My HD XA2 with the latest firmware is definitely faster than the last HD A2 I played with (unknown firmware version) a couple weeks ago. IMHO the HD XA2 makes the boot up and play times a non issue, and the 3rd generation players should be faster yet.
. "A lot of good arguments are spoiled by some fool who knows what he is talking about." - Miguel de Unamuno
I don't pay muich attention with my A2. I turn it on, then go get the movie and wipe it with a soft cloth (mostly Netflix rentals) and turn on the TV. By the time I'm ready to insert the movie, the A2 is ready. Once the movie is inserted, it's very quick.