Hmmm - it read the disc for a minute or so, then spit it out and the tray stayed open, I took the disc out, then took only 2:37 to load after I clicked "Yes" to update, then sucked tray back in. The blue display segments still say "CD-UP", and the progress bar is stuck with three segments lit up in blue. Then after twelve minutes or so it finally turned off the player power. Turned player power back on, stuck Avatar in, and it loaded first time just fine. Noticed for the first time that the "Interactive" fluorescent display scroll was followed by "Slide Show" to display recommendation splash, then it loaded to menu. Indeed, there was a repetitive seek for awhile while the slide show was going on, didn't sound too good for the blu-ray drive there. Except for that, everything played fine with no need to resort to the FF button or anything else.
Still think, after trying about a dozen HD-DVD discs in an A-B comparison just now, that the Toshiba HD-A35 plays HD-DVD titles much better than the BD-UP5000, but that is just sorta to be expected, right? After all it is a Toshiba-manufactured high-end HD-DVD player and they invented HD-DVD before its untimely demise