Is Iron Man Rusting?

Iron Man was one of the hottest releases of the fall season, and was supposed to be a coming out party for the triumphant Blu-ray format. Instead, it's turned into a headache for Paramount. In particular, sometimes success is your own worst enemy. It appears that so many users are downloading Iron Man's BD-Live content that it's crashing the system. When you hit the "blue chest loading screen" (already infamously called the Blue Ring of Death) the flick can hang up for minutes, or for an eternity. Some users are trying to avoid the problem by manually bypassing the BD-Live internet download.

The root of the hanging problem (also reported on the Transformers release) is that the Blu-ray disc prompts the player to connect to the internet automatically. Users don't know what is happening or why there may be a delay; they might assume the disc is defective, or their player has crashed. Any disc that enables BD-Live should tell users what's going on, and also give them a way to skip the download. The disc should show a download progress indicator, and should gracefully recover from connection failures or timeouts. And, of course, studios like Paramount need to make sure their servers have the bandwidth to handle a new release.

Making matters worse, reports (complaints, actually) are surfacing that Iron Man's TrueHD soundtrack sounds muffled . . .

Although unconfirmed, the buzz is that TrueHD sounds bad, and it's because during mastering, the DRC (Dynamic Range Compression) was mistakenly set to the ON position when in fact the soundtrack does not use DRC. Users report that the problem can be avoided by turning DRC OFF on your player or receiver. (If left on the AUTO mode, the bad flag will turn DRC on).

I can understand a bad flag. Mistakes happen, and can be fixed. But the BD-Live thing is seriously bothersome. BD-Live is fine (if you're into that sort of thing) but sometimes you just want to watch the damn movie. -Ken C. Pohlmann