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HD disks finicky?

Old 11-26-07, 07:57 AM
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HD disks finicky?

Like so many others, had to make the leap to HD a few weeks back and got the Toshiba A3. While HD movies are gorgeous, no doubt about it (watching The Thing last night was incredible), I'm concerned still about how finicky the disks themselves are and wondering if that's something that will improve over time? Or is this a player issue? Of the 6 HD movies I've run through the machine since getting it, all have initially had issues. The issues with error messages totally disappeared with updating the firmware. But now it's almost as if you're holding your breath while watching an HD movie to see if/where/when it will freeze (no error message).

Last night, The Thing froze and then started trying to go forward, seemingly frame by frame, with the sound becoming unsynched and then disappearing altogether. Pulled it out, washed it, and then it played through the movie just fine (this was a brand new disk). Ocean's 13 broke up badly toward the end of the movie. Didn't care enough to wash it.

To those who have been through the growing pains of the A1 and A2, is this pretty typical? Is it a player problem? Do you have to wash every single disk before playing? The beauty of an HD movie has become slightly tainted by the anxiety over whether or not it will play.
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Old 11-26-07, 08:08 AM
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With the exception of combos, I've had virtually no issues with HDM.

One thing you have to be aware of is how clean the data surface of the disc is.

I had a situation like you describe happen to me over the weekend with my Die Hard Blu-Ray. I took it out, and there was a small fingerprint mark from the tip of my finger. That was enough to make the disc stutter and freeze significantly. I wiped it off and all was well.

The tiniest bit of fuzz or lint can cause an issue as well.
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Old 11-26-07, 11:27 AM
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I think issues like this are the biggest impediment to the acceptance of HDM, both BD and in particular HD DVD. These formats are far away from being plug-n-play. It is easy for me to reccomend HD DVD to my tech-savvy brother, but no way would my wife's uncle be able to check regularly for firmware updates etc.

They need to get these issues out of the way so that every disc does not require some type of update.
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Old 11-26-07, 02:16 PM
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I think its mainly a firmware issue. Other than loading the Matrix sequels, I haven't had any problems with playing discs. Of course I've also kept pretty up to date on firmware as well.
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Old 11-26-07, 02:19 PM
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I've had no issues with any HD-DVD on my A1. I had one glitch on a DVD, but I've put hundreds of disks thru this machine, and it has handled them all beautifully.
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Old 11-26-07, 03:42 PM
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I was watching/listening to the Ocean's Thirteen commentary last night and it too froze toward the end even though when I watched just the movie the night before, it was fine (save for one moment when the screen went black). The freezing happened twice. I took it out of the machine to check the disc and remove a couple pieces of dust, put it back in and it froze but at a different spot (not too much after the initial one).

I did put it into my A2 and it worked fine, so who knows...

Haven't had any issues with other discs so far.
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Old 11-26-07, 04:14 PM
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I have an XA2. Only had one issue, and it was with a SD DVD disc (Disc 1) from Invasion which I think was having issues with the layer transfer. Now, it's just fine. Weird. Anyway, all my HD DVD discs have played just fine. I have two combos and haven't had any problems with them, either. I currently own 40 HD DVD movies.
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Old 11-26-07, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bunkaroo
With the exception of combos, I've had virtually no issues with HDM.
My experience as well with the A2 and now A3.

300 was fine once I swapped the disc so the problem was definitely with the combo disc.

I did have one with Blades of Glory. I tried to access the deleted scenes and got a weird error code. Restarted the player and could no duplicate the error. Outside of that and the 300 combo no issues.
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Old 11-26-07, 08:32 PM
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If I just got an A-3. Do I need to upgrade the firmware or is it good to go with the latest?
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Old 11-26-07, 08:59 PM
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Probably not the latest and greatest, it would be best to check it.
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Old 11-26-07, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD NDN
If I just got an A-3. Do I need to upgrade the firmware or is it good to go with the latest?
Play some HD DVDs and if it works fine, then don't upgrade it. If you have problems...upgrade it.
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Old 11-26-07, 09:34 PM
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I can understand keeping on top of firmware, and updating the firmware of the A3 with reinitialization of the player (and it did need that reinitialization) took care of the error code I had had. But the movie freezing, breaking up, recovering but then not having audio, is very dismaying when all you want to do is sit and watch a movie and have to go through hoops. Even now, with firmware up to date and daily checking for any updates, I feel I have to be so extra cautious in order to play an HD movie. It just seemed from browsing on the forums that folks who had the earlier machines are *not* having these problems, for the most part. Just thought it odd that the newest generation machine would have these same type of growing pains that earlier units had. Made me question whether the unit itself was inherently defective in some way, not just my unit in particular but many other A3's, or if I just needed to learn a new method of handling the disks, even brand new ones. I will say that there are no problems whatsoever playing regular SD disks. I am using component, not HDMI, and I wonder if that in and of itself could be problematic.

In any event, I'm expecting a few more HD disks to come in over this week and will wash before playing, no matter that they're brand new, and see how it goes. Any good washing recommendations other than tap water and a micro cloth?
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Old 11-26-07, 10:02 PM
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Thanks for the tips, no problems yet...
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Old 11-27-07, 12:05 AM
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Only once did I have a problem - Heroes disc with a couple of fingerprints on it somehow. Cleaned and it was fine.

Never had a crash or other disc problem. Player froze up once or twice and required a hard power cycle, but all my DVD players have done that once in a while.
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Old 11-27-07, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Jericho
I think its mainly a firmware issue. Other than loading the Matrix sequels, I haven't had any problems with playing discs. Of course I've also kept pretty up to date on firmware as well.
Totally agree, you can buy a new player and take it home, but it can have an older non up to date firmware version. Keeping up to date makes all the difference in the world with HD & BD players!
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Old 12-04-07, 01:25 PM
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How is the firmware update done? Do I need to have the player connected online? I am seriously considering upgrading to hd-dvd but am new to the technical side of it ...
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Old 12-04-07, 02:21 PM
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Old 12-04-07, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Yavin
How is the firmware update done? Do I need to have the player connected online? I am seriously considering upgrading to hd-dvd but am new to the technical side of it ...
You can connect the player via ethernet to do the update or burn the update ISO from the manufacturer's site onto CD.
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Old 12-04-07, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by rkndkn
You can connect the player via ethernet to do the update or burn the update ISO from the manufacturer's site onto CD.
Thanks, good to know.
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Old 12-09-07, 03:06 PM
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This is really starting to bother me as well. I have the 1.3 firmware on the A-3. First 2 discs I tried, "300" and "Transformers" played with no problems.

"V for Vendetta" froze, but it was OK after I washed the disc. I didn't think much of it because the disc was a rental and it visibly had scuffs.

However, the last 2 movies I tried were brand new and both pixellated and froze -- "Shaun of the Dead" and "Warriors". Washing did not help. I'm going to contact DVD Planet about it, but I'm almost wary of getting replacements from them. Could be a bad batch, at least for "Shaun" since greekboy in the other thread had a defective one from there also. How discouraging. . . Now I feel I have to hurry up and watch every disc I have for problems.
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Old 12-09-07, 03:13 PM
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To this point I have only had issues with the 300 and Superman Returns combos. I really hope this doesn't start happening on standard discs as well. The one thing I can say about BD is the fact I have never had a disc freeze or skip that wasn't scratched. You would think that format would be the one more prone to defective dics, but it seems to be HD DVD that has the most problems.
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Old 12-09-07, 04:38 PM
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I've had no problems with over a dozen HD DVDs I've played since I got my A2 a few weeks ago. But just today I loaded up THE WILD BUNCH and it simply wouldn't play at all; instead, the panel just displayed the message 4086 4203. Anyone heard of something like this?
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Old 12-09-07, 04:50 PM
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I'm also still concerned about this and can't get a feel definitively whether it's a disk manufacturing problem or a player problem. The A3 has played every SD disk without problem. But it's the HD disks that have been a mixed bag. I get the feeling from skimming the high-def forums that folks with first and second generation players aren't seeing this same freezing, so is the A3 much more sensitive? I also have the 1.3 firmware. I just got in Serenity and Mummy Returns from Amazon. Washed them both before playing. Put in Serenity and it played all the way through without problems; I was shocked. Put in Mummy Returns and it froze, but I was able to jump to the next scene; i.e., the movie froze but the player was still responsive. After that, it froze again toward the end of the movie. Seems that every movie I've tried (save for Serenity) seems to freeze often around the 50-minute to 1 hr mark. And these are all brand new movies.

I have no problem with electronics; firmware updates are no big whoop, I converge my TV with binoculars, use Avia to calibrate, so I don't really have a plug and play mentality. But something is just not right with the rate of failure of playing a movie (and I'm just speaking specifically about the A3), even with taking all precautions.

I hate the thought of sending the machine back to Toshiba (I unthinkingly already cut out the UPC so can't exchange it locally), but if the machine is too sensitive to play the movies, Toshiba needs to rectify this. It just seems so odd that there's such a preponderance of "bad disks" out there all of a sudden.
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Old 12-09-07, 04:56 PM
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[QUOTE=Medspeaking]
Last night, The Thing froze and then started trying to go forward, seemingly frame by frame, with the sound becoming unsynched and then disappearing altogether. Pulled it out, washed it, and then it played through the movie just fine (this was a brand new disk). Ocean's 13 broke up badly toward the end of the movie. Didn't care enough to wash it.
[QUOTE]

i had exact same thing happen to me with The Thing last night also. i slipped a little on my way to the player and the disc fell on the floor. i picked it up nervously and gave it a once over. the disc was not damaged, perhaps very minimally like a tiny little scratch. while i was watching it, it froze/started moving frame by frame during the scene where they`re storing all the "remains" in the storage room. i took the disc out, cleaned it again and it seemed ok, although i kind of fast forwarded thru the scene.
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Old 12-09-07, 05:10 PM
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I've played over 180 Blu-rays in the last year on my PS3 and have never had one problem. I am fanatic though about firmware updates and keeping my discs pristine.
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