Posted by: L1H | January 13, 2009

L1H: Long Overdue Update

Holiday season is over, a new year is here to erode our illusion of immortality, and I wanted to give you an update.

Have you ever heard the saying, “The things that you own end up owning you”?

For some reason I decided it was time to invest in Blu-ray.  Maybe it was the way the display televisions looked at Best Buy, but I thought: no biggie, just pick up the BD-1500 Samsung Blu-ray player on sale for 200$ US and you’re good to go.

I get home and plug everything up.  The first dark omen was the ridiculous load times – I’m talking 4+ minutes from power up to actually watching a Blu-ray movie.  My Vista computer can boot up in a 1/3 of the time – and it’s a com-pew-ter!

I rationalize: hey, Blu-ray is new technology, no biggie.

The picture looks crisp and clean – but I notice the lack of “wow” factor compared to the display at Best Buy.  I scratch my head and do some research.  Turns out my Samsung LCD television has a maximum resolution of 720p.

In a white flash of images and sound I suddenly recall the conversation I had with the minimum wage Best Buy sales associate when I was deciding on a 720p or 1080p television a year ago.  His advice was: hey man, the maximum resolution of HDTV is 720p – so unless you have a Blu-ray player – who would waste their money on a 1080p?  I’m jarred back to present time and suddenly notice the letters on the box of my new Blu-ray player: True 1080p HD.

/slapsforeheadwithhand

The next series of events could best be described as self-fulfilling prophesy: a co-working happens to want a television for her bed room – she only needs it for HDTV – and would be happy to slip me some cash for my year old (but mint) television.  I sell it to her for 400$ US and  – forcing me into the market for a new television.

With cash and credit in hand I return to Best Buy the next day.  I’m now a year older since my last major purchase (but definitely not wiser) shopping for a shiny new Samsung television.

I learn that the amazing display that I’m trying to emulate features 1080p, a super fast refresh rate, and something about 120 Hz.

Sold!  I go with the 40” Sammy model (same size as my last television) with all the bells and whistles.

Forward next day.

The Best Buy Sunday ad goes out and it features my television on sale for hundreds of dollars less!  The 30 day price guarantee would allow me to bring my receipt to the store and get the difference back.  Here’s where the plot thickens!

Presently the 46” model of my television is now the same price as the 40”.  This means I could pack up and return my 40” and switch it out for the 46” instead of getting cash back: an even steven swap!  Cash back or larger screen for same price?  Hmmmm.

The practical side of me said: get cash back and use it to buy some more Blu-ray movies or just save it.  The caveman within countered: biggah is bettah!

In twenty minutes I had my 40” television packed up and was driving to Best Buy to return it for the 46” (what did you think I would do?).

I get home, set it all up and put in a Blu-ray movie that came from my newly upgraded Netflix account: Doomsday – the unrated edition.

The disc won’t play!  Wait, what?  I start to feed the player all the Blu-ray movies I have started to collect and half of them play with no problems while the other half won’t even load!  Firmware update?  Way ahead of you – before I even tried to play the first movie I ensured that the player had the most current firmware update.

I search the internet for a solution: Turns out the PS3 is the Blu-ray player of choice.  Sony frequently updates to the PS3 via it’s wireless internet capabilities ensuring that new Blu-ray discs won’t run into any DRM/firmware issue AND you’ll have access to the 2.0 profile features of your disc (online stuff).

I return the BD-1500 and man up the cash for a PS3.  A surprisingly helpful shopper strikes up a conversation with me and we describe each other’s home theatre set up.  I recommend my Logitech Harmony 880 universal remote but the young man interrupts me: it won’t work with that PS3 tucked under my arm (when using the PS3 to view Blu-rays) because the PS3 is a bluetooth device!  However, he adds, Nyko makes an IR adapter for it – the store appears to be sold-out at the moment, but with it I can do all but turn the PS3 on/off.  This solution satisfies me, I thank him, and I lug my new PS3 home.

I keep the PS3 in the box for a few days: it taunts me to crack it open while I silently swear off the entire Blu-ray format and plot to return the television, PS3, and all other manner of electronics for good form.

My willpower breaks on a late Saturday afternoon when I return home with a newly purchased Nyko IR adapter (20$ US) so my PS3 and Harmony remote can play together: I found the little bastard in (of all places) Circuit City.

I set up all my devices, turn on the PS3, and . . . wait for it: Mode Not Supported message filled the screen.

After several days of customer support calls and internet digging I have deducted that the problem is:

HDMI Handshaking issue (probably between the PS3 and my television) and there is nothing I, they, or anyone can do about it.

There are a few pet theories circulating around that involve HDMI issues, most involve spending 150$ on three additional HDMI cables.

I can get my PS3 to work if I actually unplug the HDMI cable from my television and then quickly plug it back in.  I have tried many different settings for the PS3, different ports on my television, swapped cables, and spun around in circles while chanting Ullatec.

Update: My Wii doesn’t work with the Sammy television when using the official component cables – no resolution setting on the Wii or television makes a difference.

My quest to upgrade to Blu-ray ended with two major purchases that I had no business making and this new era of ‘ship it now – firmware update later’ electronics has gotten the better of me.

I will update this post if I finally sort it all out.

The things that you own end up owning you indeed.

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Responses

  1. HA! That had quite a few laughs in it.

    Looking forward to the outcome, sir.


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