After almost 10 years with my Proceed AVP and much time reading on the new technologies I decided to update or upgrade to more current technology and what a nightmare it has been to get up to speed. Ten years ago it was DTS and DD 5.1 a pre/pro and DVD player with these designations and you were set write the check and start enjoying.
What do you have today? Blu-ray vs. HD DVD. DolbyTrueHD, DTS HD-MA, DTS High Resolution, HDMI 1.1, 1.2, 1.3a, 1.3b (how about 1.4 and what will I get short changed out of by not waiting?) 1080/24 vs 1080/60 3:2 pull down etc., deep color etc. and finding a player that will bitstream all the formats mentioned so I can see the nice little display light up with DTS HD-MA vs having it come through PCM and missing the lighting up on the front display experience. There seems to be no HD DVD players that are available that will do DTS HD-MA in bitstream or PCM, the PS3 doesn't do it either - yet and maybe not bitstream never. How freaking confusing and annoying.
Anyway I decided on the Onkyo Pro PR
-SC885P and its on order, if it comes in next week or two months from now its fine because the Proceed still sounds fantastic. However, after reading the extremely long threads on the Onkyo/Integra models that have related technologies its seems many need FW updates and it seems that Onkyo/Integra are working on those, so what the problem? First its amazing at how simple the PS3 is to update especially if you have a Wifi version, you go to the menu choose search for update it finds it and installs it. Wow! Now that is technology moving forward. My Proceed has the RS-232 and it had to be updated through this clunky method and what do these cutting edge pre/pro's and receivers use? AN RS-232!
So I decide to try to get ahead of the curve and find out from Onkyo Pro if all the current 885's that will be sent in the next shipment will in fact have the most current FW update, so I called waited my 25 minutes on hold and I really love the automated message that plays about every 20 seconds "calls are answered in the order received someone will be with you shortly" - after you hear that ~ 3 times a minutes for a total of 25 minutes or 75 times, I realized I would try a different method and I actually got to a person. So I tell this person about the phone que system and ask the question about the FW issue (because if they dont have the current FW I would ask that they send a copy to my local service center and when my unit arrives I wouldnt have to go through the whole waiver thing) and this lady explains that not everyone needs the FW update only the one's experiencing the Reon issues, and that customers read to much on forums and then get in over there heads with the updates and they have already been contacted by some of these customers who have screwed up their units. Well I just shook my head. I said you know what the solution is? Design products like the PS3 that are idiot proof instead of using this dated technology of a RS-232 port along with the logistical nightmare of getting the updates to customers that they either install themselves or the other nasty option is to disconnect the unit and send back to Onkyo or take to the local service center (if you live in a major city). Which process do you prefer the PS3 'click update option' or the other mess I just described? She said she would pass my comment along which probably means I wasted my time. I tried to speak to the President of Onkyo and of course people at that level who could actually impact future products - they can never be reached.
Sometimes I think that those who are highly brilliant (as in highly gifted designers and engineers) are equally short changed in common sense. Look at the situation with Onkyo/Integra right now with just the 9.8/905/885 and ? FW update issue and the cumbersome method of either taking the units to service centers or sending them back and the long phone ques to tech support - the price is being paid directly by the tech support personnel, if theyre tied up with all this avoidable crap then it stands to reason that they aren't working on other units or issues that are totally unrelated only resulting in other customers who may become disappointed with the service level and all this can have an impact on the company in the long run - with people choosing another brand in the future. Unless there is some huge tech. obstacle or cost to building pre/pros and receivers that can receive updates via ethernet line or wifi, it really seems to be a collosal oversight by not thinking the ramifications through more carefully and designing/engineering/building accordingly. Doesn't Denon offer Wifi capability for updates?
I know its all wonderful for Onkyo/Integra right now as they can't even keep up with demand, but if you piss enough people off over easily avoidable mistakes that could change.
The lady I spoke with at Onkyo said, 'not everyone needs to update there FW.' Oh is that right? So when Microsoft sends out an update to their OS its not necessary for all their customers? I told her if its a FW update it is either an enhancement or a fix and therefore, yes all of your customers need it. Fix the design and the process and everyone will be happier including your customers who keep you in business and pay your salaries. It would be like me going to Japan and deciding I was going to sell black licorice sushi or tabasco flavored saki without really doing my research on Japanese culture and custom and hoping they will just pay for whatever I throw there way, not a really smart way of doing business.
Frankly, Onkyo/Integra could care less if I am or remain a customer, but its the millions like me that want to upgrade and I think its going to diminish there success if some of these issues aren't dealt with and people are either annoyed because they didnt buy the right thing because the tech choices are so complex or what they bought is a hassle to service or update.