Cedia 2009: Theta digital news!!!@@@ - Page 10 - AVS Forum
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paladin80N View Post

Does anyone know if anything weird is going on with Theta? I called to get technical support, left a phone number and it was never returned. A few days later I finally reached someone and they said were at the ATI building and that the Theta people had not been moved to the ATI location yet. The only answer I could get to a question about a noise in my amplifier was to go to the web site, fill out an RA form and send it in to ATI. The person on the phone sounded like a temp employee who knew absolutely nothing about the product.

I need the amp fixed and unlike other companies, Theta does not provide schematics to anyone. This effectively negates going to a local repair shop. I then went to the web site, filled out the form and sent the Dreadnaught II to ATI. Today I was checking my package tracking and I was informed that ATI had refused to accept the amp and now FedEx has the status as "future delivery requested".

This whole saga with Theta has left me very uncomfortable. I was planning on looking at the Dreadnaught III and possibly a new processor if they get the HDMI squared away. Like many others, I am beginning to question the sanity of continuing to business with this company.

Weird going on? What you describe is weird. And of course I do believe you. So I am concerned, too!

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Old 10-16-2009, 09:25 PM
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Why not close this thread, since no Cedia news & start another for "Theta Gripes".

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco
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Old 10-17-2009, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paladin80N View Post

Does anyone know if anything weird is going on with Theta? I called to get technical support, left a phone number and it was never returned. A few days later I finally reached someone and they said were at the ATI building and that the Theta people had not been moved to the ATI location yet. The only answer I could get to a question about a noise in my amplifier was to go to the web site, fill out an RA form and send it in to ATI. The person on the phone sounded like a temp employee who knew absolutely nothing about the product.

I need the amp fixed and unlike other companies, Theta does not provide schematics to anyone. This effectively negates going to a local repair shop. I then went to the web site, filled out the form and sent the Dreadnaught II to ATI. Today I was checking my package tracking and I was informed that ATI had refused to accept the amp and now FedEx has the status as "future delivery requested".

This whole saga with Theta has left me very uncomfortable. I was planning on looking at the Dreadnaught III and possibly a new processor if they get the HDMI squared away. Like many others, I am beginning to question the sanity of continuing to business with this company.

Following is something I found among my many twilight zone AV contacts which may shed some light:

"-----Original Message-----
From: Theta Digital technical support [mailto:tech.thetadigital@gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2009 2:03 AM
To: Ken Mills
Subject: Re: RA #5063 - Theta Digital Service Request

Hello Mr. Mills:

Glad to be of assistance.

I can tell you that there are many areas of the world with similar
power fluctuations, and that Theta Digital has been selling into them
for over two decades! I can also tell you that, almost to a man,
every installation that has included an AC signal regenerating line
conditioner has resulted in problems for the Theta Digital gear
plugged into it. Standard surge protectors have sufficiently
protected the gear, and allowed them to work as designed.

If you're planning to purchase the HDMI option when it becomes
available, perhaps you should wait to get your unit serviced then.
The power supply would need to change anyway with the HDMI option, and
the repair work on the software side would be done as part of the HDMI
installation.

The HDMI option's ship date has not yet been established. The product
development team have informed us that they are about 95% done, and
that the last 5% is really the most difficult. If all goes absolutely
perfectly and without any hitches (which it rarely does in software
development!) then the HDMI option could be available at the end of
the year / early next.

However, because Theta Digital is moving its operations into the
facility of its parent company, ATI, over the next couple months, we
wouldn't be able to store your unit while you wait for the HDMI
option. I've already asked, and been told a very firm "No." The
inventory folks are already overwhelmed at the movement of all the
product, as well as Theta Digital's entire production line, tooling,
parts, test equipment, etc., and they don't want any chance of either
damaging or losing anyone's property!

Best regards,

Carl Nicolson
Theta Digital
1749 Chapin Road
Montebello CA 90640
USA
+1 (323) 278-0001 voice
+1 (323) 278-0083 fax
tech.thetadigital@gmail.com"

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Old 10-18-2009, 03:05 AM
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That "last 5%" business is beginning to sound like a vast metropolitan sewage treatment service. They certainly have stuffed a lot of sh*t into it.

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

Thanks,

Nick
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Old 10-18-2009, 03:56 AM
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oh sh!t!... 2010??!! How long will they keep rouse going??

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There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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Old 10-18-2009, 08:07 AM
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Thanks for the information Steve; I now have some hope of getting the amp repaired.

If the transition to the new facility is going to take a couple of months, it appears I am in for a very LONG wait. When I sent in the RA, the web site FYI stated to plan at least 2 months for the Dreadnaught II repair. Couple that with the move in delay, I am looking at a least 4 months. I wonder which event will occur first, my amp repair or the release of HDMI. This would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic.
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Old 10-20-2009, 06:52 PM - Thread Starter
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http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....sablanca-iii-h

Preorder pricing for new CB3 HDMI 1.3s

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Old 10-20-2009, 07:44 PM
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I looked at the ad. Was the CBIII operational via HDMI at CEDIA like the seller claims? Or is the seller lying?

Should be interesting.

My Home Theater of the Month- Le Petit Trianon

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

I looked at the ad. Was the CBIII operational via HDMI at CEDIA like the seller claims? Or is the seller lying?

Should be interesting.

Jeff, weren't you at CEDIA? Weren't you at the Theta booth as I think you said you would check them out?

Mike Pontelle and Carl Nicholson both recently said the HDMI 1.3 was
95% done. Whether the CB3 HDMI 1.3 was working at CEDIA with HDMI 1.3 only being 95% there heck if I know.

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Old 10-20-2009, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Satullo View Post

That "last 5%" business is beginning to sound like a vast metropolitan sewage treatment service. They certainly have stuffed a lot of sh*t into it.

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

Thanks,

Nick


Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

oh sh!t!... 2010??!! How long will they keep rouse going??


And assuming the HDMI 1.3 does come out in the next six months to year or so, then what would you guys complain about?

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Old 10-20-2009, 08:16 PM
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Yes, it was in fact via HDMI- nothing else.
This is just a dealer trying to drum up sales.
What surprises me is the he doesn't hawk the blu-Ray as the next best thing since sliced bread. If it were me, I'd just advertise a flat discount of 20% off all new Theta orders until Thanksgiving.

Dan

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C'SEED Entertainment Systems GMBH
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
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There's another thread here at this forum with some interesting comments showing, as Linda Ronstadt sang, that "It Ain't So Easy" doing custom software on something like the Theta Casablanca 3:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Hidley View Post

Your information about Jade Labs, Sunfire, Emotive, etc is correct.

Vinci Labs made surround processors for a number of companies. Parasound, Classe, NHT, Halcro, and others. The vast majority of surround processors made by third parties, all come from a total of about four companies. In other words, very few of the small high end companies make their own surround processors. Almost all of them, buy them from elsewhere.

With regards to DSP platforms in surround processors. I think the main reason that there aren't that many people specializing in this, is that there is no money to be made. The entire yearly sales volume of every single surround processor sold by a mid or high end company, in the world, is probably about the same number as ATI sells of one video card model in the PC world. If you are a DSP programmer, where are you going to spend your time working?


Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

In my old job I had a team that ported and optimized signal processing algorithms in DSPs and other platforms like it. And we received many design wins for them in CE products.

It is true that few people can do a good job here. The problem is not lack of DSP programming skills. There are thousands of people with skills in the above platforms. The problem is finding someone that knows programming plus knowledge of audio/video algorithms. The latter is super important. For example, when we first tried to port WMA audio codec to an embedded platform, we were give 1/10th the memory space and 1/4 of the CPU performance of our most optimized implementation!

We got the CPU load there quickly but how on earth do you get 1/10th the memory usage? I remember we needed more than that just to perform the basic transform. Well, if you understand signal processing, then you can also figure out equiv. ways of making the same operation happen. That a months of burning the midnight oil got us there eventually .

As to your original question, these are the scenarios in play:

1. The chip company wants to differentiate its product so goes out and gets as many algorithms ported to their chip as possible and offers them (usually) free of charge to their customers. This is the most common way people get MP3, DD, etc these days. Essentially all mass market products fall in this category. They are simply repackaging what is shipped to them from the core platform provider.

2. The technology company (who invented something new) goes and pays either the chip company or a third-party (e.g. Berkeley Designs) to port the algorithm to target DSPs used in A/V product.

3. A big customer (top 5 CE company) wants certain new feature. That gets the chip company interested to do the port for them and then the rest of the industry gets a free ride (usually after some exclusivity). This is a good scenario as then the chip company's resources are applied with excellent knowledge and ability to reuse existing building blocks.

4. In rare situations, the CE company itself develops the algorithm. This rarely happens as the above measures are usually in play. The work is done as to create additional differentiation. Example is the one you gave: Merdian. As you noted, this is expensive, and risky as there is no assurance that your folks know more that say, the technology creators.

In our case, we did some of the ports, and others did the rest. I don't recall any of our OEM customers doing any of the work though. All in all, there are hundreds of millions of devices with our technology in it (excluding the billion+ PCs). Sitting here, it is hard to imagine that outcome, sitting through our first chip company meeting with the guy telling me no one would have any interest in our technology in CE world . To give you some context, I had 20 to 25 people doing this work full time. So it cost quite a bit to get there...

I do hope Theta gets there and I get my upgrade. A side benefit would be laughing at The Bland and Nick. But there still remains the potential that they could have the last laugh, but I hope not! Until the fat lady sings!

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Old 10-20-2009, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

There's another thread here at this forum with some interesting comments showing, as Linda Ronstadt sang, that "It Ain't So Easy" doing custom software on something like the Theta Casablanca 3:


I do hope Theta gets there and I get my upgrade. A side benefit would be laughing at The Bland and Nick. But there still remains the potential that they could have the last laugh, but I hope not! Until the fat lady sings!

While I hope you do get the last laugh, that Audiogon blurb was pretty feeble, Steve.

If that "last 5%" has taken so long, when every other company in the industry long ago (by industry standards) figured out a way to adapt to HDMI, why would anyone think that more time is going to make a difference?

It's okay, though. We all have our Theta CBIIIs, in one way or another.

Thanks,

Nick
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Old 10-20-2009, 10:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Satullo View Post

While I hope you do get the last laugh, that Audiogon blurb was pretty feeble, Steve.

If that "last 5%" has taken so long, when every other company in the industry long ago (by industry standards) figured out a way to adapt to HDMI, why would anyone think that more time is going to make a difference?

It's okay, though. We all have our Theta CBIIIs, in one way or another.

Thanks,

Nick

I had a Citation 7.0 surround processor, which they promised was upgradeable to the upcoming Dolby Digital. Citation of course went under.

I really can't complain even if the HDMI 1.3 upgrade never materializes, in that I've got years of great sonics and several upgrades already of my Casablanca. But it'd be nice to go one more step!

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Old 11-02-2009, 02:29 PM
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So now CES is just around the corner, should we expect to hear something at CEDIA 2010?
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Old 11-02-2009, 07:16 PM
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Yes, HDMI availability not sooner than Summer 2010 (which really means one more year, provided they will still be around).
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Old 11-03-2009, 07:15 AM
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I find it hard to believe that ATI-Theta could have sold even 1 CB3 over the last 12 months....
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Old 11-03-2009, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LJG View Post

I find it hard to believe that ATI-Theta could have sold even 1 CB3 over the last 12 months....

Ask this: When they've been saying for over a year that it's the "last 5%" that they can't get right (for HDMI), and with zero consumer interest in the product, why is there the reason to think they'll find the answer if they play with it longer? Who doesn't have HDMI anymore?

Good luck.

Nick
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Old 11-03-2009, 07:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LJG View Post

I find it hard to believe that ATI-Theta could have sold even 1 CB3 over the last 12 months....

How about 24-36 months. HDMI has been around quite a long time now.

That said, it Theta/ATI does do HDMI, it will be in a CBiV and the CBIII owners will likely get a ridiculous trade up program similar to what Lexicon instituted when they moved their analog MC-12 to HDMI. That said, Lexicon gave you a whole new processor - no 'upgrade' per se.

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Old 11-03-2009, 07:53 AM
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I'm as skeptical as the next guy as far as Theta goes, but if you go to their website and go to the Contact area and then go to Support you will see a box on the right side of the screen asking what upgrade or support you would like. Several items down you will see a heading for CB III to CB III HDMI Edition which they obviously say is not available yet, but the sheer fact that they have it listed gives me some hope.
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Old 11-03-2009, 08:18 AM
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Yeah but on the same website if you go to their press releases, the press release for the HDMI upgrade is dated September 2008
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Old 11-03-2009, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgsdds View Post

I'm as skeptical as the next guy as far as Theta goes, but if you go to their website and go to the Contact area and then go to Support you will see a box on the right side of the screen asking what upgrade or support you would like. Several items down you will see a heading for CB III to CB III HDMI Edition which they obviously say is not available yet, but the sheer fact that they have it listed gives me some hope.

More breadcrumbs. I think if there's nothing by CES, they're done.

I do, however, think there is interest in the product.
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Old 11-03-2009, 11:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

How about 24-36 months. HDMI has been around quite a long time now.

That said, it Theta/ATI does do HDMI, it will be in a CBiV and the CBIII owners will likely get a ridiculous trade up program similar to what Lexicon instituted when they moved their analog MC-12 to HDMI. That said, Lexicon gave you a whole new processor - no 'upgrade' per se.

And all of their subsequent upgrades for the MC-12HD have been free, including the latest free upgrade enabling 7.1 channel input via LPCM over HDMI, bringing a platform architecture from 2001 up-to-date. Yes the HDMI upgrade was a major expense, but averaged over the last eight years my total cost of ownership to maintain current technology has been pretty reasonable. I've been enjoying HDMI high-resolution audio and video through my MC-12HD since June 2006. Don't know what all the fuss is about--the technology has obviously been there since Lexicon was able to supply it, all that others need to do the same is the engineering competency. And of course the commitment to their customers.

Cheers,
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Old 11-04-2009, 04:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Brandes View Post

And all of their subsequent upgrades for the MC-12HD have been free, including the latest free upgrade enabling 7.1 channel input via LPCM over HDMI, bringing a platform architecture from 2001 up-to-date. Yes the HDMI upgrade was a major expense, but averaged over the last eight years my total cost of ownership to maintain current technology has been pretty reasonable. I've been enjoying HDMI high-resolution audio and video through my MC-12HD since June 2006. Don't know what all the fuss is about--the technology has obviously been there since Lexicon was able to supply it, all that others need to do the same is the engineering competency. And of course the commitment to their customers.

Cheers,
Philip Brandes

I've been HDMI since 2006 as well...

It is clear Theta will never offer HDMI in the CB III chassis if they offer it at all.. We have seen (non-functioning) prototypes for the last 2 years. By the time this comes to be (if it ever does), HDMI 1.4 will be ubiquitous. I recall Evelyn coming here and asking Theta owners to hang on. Then we found out the company was sold. ATI buys it and what else can they say to their loyal owners? Sure, we'll do the add on with all our big dollars! Even though their intentions were likely true, reality has set in and it likely will never be done.

Moreover, what Theta is offering for $4K to $5K is ridiculous in today's world. Some heavy duty companies are releasing designed-from-the-ground up pre/pros that are laden with new technology, features and a forward thinking design for little more. Even if Theta had an HDMI retrofit solution today (at $$K to $5K), would many Theta owners buy it?? I seriously doubt it.

It's too bad. They could've just told owners the truth years ago rather than stringing them along for so long for what appears to be nothing. Now Theta pre/pros have a resale value in the toilet.. There's no loyalty to their customer base at all.

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Old 11-04-2009, 07:35 AM
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I'm not sure Theta has any choice but to (eventually) release an HDMI product. If they do not do so, the message they will have delivered to their incredibly patient customer base will be "we are not a company you can trust so go take your business elsewhere " (which I personally already did). Theta (not ATI) will cease to exist. But has has been stated, their pricing is ridiculous. My "upgrade" was going to be $10,000.

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Old 11-04-2009, 09:12 AM
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Guys, I know our patience is tested, but if we consider all the problems other high end manufacturers have had with HDMI implementation with their processors and all the time and effort they have needed after this with bug fixing and almost continuous releases of new firmware versions, I think we all can understand that ATI/Theta not wants to end up like this and release a product that is not fully tested and working. (Ref. threads with Cary cinema, Anthem, Classe etc)
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Old 11-04-2009, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioguy View Post

My "upgrade" was going to be $10,000.

And for that you do not even get room correction. I will have to give my CBIII away for which I paid $15000. When was the last time any of you had to write off $15,000?
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Old 11-04-2009, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by shumi_9 View Post

When was the last time any of you had to write off $15,000?

In high end audio? I would not even want to speculate how much I have "written off"?

My Casa Blanca was $14,000. I sold it a few months ago for $1000 (less Paypal and shipping).

New Theater

Don't count the years. Make the years count. Lou Holtz
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Old 11-04-2009, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Armand07 View Post

Guys, I know our patience is tested, but if we consider all the problems other high end manufacturers have had with HDMI implementation with their processors and all the time and effort they have needed after this with bug fixing and almost continuous releases of new firmware versions, I think we all can understand that ATI/Theta not wants to end up like this and release a product that is not fully tested and working. (Ref. threads with Cary cinema, Anthem, Classe etc)

But Lexicon implemented HDMI and subsequent capabilities without "almost continuous releases of new firmware versions," so did Meridian. It's possible if you know what you're doing and don't turn your customers into alpha and beta testers. The formula those companies followed was: don't over-promise, don't announce a capability until it's almost ready to go, then meet your delivery. Amazing what kind of confidence that can inspire.

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Old 11-04-2009, 02:40 PM
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At this point, I can't imagine many Theta owners left or those that are would invest such a substantial sum into the moribund piece - considering there may be no future support. A lot of failures in the last few years in the high end. Halcro, Meridian, LExicon have done HDMI now but oddly none has a new product out. I think HDMI 1.4 / 3-D is going to be the game changer and that is the stall as this is new ground for manufacturers.

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There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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