Fans of James Cameron's Avatar were undoubtedly thrilled with the movie's appearance on DVD and Blu-ray last week, but cat lovers who purchased the HD version of the film have been heared yowling discontentedly in the bushes. In a deeply ironic twist, the story of the nature-loving, free-spirited Na'vi is only available to humans whose Blu-ray players have been updated to support the latest DRM schemes.
You won't find that mentioned in much of the official discussion of the problem—Fox likened the problem to the need for a software update, "the same way computer programs such as browsers, Microsoft Office, or iTunes do." That explanation hasn't sat well with customers who ponied up for the Blu-ray, trotted home, and discovered it wasn't viewable, particularly when firmware updates for their players weren't available. This was initially a problem for Samsung owners in particular; the company released a fix on Sunday to allow BD-UP5000 and BD-P1400 players to run the movie.
Those of you who own a player that isn't connected to the Internet will have to perform whatever rearranging is necessary to download the latest update (free) or take the unit down to your local Best Buy, where they'll happily perform the service for about $30. Forget improved movie menus—these are the sort of value added features that make downloading such an attractive competitor to disc-based players of any sort. Such versions are just as encrusted, carry Blu-ray's price premium and there's no need to update a stand-alone player. Sounds like a win/win situation to us.