Toshiba issued a new firmware upgrade to enable 1080p24 output for its HD-XA2 and HD-A20 players late last week, but our testing of the new software has revealed some bugs.
The latest in a series of upgrades offered by Toshiba for its complete line of HD DVD players, the documentation for firmware version 2.5 promises several enhancements, including improved network connectivity for downloading web-enabled content on certain HD DVD discs and a fix for "certain disc playback and HDMI/DVI related issues identified by Toshiba."
Likely of most interest to early adopters, the new firmware also enables the output of raw 1080p24 video over HDMI from the HD-XA2 and HD-A20 player models. Several Blu-ray players already offer 1080p24 output, but until this point the feature has never been available from an HD DVD player.
We asked our own Joshua Zyber to take the new upgrade for a test drive on his Toshiba HD-XA2, and as he reports in a just-posted update to his XA2 review, he had mixed results.
According to Josh, the fix for "disc playback issues" as referenced by Toshiba greatly improved his machine's playback of 'The Matrix Reloaded' disc from the 'Ultimate Matrix Collection' box set, which previously had trouble loading in his HD-XA2 player.
Unfortunately, Josh's initial testing of the 1080p24 output setting proved less successful. Although he says that 1080p24 output reduced the slight picture judder associated with the 3:2 pulldown process as normally seen on North American televisions (as well as a previously reported video stutter issue), in his testing the setting also had a negative side effect of throwing audio sync off on most of the discs played. He goes on to say that the problem was so distracting that he found himself forced to return the player to 1080i output.
Some members of AVSForum have also reported playback anomalies involving dropped video frames on some discs.
There's no word yet on how widespread these issues may (or may not) be, but we'll certainly let you know of any developments as they emerge.
Meanwhile, other early adopters have been discussing their own experiences with the version 2.5 upgrade in our forums area. To read their feedback (and to post your own), click here.