Toshiba issues firmware update for HD DVD players

That didn't take long: Just a month and a half after the official launch, Toshiba has posted its first firmware update for its HD-A1 and HD-XA1 HD DVD players. Users with broadband connections can download the update via ethernet (the alert warns it will take in the vicinity of 30 minutes to download and install the update. If you don't have broadband, you'll need to wait for Toshiba to send you and update disc by mail.

The official update is available on Toshiba's site.

The update reportedly improves the unit's startup time, as well as corrects some pixellation and HDMI/DVI connectivity issues. We experienced no issues with our HDMI connection, and didn't spy any pixellation in our first round of tests, but we only looked at a couple of HD DVD discs--the first Warner Brothers titles to hit store shelves. However, we did note the unit was interminably slow, from the time you insert a disc to the time you gain control over the disc--an annoyance that I didn't expect in sophisticated consumer electronics product.

Which begs the question, did Toshiba take a page from the software industry's playbook, where, in the competitive rush to beat rival format Blu-ray Disc to market, it released a product before it was ready for prime-time? While the first buyers of an HD DVD player are, presumably, relatively tech-savvy, I have to wonder how many users will learn about the update, let alone bother to implement it. And I'm also concerned that this may mark the start of an alarming trend for consumer electronics products.

After all, it's bad enough we consumers have to worry about updating our anti-virus and antispyware definitions on our PCs. How many of us really want to worry about updating our entertainment center components the same way? What do you think?

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