Blu-ray technology clearly won the battle for high definition DVD movie dominance. But Blu-ray technology continues to evolve, and as it does, new issues pop up. Once recent problem is the “incompatible disc” error that is becoming more common with the Sharp’s very popular BD-HP20U Blu-ray player.
When I purchased the Sharp BD-HP20U player in February of 2008, it was getting rave reviews as one of the best Blu-ray players under $500. Indeed, it has performed flawlessly, until just recently.
Unlike older DVD technology that remained relatively static throughout its popular life, both Blu-ray video and sound technology continues to evolve. That is the main reason that Blu-ray players include a feature that allows users to easily update the firmware so that the player can keep up with the technology advances. Depending upon the features built into a Blu-ray player, the firmware can be updated via an Ethernet connection on a home network, using Wi-Fi, or by downloading the update onto a USB drive. The Sharp BD-HP20U uses the latter method.
The first firmware update that was required to keep up with new advances was an update to fix problems with the movie Jumper. Without the update, as soon as the movie started to play, the screen would fragment and freeze up. Loading the update resolved the issue, but may have created other problems.
I recently purchased the newest Rambo movie on Blu-ray. When I tried to play it the player looked like it was going through the normal boot and loading process, but would then display the “incompatible disc” error message and reject the disk. I tried to load the disk over and over and always got the same result. My first thought was that I bought a defective disc. The disc was pristine with no visible scratches or defects. I searched the web for issues related to bad Rambo Blu-ray discs and found literally hundreds of product reviews and forum postings, all of which were reporting the same error, but the errors were related to a wide range of Blu-ray disks that would not play on the Sharp BD-HP20U player.
Most of the problems appear to have started after users did the Jumper firmware update. The problem is that once the update has been run, there isn’t any way to load the old firmware version.
The next step was the check the Sharp web site for another update, but the last firmware update was for the Jumper problem. I took the Rambo disk to my local Best Buy and tested it in several players, including their BD-HP20U demo box. Rambo played fine in all the players, so that isolated the problems to my BD-HP20U.
I then contacted Sharp’s Customer Support department via a form on their web site and gave them all the nitty gritty details. It took a week for them to respond and all I received was a BS message letting me know that Blu-ray technology was evolving and futher recommended that I call their Customer Support to report the disc problem. Huh? Didn’t I just conatact Customer Support to report the problem with Rambo? The message was from a Customer Support rep advising me to call Customer Support, but the message did not include a telephone number. Doh!
I temporarily put Rambo aside and assumed the problem would eventually be fixed with the next firmware update. Other Blu-ray discs played perfectly. Then I received Iron Man and when I tried to play it, the “incompatible disc” error greeted me once again. With my frustration level at a new high, I found a number for Sharp’s Customer Support department and called them.
The Solution that Worked for My Player
I laid out the entire scenario for the Sharp rep on the phone and expressed my frustration with the nice piece of crapola. He asked several questions and we tried to load both the Rambo and Iron Man discs again with no luck. Then he explained the process for resetting the BD-HP20U back to the factory default settings.
To reset the factory defaults, turn the player on and wait for it to boot. The rep instructed me to hold the power button down for 5 seconds until a Reset message appears on the screen. I never saw a Reset message and it took about 15 seconds, but the player rebooted. After that, both Rambo and Iron Man played perfectly! Woo-hoo!
Because I had never changed any of the configurations on the player, I have to assume that the Jumper firmware update changed the settings. The Sharp rep said that the Reset procedure does not roll the firmware update back; it merely changes the configuration settings to the factory defaults. Nonetheless, it resolved the problems.
I thought I would pass this on to others because I have not seen this solution mentioned anywhere on the web and the Reset procedure is not in the Sharp BD-HP20U user’s manual.