Why are Blu-Ray players so slow?

I’ve now owned one HD-DVD player and two Blu-Ray players across three major brands, Toshiba, Sony and Sharp, including entry level, mid range and top-of-the-line models. One thing that is common across all of them is that they are just excruciatingly slow. It takes forever to load a disc and start playing a movie. What is even more annoying, you cannot open the disc tray or eject a disc without waiting for the damn machine to boot up, which takes at least 30 – 60 seconds. What? I have to wait for the machine to boot before I can take out or remove a disc? I’ve accidentally turned off my player with the disc still in it half a dozen times, then had to wait for it to restart before I eject it. Infuriating.

While the enhanced HD image quality is a boon, these machines have taken a serious step backwards in user convenience. Would it have been that hard to make the machine able to open and close the tray without waiting for it to boot? I realize that these players actually have much more serious OS/software layers than yesterday’s DVD players, but the sluggish interface is really annoying. Of course, the major CE vendors have never been great with software, so it is not surprising, but it doesn’t bode well for them or their customers in the future as digital home equipment becomes progressively more software/UI centric.

But it does open the door for innovative startups who do understand how to marry great software and hardware into a single system — think Sonos, Vudu or Sling Media, for example.