Update: After posting this story, we were contacted by an executive from Fox. It is important to note that the issue is not with the title. Firmware updates are common with technology, and blu-ray players are no different. More Avatar customers are having issues because more Avatar discs have been sold than any other. The second best selling blu-ray disc, The Dark Knight, also faced similar issues. Since the Avatar release, firmware has been released by most, if not all, blu-ray manufacturers, and the affected users are a statistically small group.
Fans of Avatar that rushed out to be counted among the 2.7 million Blu-ray customers that took home James Cameron’s record shattering movie may be disappointed by a slight glitch: one that makes the movie unplayable. Simply returning the movie isn’t enough, either, the problem is with the Blu-ray players themselves.
On a small but significant number of Blu-ray players, the movie requires an update to the firmware before it can play. Newer Blu-ray players may be fine, but if a consumer owns an older Blu-ray player without internet access, they will not be able to watch Avatar, and there is nothing they can do about it.
Avatar isn’t the first movie to require a firmware update to work, but since it is already the best selling Blu-ray of all time, the percentage of customers with issues is noticeably higher.
The website The Wrap was the first to cover the issue. When asked, Fox told them that the problem is mostly limited to Samsung Blu-ray players, but a small number of LG players are affected as well.
Customer complaints seem to contradict that statement though. On Amazon’s Avatar page, one user complained “My 2K Denon player and the $200 Samsung both will not play this movie. The folks at Denon seemed stumped even after the firmware update.”
Owners of Sharp models, Pioneers, and Sony Blu-rayp players are also complaining about the issue. On the bright side, if players are still having issues, fans can become part of the other record setting Avatar figures, the ones that claim Avatar is now the most pirated movie of all time.