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Learn About: Firmware

What Is It?
Firmware is software that exists usually on chip or flash memory within a larger piece of hardware, such as a Blu-ray player. Firmware can be upgraded to comply with new industry standards. For instance, the PlayStation 3 was initially a Profile 1.0 Blu-ray disc player, but now through downloadable firmware updates, the PS3 is a Profile 2.0 player that takes advantage of BD-Live and other advanced features not available in earlier specifications. Firmware updates can be applied either by downloading them directly to your device, or by disc installation.


Technical Difficulties?

Having trouble with your Blu-ray player? Will certain discs just not play? Then perhaps you need to check that your player's Firmware is up to date.

Rest assured, if your player works fine, you can safely choose not to update its firmware--unless specified by the manufacturer. However, if problems start occurring (significant delays in playing titles, or some not playing at all), a firmware update will often do the trick.

There are several ways to get updated Firmware depending on your player's manufacturer and model number. Here is a summary of the options; more detailed instructions will be found in your player's user manual, which you should always consult before taking any action:


Download a Firmware update directly to your Blu-ray player

If your Blu-ray player has an Ethernet port, connecting it directly to the Internet is the simplest way to check for and install updates. As every player is different, refer to your user manual for instructions on how to connect your player to the Internet and how to update the firmware. With some players, you may have to restart the player after changing network settings before you can download firmware.


Request a CD-ROM with new Firmware from the manufacturer

Manufacturers should supply you with a Firmware update when you call their customer service centres to request one. The benefit of getting firmware updates this way is that it requires the least amount of technical work on your part--simply put the manufacturer’s disc in your player, and it should automate the process. Contact your player's manufacturer directly for more information on this process.


Download a Firmware update and burn to disc

Most manufacturers do a good job of putting firmware updates on their website in a timely manner. In order to load this firmware into your player, you will need to download it and burn it to a disc. Make sure you follow the burning and installation instructions exactly, as there are often very specific steps that have to be carried out. The benefit of getting firmware this way is you don’t have to wait for a disc to be delivered.


To find out more about Firmware updates, please visit the manufacturers' website(s).