PS3 Owners Report Blu-ray Problems After 1.5 Upgrade

An unusually high number of reports of intermittent playback freezes during Blu-ray movies and some games have been posted to Sony's PlayStation 3 forum, as well as to the AVS Forum and other sources, after PS3 owners upgraded to version 1.5 of the system firmware.

Tests run by these users since having noticed the bugs appear to eliminate Blu-ray discs themselves as the cause of these freezes, most of which are said to be momentary and not terminal. Time codes displayed at the time of freezes are dispersed, indicating that the discs are not defective.

The common elements among those reporting problems appear to be the use of the wireless controller for navigating the BD, and wireless connection to the Internet. Though Sony itself has given no official justification for the problem or suggestions, expert forum contributors are suggesting that users reconnect their wireless controllers, and attach their PS3 to their Internet router with a direct Ethernet cable.

The key purpose of the v1.5 firmware patch was reportedly to eliminate scaling problems users experienced when playing PS2 and older games in compatibility mode, with lower resolution being scaled up to high-res displays. The firmware also adds new support for online functionality - which, ironically, may be the indirect cause of the freeze problem.

The level of exasperation expressed by some users only two months after the console's North American release reveals that patience among early adopters in consumer electronics doesn't compare with the levels of ten or twenty years ago.

"We shelled out $600 big ones for this console and were loyal to buy the console as soon as we could get our hands on one," one owner wrote on Sony's forum. "We should not have to rig the PS3 by making sure we have our controllers off and the wireless setting is set to work only on Tuesdays and the sun has to be shining and it can't be colder than 30 degrees outside then our Blu-Ray reader should work properly."

Users who have already contacted Sony's technical support report that agents told them this was the first they'd heard of the problem, and are being advised to disclose their troubles to the PS3 forums online to see if expert users can help.

One contributor to the AVS Forum wrote, "I just called in [to Sony] and got the same soft reset recommendation. I assume this is their standard script, as I got no sense this was a recommendation tied to this particular problem. I probed on whether they were aware of or tracking the problem, but I got nothing beyond generics."

At least one upgrader to version 1.5 received an e-mail back from Sony technical support advising him to upgrade to version 1.5 to see if that fixes the problem. Some upgraders, however, are reporting no trouble whatsoever, though some admit they have a direct Internet connection and not a wireless one.

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