ClearPlay DVD player keeping me in the dark

Last week I was running an errand at Target and I noticed a video display featuring a ClearPlay DVD player. Up until this point, for whatever reason, ClearPlay has escaped my technology radar. But never fear noobies, I picked one up on the spot and took it home with me.

What is ClearPlay?

ClearPlayIn a nutshell, ClearPlay allows you to watch the DVDs you already own minus the bad parts you don’t want your kids to see. You do this by downloading filters for each movie you want to watch from the ClearPlay web site. Once you have the filter downloaded, you copy the filter to a USB stick and then insert the USB stick into the DVD player. The rest is ClearPlay magic.

I’d like to be able to give you more detail including my opinion of how easy or not easy the entire ClearPlay process is but there’s one problem-I haven’t been able to watch a single “edited” movie on my ClearPlay DVD player yet.

The reason? I don’t have the fancy-schmancy USB stick that I was promised would be delivered to me for free when I registered (and paid) for my ClearPlay account. In fact, I haven’t heard a word about the USB stick since the day I bought my DVD player. No “thank you for ordering” email. No ship notice. Nothing.

Noobies and firmware upgrades don’t mix

I did log on to my ClearPlay account on the Internet to see if that would give me any more information regarding the delivery of my USB stick. Nope. Nothing. Instead I was presented with a big message telling me that I should do a firmware upgrade.
From a noobie’s point of view this was a big mistake on the part of ClearPlay. Here’s why. Raise your hand if you know what a firmware upgrade is? And if you do, keep your hand up only if you clearly know how to install a firmware upgrade.

That’s what I thought. Now this isn’t to say that I don’t think firmware upgrades are good ideas. In fact I think they are a great idea. Just please don’t call them a firmware upgrade if you want to appeal to the larger, noobie audience. Why not just tell me, “An update is available for your DVD player. Click here to follow these step by step instructions to perform the update.”

Where is option three?

To make things worse, there were two options listed below the warning message. The first option was to tell ClearPlay that you have already installed the firmware upgrade. The second option was to ask ClearPlay to remind you later. Where was the option to do the firmware upgrade?

Only after digging around a little bit did I discover that the firmware upgrade is included automatically with every filter available on the web site. Which brings us back to square one. I can’t install the firmware upgrade because I can’t download a filter because I still don’t have my USB stick.

It may not sound like it but I really am excited about this technology. I’m just a little disappointed at my experience so far. I’ll be sure to post another article if and when I get my ClearPlay DVD player up and running.