Convergent Design: An Open Letter to Our Clients

authored by Mitch Gross, Director of Communications at Convergent Design

convdeslogo-dvi2December 19, 2014
From: Convergent Design
To: All Owners of the Odyssey7Q

Dear Friends,

For more than a decade, Convergent Design has sought to make an impact on the motion picture and television production industries by designing & manufacturing innovative new products and offering exemplary client support and service. The introduction of the Odyssey7Q last year was a huge step forward as a revolutionary leap-frogging of capabilities in a monitor/recorder. It was also a slow and painful birth, from the delayed first delivery of the product to the gradual expansion of capabilities with firmware updates. Through it all we have strived to be as forthcoming and available as possible with information and support for our clients, and we thank the thousands of you who have taken this journey with us.

Last week Convergent Design announced the successor to the Odyssey7Q, the Odyssey7Q+. Many Odyssey7Q owners were upset, feeling that their Odyssey7Qs were devalued. There were some misunderstandings both in the technical differences between the models as well as the Loyalty Program we announced for those interested in upgrading from the Odyssey7Q to the Odyssey7Q+. This letter is to help provide some answers, but first another matter:

Thank You

As a sign of appreciation to our Odyssey7Q owners, all Odyssey7Qs will have their warranties extended to January 1st, 2016. For recently purchased Odyssey7Qs this is a modest extension, while for early adopters it can be greater than an additional year of coverage. There is no additional purchase necessary for this warranty extension. The December 2014 firmware update (launching today) will reset the warranty information within every Odyssey7Q.

Odyssey7Q vs. Odyssey7Q+

The Odyssey7Q is not obsolete. There are only two differences between the Odyssey7Q and the Odyssey7Q+.

  1. Over HDMI the Odyssey7Q can accept up to 1080p30 or 1080i60 in 4:2:2 8-bit. The Odyssey7Q+ can accept 4K/UHD up to 30p or 1080p60 in 4:2:2 10-bit.

  2. The Odyssey7Q+ has a more advanced connection over its four SDI inputs, although there is currently no camera manufactured or planned (that we know of) that would take advantage of this difference. As such it may never be enabled in the Odyssey7Q+, but there was no cost in us changing the input.

Those are the ONLY differences between the Odyssey7Q and the Odyssey7Q+. If you do not have any plans to utilize the higher formats on the HDMI input, then there is no difference between the two products. If you only shoot with SDI-based cameras, there is no difference. The central processor is the same, and with every firmware update both models will receive the same expanded functions. Record Options will be equally added to on both the Odyssey7Q and the Odyssey7Q+. So will free functions, such as the December update’s Custom Frame Guides. The Odyssey7Q and Odyssey7Q+ are effectively identical other than the HDMI input and Convergent Design is committed to continue to support all Odyssey products for years to come.

The Loyalty Program

With the new stretching of the Odyssey7Q warranty, the previously announced Odyssey7Q Owner Loyalty Program terms had to be slightly adjusted. Odyssey7Q owners who choose to participate in the revised Loyalty Program will, with the purchase of a new Odyssey7Q+, receive an additional year of warranty coverage on their Odyssey7Q (to January 1st, 2017), all purchased Record Options on the Odyssey7Q DUPLICATED (not transferred) onto the Odyssey7Q+ and $500 worth of credit coupons on the Convergent Design web store. These credits can be transferred to other registered Odyssey owners if so desired. For details of the Owner Loyalty Program, please see the article Convergent Design Odyssey7Q Owner Loyalty Program at DV Info Net.

Why No Upgrades or Trade-Ins?

Many people asked why Convergent Design did not offer a retrofit of the Odyssey7Q, or a trade-in program. We did study all possible options extensively. This is the best deal possible. Let me explain. The Odyssey7Q’s HDMI input receiver chip is hardware-limited to a maximum signal of 1080p30 (1080i60) in 8-bit. At the time the Odyssey7Q was developed this was the most advanced HDMI receiver chip on the market.

Convergent Design looked into numerous solutions to physically adding 4K input from HDMI sources to the Odyssey7Q. We did extensive testing on a box to accept 4K HDMI and convert it to SDI to plug into the Odyssey. It proved unreliable and degraded the signal. It was also bulky, power hungry (requiring separate power), heavy, inelegant and worst of all quite expensive. The solution would have cost more than $1000 to our clients. After trying to solve the technical issues in multiple ways, we had to abandon the option. Perhaps in the future there may be an off the shelf chip that does this work and the cost can be dramatically lowered while the functionality stabilized, but that is not the case today.

We looked into the possibility of a physical upgrade to the Odyssey7Q to turn it into an Odyssey7Q+. This is no small task. The board went through a major redesign to accommodate the new HDMI receiver chip (that’s why we had to swap the locations of the HDMI in & out ports). The only way to do it would be to rip out the old board and replace it with an entirely new one, and then go through extensive testing on what was essentially a new unit. We would have had to charge over $1000 for that as well. It would also mean clients sending in Odyssey7Qs from all over the world, being without their devices for weeks, customs and VAT issues for international trade, etc. It would have been a nightmare to deal with for you and for us.

We thought about a simple swap: send us your Odyssey7Q plus a fee and we send you an Odyssey7Q+. But this again would be a nightmare for international clients, some of whom would end up paying more to do this then they would simply buying a new Odyssey7Q+. It would also again mean you would be without your monitor/recorders for weeks. And that fee would be a bit hefty as there are substantial hard costs we have in the construction of an Odyssey7Q+. We all would like such an upgrade to only cost a few hundred dollars, but the reality is that we would once again be hovering near that $1000 mark.

So we decided to give owners a bunch of value on your original Odyssey7Q units so that if you wished you could choose to sell it yourselves. Trading in your car at the dealer is painless but you always get much less for it then if you sold the car yourself. We were trying to make it as sellable as possible. The Odyssey7Q gets a warranty extension twice as long as when it was brand new. The Record Options remain on it raising its value. And to try to ease the transition some more we include a gift of $500 credit towards the purchase of Recording Options on our website.

Convergent Design sells the Odyssey7 new for $1295. An Odyssey7Q on the resale market should easily sell for more. It would come with a longer warranty and it has far greater capabilities, such as 4K ProRes recording. Depending on the Record Options on the Odyssey7Q there is the potential to exceed the full purchase price of the Odyssey7Q+.

In the end we felt that this was the best value we could offer our clients.

Best Wishes,
Convergent Design

authored by Mitch Gross, Director of Communications at Convergent Design

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