Thanks for the kind words, denass. I'll keep everyone informed.
GusGus748s said it perfectly. I find it very disheartening to spend so much time searching for a media player, and then purchasing it only to discover it is riddled with bugs due to poor firmware. Sadly that's how things are nowadays. Firmware should be released in a fully-tested state. With these 1186 players, it seems we are all the beta-testers here. The companies are quick to put out the product, without fully testing their devices. Maybe Micca is trying to play catch-up now and get some issues fixed, but wouldn't the time for that have been before they released the updated units?
As GusGus748s said, on paper, this is the best media player available, in my opinion, considering specs vs price. Nothing else comes close. But in reality, it never should have been released in its current state, even the second batch. Unfortunately, these 1186 players all have issues it seems. To be honest, from what I've seen, all media players have their own set of issues. The trick is finding one with issues that you can ignore. The issues this player has, I cannot ignore. It won't even start up half the time, weird green flashes, static playing ape files, ongoing framerate issues - some of which have been fixed, some of which have not (3D mode still has framerate issues) - this all leads to an incredibly frustrating experience.
I was even considering giving the EP600 a try instead, hoping I would get essentially the same functionality with a different unit that may behave itself better. But then I wouldn't have an internal HDD, and to be honest, I'd be very concerned that the player would still have all the same drawbacks (green flickers, startup issues, framerates, etc.). After all, Jack mentioned on the Ep600 thread that both units use the same firmware, so it makes sense that all the issues I'm having with this unit I"ll have with the Ep600 (unless this unit is just defective).
On the one hand, it seems nice that we have a company here that we can actually communicate with, through Jack. Most of these 1186 players have no support whatsoever. So it seems that Micca should be the way to go. And they do seem to be listening. The problem is, they're listening but not doing enough to fix the issues. And I need a player now, not in 6 more months when they finally get these issues resolved.
And if I actually thought that a firmware would come out in the next few weeks that would somehow fix my startup issues, and the weird random green flickers and flashes, and some other issues mentioned, I would probably hold onto this player knowing it would be in great working order soon. But we can never know that. Maybe this player is a bad unit? Or maybe it's the firmware and it will take months more before its fixed, or maybe never.
I haven't yet processed the return because it pains me to do so. But what am I to do? This player is clearly giving me problems, and at this point I don't know if it's firmware-related, hardware-related, or both.