The home brewed 1080i HDV camcorder footage burned on single layer DVD-R played fine on the A2 and the A20 at Best Buy. I bought the A2 as a gift for my brother in law.
I hooked it up when I got home and learned a few things. The A2 doesn't like DVD+R single or dual layer. First I've encountered this. The A1 doesn't care, plays both types. The A2 does play DVD+RW perfectly. Understand now, I'm only playing 25 mbps HDV 1080i/p footage (mpeg-2). Perhaps with SD it's a different story.
I didn't open the remote, my Harmony programmed for the A1 also works fine for the A2. So I haven't cracked open the owners manual. But the box states compatibility for DVD, DVD-R/RW, CD-R/RW. My A1 box says the same but also states support for DVD-RAM. The message here, is from now on I will use the DVD-R media since it plays without issue on both players.
Now a curious thing, when I grabbed the box, one was shiny, the other matte. I thought, WTF, so I looked at the bar codes for a clue. No version numbers stated, but the unit in the matte box was made in Japan, the one in the shiny box made in China. If all things were equal I'd assume the Japanese version would be more assured, I nevertheless chose the China model assuming it was newer. The A20 was also made in China. Well, the version is not so new, only 1.2. The HDMI doesn't sync to my monitor, a Pioneer Elite Pro FHD-1 1080p 50 inch plasma, some sort a greenish plaid pattern. I unplugged the HDMI cable, then replugged it, and all was well except I have to do this each time I turn on the player, not acceptable. I'll try a firmware update, but my A1 with original firmware it came with V1.4 doesn't have any problem negotiating a handshake.
Picture quality between the A1 and A2 via HDMI is identical, very excellent. My Elite 1080p monitor has perfect deinterlacing and dot by dot scaling, otherwise I'd consider the XA2. But for this monitor, the Reon chip isn't needed.
I did notice a slight hiccup after forwarding with the chapter advance, just a brief stutter. At first I assumed it was the disk since it was always the same place on the disk. But then I realized it happens 1 second after each press of the FF or chapter advance button. So on the chapter advance, it always happens at the same place, but on the FF it's at random, wherever it happens to be after 1 second. It's minor and only after you FF/chapter advance. Thereafter, motion and panning remains perfectly smooth.
Now to upgrade the firmware...