Toshiba has released a new firmware upgrade for its second-generation HD DVD disc players, including fixes for HDMI-to-DVI connection and disc playback glitches.
Dubbed Version 1.3, a download for the upgrade first appeared earlier this week on Toshiba's official support site. According to the documentation from Toshiba, though Version 1.3 does not offer any new features or enhancements, it does solve a number of "disc playback issues" that have plagued the second-gen units since they first hit the market late last year.
Unfortunately, exactly which "issues" are addressed by the upgrade are not specified. However, according to recent online user reports and emails we've received, Version 1.3 does appear to offer the following improvements:
• Colorspace issues via HDMI-to-DVI connections corrected
• Video/audio sync playback and disc "stutter" improved
• Low audio volume/garbled center channel audio through HDMI fixed
• Sporadic "audio screeching" during playback of Dolby TrueHD soundtracks fixed
• Reading of audio CDs also improved, with less dropouts and "disc skips"
• Disc tray opening and closing speed times now faster
But perhaps the most welcome correction is a compatibility fix on select HD DVD titles, including Universal's recent release of 'Hollywoodland,' which many HD-A2 and HD-XA2 owners had been reporting was unplayable in their decks. According to reports, the disc now boots up without error after Version 1.3 has been installed.
We'll certainly keep you posted as any news on additional improvements and fixes come in.
Note that if you cannot download the upgrade and burn it onto your own CD, it is also available by direct download via your player's Ethernet port (refer to your deck's manual for instructions). Or contact Toshiba directly for a firmware CD, which the company will ship to all registered HD-A2 and HD-XA2 owners free of charge.
Editor's note: For an in-depth look at Toshiba's top-of-the-line second-gen HD DVD player (updated with this latest firmware upgrade), check out our review of Toshiba's XA2 HD DVD Player.