While earning praise from online users for its cutting-edge interactive features, Lionsgate's 'The Descent' has also encountered compatibility problems with some Blu-ray players.
The title, which hit Blu-ray on December 26, boasts extensive extras authored in the BD-Java environment, including the Blu-ray format's first picture-in-picture video commentary feature, as well as extensive featurettes presented in full 1080p HD video. However, the apparent cost for all this barrier-busting is an incompatibility with new standalone Blu-ray players from Sony and Pioneer.
Reports first surfaced on various online message boards, including in this thread on our own High-Def Digest Forum, from users attempting to spin 'The Descent' on their Sony BDP-S1 players who were met with only a blank screen. The problem apparently stems from the Sony player's lack of playback support for BD-Java-enhanced titles, which the company has promised to add in a firmware upgrade sometime early this year.
Meanwhile, the same problem has been reported on the new Pioneer Elite Blu-ray player, which similarly lacks BD-Java support. No word yet on any planned firmware updates for the Pioneer.
Note that 'The Descent' plays back just fine on Sony's PlayStation 3 and other current Blu-ray players (provided they are equipped with the latest firmware updates from their respective manufacturers).
We've received our own copy of the title from Lionsgate, so watch for a full review coming later this week. Also stay tuned for news on any firmware updates for the Sony and Pioneer players, which we'll post on as soon as official details are announced.
For those keeping score, the HD DVD format has not been without its own recent technical glitches, with many early adopters (including our own reviewer Peter Bracke) experiencing playback problems with the Weinstein Company's launch titles, including 'The Matador,' Derailed,' and 'Wolf Creek'.