@oddiofyl @tonykay @cleeds I have an update on this at long last, and it's quite a story.
I dropped of the 881 at a Mc dealer on July 25, 2016 instead of Pro Tech (not open Saturdays). Yes, over a year ago. They couldn't fix the 20th Century Fox BD problem even after getting update firmware on disc from Mc. They sent it to Binghamton in January. Yes, over 10 months ago.
I got a call from a tech there in June. Yes, 6 months after Mc received it. They confirmed the problem but had no idea what was causing it. They wanted to make sure I was OK with throwing a $1500 service at the unit. I said fine, but you do know that I complained about this to you several months after I bought it, right? Please send me the details, the tech said.
So I did. About 15 pages of back and forth between me, Audio Classics and McIntosh engineering. Crickets again until early August. Yes, that's a full year after I'd dropped it off at the dealer. Mc thought they'd found the problem, but were arguing about warranty coverage since I'd indeed brought it to their attention 20 months after I'd purchased the deck. They'd even bought a copy of AL-VH in BD for testing as a result of that original complaint back when and still had it in the lab. I asked them to please let me know when the unit was ready to come home and understand that I was running out of patience.
Crickets again until Monday this week when my patience finally expired. Left voice mail for the tech. Got a message back while I was out of town: The deck was finally ready to ship back and the repair was fully covered under warranty. Turns out the HDMI circuit had some kind of fault. The failure caused the deck to indicate that the firmware had been updated when it actually hadn't been written to the EEPROM. They never did find out why that happened, but when they changed out the HDMI interface, the firmware went in and everything worked. This after replacing the motherboard, the daughterboard and the transport, all to no avail.
They're shipping it back tomorrow and I hope to have it back in and operational by next weekend. I'll post a brief follow-up when I know it actually works, but thought you all would appreciate the meat of the story.
McIntosh really does support their products no matter what, although sometimes it might take awhile;-)!