Upgrading Blu-ray Player Firmware from Linux

I’ve got an older Sony Blu-ray player, a BDP-S300 model. I was trying to watch Burn After Reading tonight and the movie would not start. Not because the disc was damaged, but because it had some embedded software that didn’t work with the Blu-ray player’s old firmware — software that it used to START PLAYING THE MOVIE.

So I went to Google, typed in “Sony Blu-ray BDP-S300 firmware download” and found links to the usual suspects, Blu-ray.com and esupport.sony.com. Both sites have the latest firmware for Blu-ray players. Both have the software in an ISO CD-ROM image format, so you can burn a CD-ROM with the firmware, boot your Blu-ray player with the CD, and in 10 to 20 minutes the firmware has been upgraded. (Yes, 10-20 minutes. The firmware update process is even slower than the painfully, glacially slow disc load time for Sony Blu-ray players.)

The only problem is that both sites compress the ISO file into a Windows-based EXE file! Apparently the people at Sony don’t realize that there are people out there with Macs, so Mac users are screwed. They also don’t appear to realize that they could make the same file available as a plain ISO file and ANYONE with ANY OS with an ISO CD-burning software package and a CD-ROM burner (pretty much every personal computer made in the last 15 years) could make a CD-ROM from the file.

I have no Windows box at the moment, I do most everything on Linux, so after firing off a customer feedback letter to Sony slamming them for their short-sightedness I went ahead and clicked the pull-down menu that tells their site that yes, I was using Windows 2000, please let me download the damn file, and I downloaded UPDATE_BDPS300_VER0450.EXE.

After that it was a matter of typing:

apt-get install wine
mkdir ~/tmp/bluray
wine UPDATE_BDPS300_VER0450.EXE

A pop-up box asked me where to put the files it was about to extract from UPDATE_BDPS300_VER0450.EXE, so I clicked the Browse button and selected ~/tmp/bluray. A few seconds later UPDATE_BDPS300_VER0450.ISO was in the ~/tmp/bluray directory. I fired up K3b, clicked on the left-side file menu tree to get to ~/tmp/bluray, double-clicked the UPDATE_BDPS300_VER0450.ISO file, and burned the CD-ROM.

I stuck the CD-ROM in the Blu-ray player and about 15 minutes later the player spit the disc back out.

Now I can watch the movie…

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4 thoughts on “Upgrading Blu-ray Player Firmware from Linux

  1. Are you playing the Blu-ray discs directly from the drive or are you ripping them to your hard disk? And if you are playing them directly, I would love to know how. I’ve been looking for a solution for a week now.

    • I think you completely missed the point of the article. I was upgrading a Sony Blu-Ray player’s firmware, not playing Blu-Ray disks on the Linux box.

  2. >I stuck the CD-ROM in the Blu-ray player and about 15 minutes later the player spit the disc back out.
    >Now I can watch the movieā€¦

    Ummmm, I think you should learn how to write my friend; I understood your article as that you were not able to play BD Discs, so you upgraded the firmware, minutes after it ejected the disk, and that then is when you were able to watch the movie (As in you were not able to before).

  3. Your powers of comprehension are astounding. Even with my poor writing you understood exactly what I said! I really had to upgrade the firmware to watch the movie.

    Check the fine print on your Blu-ray player’s paperwork and you’ll probably find a disclaimer that “discs may not play in your player unless you install the latest firmware upgrades.”

    The Blu-ray Disc Association releases changes to their DRM spec and they make changes to the firmware to support the DRM embedded on the discs, trying to stay one step ahead of disc pirates. As new discs are released they use the new forms of DRM. If you don’t upgrade the firmware, you can’t watch the disc.

    See also:

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/update-x2-avatar-blu-ray-drm-bites-legitimate-customers/8193

    http://www.tvpredictions.com/2008/10/why-some-blu-ray-movies-cant-play.html

    http://www.myce.com/news/some-old-samsung-blu-ray-players-cant-handle-avatar-28919/

    http://hometheaterreview.com/blu-ray-limits-its-growth-rate-with-constant-firmware-updates/

    http://www.digitaltrends.com/entertainment/avatar-blu-ray-not-working-for-many/

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100423/1012179155.shtml

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