer upgrade discs to users at a nominal fee. This alone would be a selling point.

    I've successfully flashed the ROM on my Panasonic RP-91 using a CD-R burned from the files provided on the internet by a guy who got access to them from newer players (see AVS Forum thread on that). To my knowledge Panasonic has not made these available directly.

    By the way, welcome to the forum Phil. Also, this thread should probably be in the Hardware, Audio/Video Sources section of HTF.
     
  6. Steve Berger

    Steve Berger Supporting Actor

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    The firmware on most Sony DVD players (and all the older models) is non-volatile and requires changing (unsoldering and replacing in almost all cases) a processor IC. They wouldn't want anyone easily turning their machine into an all-region unprotected player.

    Sony does engineer upgrades and fixes on older products on a regular basis , unlike most other manufacturers. Unfortunately the cost to have them done is often as much as buying a new machine and are sometimes overkill. Replacing a main micro to solve a camcorder lockup on low battery ($200 fix)is a bit excessive when pulling the 3 volt backup battery out for 10 seconds also clears the lockup. The DVPS360 and 560 DVD players have modifications to keep new lasers from shorting out when they get replaced but the cost of fixing one out of warranty is about $140. They've redesigned gears for VCRs , talked vendors into supplying small parts for assemblies like lenses and motors. (But then turn around and force you to replace a $110 chassis instead of supplying a $5 plastic bit)

    Supposedly the memory stick interface on their HDTV RPTVs is going to be used to upgrade the firmware on the set. I can't wait to do a 15 hour setup when someone corrupts the data trying to tweak their set.
     
  7. Phil Carter

    Phil Carter Second Unit

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    Thanks to everybody who's replied thus far. It sounds like I'm most likely out of luck as far as seamless layer transitions go with this machine. Ah well.

    P'raps I'll give Sony a call anyway; it can't hurt, I suppose. The machine's only a year old.

    (now, the question is: upgrade TV first, sound system, or DVD player? Ahhh, the tough choices we make in life......)

    cheers,
    Phil
     
  8. Jonny K

    Jonny K Second Unit

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    I have the same layer problem with my Panasonic player. I wish I knew how to fix it.
    Jonny K. [​IMG]
     
  9. Terry H

    Terry H Second Unit

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    I agree completely. This was high on my feature list for purchase of a new player. IMO most "problem discs" can easily be fixed by a firmware update. However, I didn't find a single brand or model that allowed for a legitimate flash upgrade of the firmware. Consequently, I lowered my sights and bought a cheap, disposable player. I wonder how people would have liked their RP-91s if they had not found this bootleg firmware? I suspect many would have been returned.
     
  10. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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  11. Eugene Esterly

    Eugene Esterly Supporting Actor

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  12. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    I had Toshiba upgrade the firmware in my SD2108 many years ago. But this entailed shipping the unit to the one place in the country (Tennessee) where Toshiba has a shop.

    I could have sworn reading that Philips DVD players could be flashed with a CD-ROM.
     
  13. Terry H

    Terry H Second Unit

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    If I had known that I would have bought one. I guess I passed by Malata thinking I had little interest in region free. [​IMG] Oh well. Next time.
    Eugene, I did see the Samsung but I think it had been discontinued as NUON died rather quickly. I felt it was questionable if Samsung would continue to support it with updates. Glad to see they are.
     
  14. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    PC's are another item that can have firmware upgrades via flash discs. In the PC industry its more commonly called "Flashing the BIOS" (Basic Input Output System).
    Problem is, if it's done with the wrong unit's software, or if it's interupted (say, with a power outage), or anything else goes wrong...your system is dead. Gone. Paperweight.
    You now have to send it in and pay for a new motherboard to be installed. And that's NOT covered by warranty!
    Do you think consumers in this position tend to blame themselves for the problem they find themselves in? Oh, HELL NO! They blame the manufacturer because they put the user in the position of needed the upgrade in the first place. No matter how unforseen the situation might have been!!
    Thus, the PC makers prefer that BIOS upgrades are done by their certified repair techs, so that potential problems like these are avoided. [​IMG]
    Now, as an owner of a Panasonic DVD console who has asked into a firmware update disc and been ignored, I am as upset as the next HTFer who would like to do this and cannot.
    But, playing devil's advocate for a moment, you can see that I understand EXACTLY why DVD makers tend to not want to make firmware upgrades avialable on a consumer level.
    Still, if anyone can point me to a firmware upgrade for a Panny A120, I'd appreciate it.... (as a married pair of A+ certified techs who own a UPS, we tend to know what we're doing with firmware upgrades! [​IMG] )
     

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