I have been watching the issues with both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray since their respective releases regarding features and firmware. It has made me question if both were released too soon and not allowed to mature sufficiently in development? I have an almost 10 year old Sony DVP-S7000 DVD player that still plays every DVD I have tried on it. This player was one of the first ones released and still works with discs with all the latest features. Sure it is missing progressive, DTS and upconverting but those weren't really in the original DVD spec as far as I know and aren't required to get discs to work.
With HD-DVD it seems the players were at least hardware feature complete on day one. However from a firmware and software feature standpoint the HD-DVD players still appear to be under development. The first gen Toshiba players are on the sixth firmware release it seems and the second gen on third or fourth. Some of the updates being bug / compatibility fixes and others adding / enabling features that seem to have been in the original spec and should have been in the players.
Blu-Ray is in an even worse position it seems. The first gen and even 1.5 gen players it now seems aren't even hardware complete. Missing features such as dual video decoders and Ethernet which appear to be part of the newer 2.0 Blu-Ray spec. Also as with HD-DVD there have been various firmware updates for most (all?) players to fix bugs and add features that were part of the spec but weren't in the shipping box. The whole confusion around BD-J seems to be a mess as well, such as when it is required and when it will be implemented in software.
What happened this time around? Were the specs not done? Did the manufacturers not properly implement the spec? Are the software producers making discs out of spec, possibly because they couldn't really find out what the spec is? Was it the race between the two camps to get out the door first?
I am sure some will point out that early DVD players had issues as well, especially first and second gen Toshiba. However the fact that some players from that era did work I tend to think it was Toshiba's fault in design / manufacturing.
I am also wondering when this will all be ironed out so those who don't read AVS (and those that do I guess) can feel safe in buying a player that fully supports the spec and won't need upgrading? I look forward to that day.
I currently have the HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360 so I am already enjoying HD discs. Also I am looking forward to seeing how the new Samsung UP-5000