XDR update needed: ship date and alpha model review. at DVinfo.net

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Old August 21st, 2008, 02:26 PM   #1
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XDR update needed: ship date and alpha model review.

I would like an update on the XDR's progress in regards to shipping date for those who have given up a $1,000 deposit weeks or months ago.

I would also like to hear from those who have already received the alpha models. Do they work as advertised?
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Old August 21st, 2008, 03:11 PM   #2
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Dear Douglas,

Yes, we agree that an update is in order. I will prepare this as soon as possible.

We welcome reviews from our "Alpha" users.

We are still working on developing the firmware and menu system, which means that we are developing the features that we promised.

We have recently added a feature, one that we had planned on all along, to format the CompactFlash cards in the Flash XDR itself. This was not in the original "Alpha Units", but we now have this working.

Other features are also being developed.

I will get more information on our current production status as soon as possible and post it here.
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Old August 21st, 2008, 04:55 PM   #3
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Dear Douglas,

Here is the update that I promised:

The Flash XDR circuit boards are on the production line today. This means that they are in the process of being built and we expect the entire production run of boards to be in our hands by Wednesday, August 27. We will have some before then, but we expect to have all of this month’s production run by Wednesday.

We will start assembly, testing, and burn-in next week. After final testing we will be ready to ship.

Shipping will probably be on a continuous basis during the month of September and thereafter. We will ship as soon as the units are fully tested and packaged.

The initial units are called "Alpha" units since they are the part of "in-the-field" testing.

Many of the "Alpha" units have performed well. But, we did have some problems with others.

Just a few units had a playback problem (playback glitches under some conditions).

We have been working on this problem. We believe that this problem has been solved. We expect to post a firmware update tomorrow. We are extensively testing our solution at this time.

In parallel with these efforts, we have developed a nice feature that allows our users to quickly format the CompactFlash cards in the Flash XDR itself. We can format four 32 GB CompactFlash cards in 15 seconds. This feature will be in tomorrow's firmware update.

I hope this helps.
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Last edited by Dan Keaton; August 21st, 2008 at 11:56 PM.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 11:31 AM   #4
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Dan:

So you are getting reports back from Alpha users. These reports are just not making it to the DVinfo site.

I was lead to believe when I made my deposit that the XDR was going to ship in July or August and now you're saying September.

It feels like you have over-stated your ability to deliver your product and you're still developing the functions of the XDR.

I suggest you take another approach to the sale of the Nano model.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 02:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Scott View Post
It feels like you have over-stated your ability to deliver your product
That statement seems overly and unnecessarily harsh to me. In my experience CD has been totally upfront about development and more open than any product development I've ever seen.

I would advocate not reviewing pre-production "alpha" models as their value is limited and they linger around to misrepresent the final product. Usually NDA's are involved when testing pre production equipment for reasons like this.

It's more or less a fact of life that development always takes longer than expected, regardless of how careful you are planning. At least we're not talking "RED" delays (or "Microsoft" for that matter).

Working out the final "kinks" just takes time. I'd rather CD delivers a product with the least amount of issues than for them to do a rush job to meet some arbitrary date. Although: less than 3 weeks to IBC, you guys ;-).

George/

Last edited by George Kroonder; August 23rd, 2008 at 03:09 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 06:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Scott View Post
I was lead to believe when I made my deposit that the XDR was going to ship in July or August and now you're saying September.

It feels like you have over-stated your ability to deliver your product and you're still developing the functions of the XDR.

I suggest you take another approach to the sale of the Nano model.
Hi Douglas,
I know how anxious you, I and the rest of CD's devout followers are to receive our XDR or nanoFlash recorders. However, if you take another look at Dan's most recent post (and all of his other info posts) you will notice that certain features that were initially planned for then shelved are now back. Features are being updated and circuitry is being improved. Mounting & powering ideas have taken extra time too.

Yes, I agree that you (and no doubt other as well) are becoming a little impatient but would you not agree with me that these extra features alone are certainly going to be worth the wait, let alone a properly operating recorder.

Again, Dan stated that there were a few glitches with some recorders. It would have been far more devastating for any paying customer to have received one of those units if CD had released them before they were ready.

You and I both would have been up in arms if we had received such a unit. I put my deposit on a nanoFlash to go with my EX3 and I want mine now as well. But let's give CD the congratulations they so deserve in halting any shipments until their units work flawlessly. You would most certainly agree with that.

I agree with you on the lack of updates to this forum - and not from Mike & Dan - but from Alpha users unless they have a confidentiality agreement with CD to prevent them from disclosing their findings which may freak some people out of buying a fully operating unit.

Lets give CD all the time they need - and it shouldn't be too much longer - to give us the best video/audio recorder in the world for the price!!!

Best wishes
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 02:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Scott View Post
So you are getting reports back from Alpha users. These reports are just not making it to the DVinfo site.

I was lead to believe when I made my deposit that the XDR was going to ship in July or August and now you're saying September.

It feels like you have over-stated your ability to deliver your product and you're still developing the functions of the XDR.

I suggest you take another approach to the sale of the Nano model.
Hi Douglas-
You are absolutely correct, we are late in delivering the Flash XDR. I apologize if this has caused problems with your schedule and planned usage of the product. Yes, I underestimated the amount of time to develop and debug this product. We have not hit any major "show-stopper" obstacles, it's just taken longer than we planned to get the product right.

That said, I can report that we posted our first firmware update yesterday, which will greatly improve the record and playback stability and adds 50/100 Mbps support, formating of the CF cards in the box, and new menu displays.

I can report that the alpha site users seem very pleased with the video quality, but everyone wants file-based editing capability ASAP.

Over the next few weeks we will be concentrating on the QuickTime and MXF file creation. We hope this integration will go smoothly, as our code has been extensively tested on the MAC and just needs to be transferred to the microcontroller in the Flash XDR.

After QT and MXF support is complete, we will add 24p pulldown removal, image flip and various other features.

We will try to be more conservative in our development time estimates. If you already have design experience in a particular area (such as HD-SDI), it's easy to estimate the time to develop a new board. In the case of XDR, we understood HD-SDI, but had a learning curve of Compact Flash, FAT32 file system, Quicktime, MXF, and the Sony Module to contend with. Fortunately, we're almost past all these issues.
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Old August 26th, 2008, 10:28 AM   #8
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Posted to Wrong Thread

For the simple folks like me with limited understanding about things I think I am finally starting to piece things together. If I am wrong about any certain points I look forward to being corrected.

The thing that sets me off the most about this type of thread is I see statements like "In my experience CD has been totally upfront about development and more open than any product development I've ever seen." ... George Kroonder, then I look at a company like Sony (the makers of the codec) or Cannon, or Panasonic, Et All, and ask myself how many people do they employ around the world dedicated to disseminating information to their clients on the professional and consumer levels and how do they really compare to CD.

More to the point of this posting, in my view, there seems to have been two key questions about these products since NAB 1) When will the product ship, and 2) When will we be able to see samples?

I am going to quickly deal with Question 2 first as it is more important to me personally.

Since beginning to inquire about video samples a plethora of reasons for no samples been given from very soon, to Sony would not allow, to we don't have a camera with high enough video quality, and the guy with unit on a cockpit needs extra clearances.

None of this was information but rather disinformation. If we listen to Mike Schell's most recent informative post, "Over the next few weeks we will be concentrating on the QuickTime and MXF file creation. We hope this integration will go smoothly, as our code has been extensively tested on the MAC and just needs to be transferred to the microcontroller in the Flash XDR.", what becomes clear is there have been no video samples because CD can not produce them yet from a Flash XDR unit. Given that CD expects to concentrate on these issues over the next few weeks, that alone takes us to when will the product ship.

Dan Keaton says, "The Flash XDR circuit boards are on the production line today. This means that they are in the process of being built and we expect the entire production run of boards to be in our hands by Wednesday, August 27. We will have some before then, but we expect to have all of this month’s production run by Wednesday.

We will start assembly, testing, and burn-in next week. After final testing we will be ready to ship." Sounds like all we need is for the hardware to come in, be assembled, tested, and then shipped. Sounds like things could start shipping as early as beginning of September.

But wait, Mike Schell said it would be weeks before the code to support .mxf files and QT files would be ready. Does that mean the hardware may be done but sitting and waiting for ported code? And then once the ported code has been added to the XDR units, isn't that really when testing of the XDR units should begin?

To suggest that Douglas Scott is somehow overly harsh is unfair to Douglas Scott. If you are told right around the corner enough times, after a few of the corners, one finds themselves right back where they start from. Douglass Scott's assessment was not harsh but highly warranted.

Speaking for the minority of me

David Schmerin

PS To Mike Schell: Apart from suggesting that I am a simpleton with limited understanding of things, I try very hard not to attack persons or personalities. If you feel I have attacked you personally, have cast any aspersions upon you, or in any way cast you in a negative light, I am sorry. None was meant
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Old August 26th, 2008, 01:05 PM   #9
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Thanks to David Schmerin for supportive and informative words on a consumer’s position of a product being sold. In this case, not being sold only promised.

To David Issko, I would like to state clearly that I am not a “devout follower” of CD or any other company. The word devout brings up images of not only a religious nature, but as a blind man who never questions companies, organizations, etc. I regularly purchase equipment from many suppliers and manufacturers when their products match my needs and not as a devout follower.

There are other solutions for doing what we need to do as far as recording digital signals. If CD’s XDR unit works as advertised, that will be a good thing. If it doesn’t work or the delivery of this product is too far away, then other solutions need to be considered.

As of now, I have around $1,600.00 sitting in someone else’s bank account for deposit, memory cards, memory card readers and shipping. The deposit, cards and readers are not bringing income into my company, which is the main reason for purchasing these products.

Deposits are usually collected when a delivery of a product has a known date. Otherwise, you are kind of buying stock in a company without the rules of a stock purchase. Your money is being used for R & D at best or worse at the golf course. Who knows?

I purchased the memory cards and readers because I was lead to believe the deliver of the XDR was right around the corner. What could happen now is by the time the XDR is delivered, I might have better spend the money on larger memory cards that are coming out or even worse the unit doesn’t really work after all. I’ll have to try and retrieve my deposit, sell (worthless to me) memory cards and readers at a loss on eBay.

To Mike Schell’s response and owning their missteps, I am appreciative. It gives me some confidence that CD is a reputable company. I personally have not dealt with CD before. I hope they produce the XDR as advertised and deliver it soon.
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Old August 26th, 2008, 04:14 PM   #10
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Small company inventions ...

The people on forums such as this were first influenced by product developers introducing products after the DVX100 came out. There was talk of qualities people wanted to see on their cameras and devices they needed to achieve a film look.
35mm adaptors were started in ernest when a kid from Central America put spinning plastic in a CD case and created a very cheap 35mm adaptor that worked ... not well but it worked! Jim Janard of Oakley came on these forums and said he was going to develop an affordable cinema camera that would be among the best in the world and now we have Red. Both of these developers were responding to the need for affordable hardware that could give us that film look and they engaged the film and video people on these forums to help them develop a better product. CD is doing a similar thing and we really need to give these people some space ... have a little faith in your fellow shooters who are attempting to get their inventions to market and seem to be doing so with the idea of providing a tested, affordable, high quality and reliable product. I fully paid for and waited for over 3 months for my RR matte box and when I received it was overjoyed that I got this excellent product ... equal in my opinion, to the best out there! I put a deposit down on a nanno/flash from CD ... that's not full payment but a deposit. That just indicates to product producers that people are serious about their investments. I'm as impatient as everyone else but ...
be patient ... have some faith ... !!!
My 2 Cents worth.
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Old August 26th, 2008, 07:39 PM   #11
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Thanks!

Hi Dean-
Thanks for the words of encouragement! Yes, this is taking longer than expected, no we're not at the golf course, but rather spending many hours in front of the logic analyzer / waveform monitor.

Yes, I understand that many people want (need) the Flash XDR / nanoFlash for a current or upcoming shoot. I apologize for the delays. But, again, much of this product involves new technology (to us) and estimating the time required is guess work at best.

We do have a large production run underway this week and hope to receive boards shortly. Since record and playback (at least at 50 Mbps) is working very well, we are now focusing all our development efforts on Quicktime (followed by MXF) file format support. We will post test files as soon as we can confirm playback in FCP.

We do have an exciting road map of (yet to be announced) new features and products planned over the next 12 months, so stay tuned...
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Last edited by Mike Schell; August 26th, 2008 at 07:53 PM. Reason: Clarification
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