Originally Posted by Ken Ross
Well, if that's the process, then it should have happened before the unit was released. It still goes back to Samsung's in-house testing, which has been shown to be lacking on more than one occasion with their units. If the fault lies with Broadcom, then it should have been discovered by Samsung in-house. Hell, you found out these issues in one hour
I draw a line between feature issues and stability / bug / minimal operation issues. What follows will surely tick a bunch of people off, but I think it is important to distinguish between the type of issues:
What I consider non-critical issues because, although extremely important, were stated in the specifications as the expected performance of the product:
1) Dolby TrueHD two channel only. It was stated in the manual on page 10. This is not a bug, but just a unfortunate below expectation specification. Apparently, this was the case for the 1400 as well, but a firmware update fixed that.
2) Lack of DTS-MA is not a surprise either, considering it is not on the BCM7440 product brief.
What I consider critical issues because they affect the proper operation of the stated product specifications or long time expectations of operation or licensing requirements:
1) Substandard speaker setup. This is really odd to me, and seems like a violation of Dolby License for on board Dolby Digtial decoding. This is worth a license complaint to Dolby. But my guess is that Broadcom pushed through a waiver for the time being on Samsung's behalf.
2) The Dolby Digital Plus motorboating is not good. That is definitely a Broadcom issue, and needs to be fixed in the DSP binaries ASAP.
Now, with regard to finding issues, note that I have not been able to deterministically reproduce the motorboating issues. Internally, it is probably some sort of timing issue, such that it only happens at just the right times in a cycle. I will probably figure it out eventually, but I can guarentee you that Samsung (nor any other product company) would have standardized tests in place to catch that. Samsung is relying on Broadcom to provide a fully validated and licensed implementation of the codecs (meaning Broadcom spent the money and time for testing, instead of Samsung doing it).
With product cycles as they are (shorter and shorter, with two a year now), there is no time to validate all subsystems from the system integrator level (which is Samsung). Each subsystem supplier does that, and the system integrator relies on that documentation. If you build a house, you rely on the contractors to provide quality work with quality components, but you don't give them a contractors' exam yourself, and personally inspect and qualify every piece of hardware they use. You look at their license and then specify or approve the brand of components, and then go from there.
I'm not trying to defend Samsung here, but I am trying to explain how it works and what the trade-offs are that enable us to go from the from the announcement of an enabling reference design at CES *this year* to a product manufacturered this fall (!!!). The LG player based on the BCM7440 probably doesn't have the analog outs simply because Broadcom did not have that part of the reference design software done yet, and putting the outputs on there was too high a risk for when the product would release. LG could not get away with "7.1 Analog outputs - for future use!"
At this point, I bet the delays in the Samsung product are directly attributable to Broadcom not having the on-board codecs done yet. That REX DSP subblock looks to be completely new, and was probably the highest risk thing on there. I laughed hard at the fact that they put two MIPS cores with their own separate data caches on there. HD and BD are running on two separate processors! They completely side-stepped the issue of merging the HD and BD codebases by just sticking the two separate processors in there. That is a great risk reduction technique, at the cost of a little extra silicon. I am not sure about the pedigree of the DSP, but I'm going to hunt that down. Looks pretty new. I'll have to look at the HD or BD reference designs to see what they were using before to understand what this new thing is.
Yeah, I found the issues quick, but that is what I do. I am not even close to an average consumer. I bang on products and find root causes all the time - it is just one of those things I've always been good at since I was a kid.