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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Rock+, which I like very much, but I have been considering for some time going the SDI route. I have been following posts on the TAW Forum and here regarding the benefits of the SDI mod, and have been trying to figure out how to accomplish the mod, given that I have a Panasonic H-1000 DVD player (which is not on the list of players that Immersive and Tom Strade normally modifies.)


I communicated back and forth with Tom Strade of Immersive about whether he could do the SDI mod to my H-1000, and Tom told me that he thought he could, but he would not know for sure until he popped the top. He estimated that if he could do it, the cost would be in the $800 range. I figured that it would be $800 for the mod to the DVD player (if Tom could do it) and $800 for the mod to the Rock+, for a total of around $1600. (This would work out just great, since I got a tax refund in that amount, and therefore got the necessary spousal approval.) The $800 price for the mod to the Rock+ I got because this is the price posted on the TAW Forum on at least six separate occasions from November 2001 until as recent as April 16, 2002 (the most recent two posts of the $800 price being by Phil of TAW).


My plan was to first see if the DVD player could be modified and, if so, to then make arrangements to get the Rock+ modified. A few days ago, Tom Strade reported that he could indeed do the mod to my DVD player, and he had already completed the work over the weekend. Since I now knew I could get the DVD player modified, I then made arrangements to get an RMA number from TAW to send my Rock+ back for modification. When I got the RMA number back, though, I was requested to sign an invoice that showed that the cost of having the mod done was $1200! I immediately emailed Phil and inquired whether this was a mistake, as I thought the price was only $800. Phil stated in an email back to me that the price went up "quite a while ago." I explained to Phil in response that I had seen the posts on the TAW Forum to the effect that the price was $800, including a post of his as recently as April 16, and that I had relied on that price in making my plans as set forth above. I also asked him where the $1200 price was set forth, as I could not find it anywhere on the Forum (figuring that if I missed it then it was my own fault). I suggested that they might want to post the price on the TAW Forum so that others would not also be misled. I also asked if he would consider honoring the $800 price if the increased price was not published on the Forum anywhere, in light of the fact that I had relied on the Forum posts.


Phil has responded with an email simply telling me that his best memory is that the price was changed in late April, that it was NOT posted in the TAW Forum, but that it is on every "published price sheet" that TAW releases. (To whom they release it, and how a consumer like me gets one, I'm not sure.)


I frankly cannot believe all of this and I don't know what to do. I am really stuck I guess. TAW apparently will not do the mod unless I agree to pay the 50% increase in price over what at least a half a dozen posts on the TAW Forum say is the price. I also can't believe that they have not posted the correct price on the Forum, that it cannot be found anywhere on the TAW site, that I (and maybe others) could be misled so easily, and that TAW doesn't seem to be concerned in the least about what might be termed at best an unfortunate circumstance.


As I said above, I really like the Rock+ and I don't want to sell it. Nor do I want to piss off TAW, which might be what this post will do. On the other hand, I don't want to spend an extra $400, and I am seriously concerned about relying on the Rock+ as my video processor. The ability to upgrade the Rock+ is very nice and I have been pleased with previous software upgrades, but I am concerned about "the future" if this is the kind of thing that can happen. Am I overreacting? Is this really the way TAW does business or am I at fault for relying on the posts by TAW on the TAW Forum? Does anybody have any ideas how I might go about resolving this? Should I just give in? Does anybody want to buy a Rock+ in perfect condition (sans SDI)? :(


P.S. I'm not looking for TAW flames, just constructive suggestions.
 

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You should have asked up front and they should have told and verified with you up front.


What to do now? Find a place in the middle with them knowing you still plan to give them more business in the future.


They may see you as high maintenance and sticking to the higher prices to keep you away.


Just my $.02


Dave
 

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Hi smitty,


Since you've learned the lesson and the DVD player is already modded, I suggest:


- sell the Rock

- buy the HTPC from here, AVS

- get the SDI input card from dschmelzer


And live happily ever after! :)


regards,


Li On
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I thought that HTPC's were tempermental and had a tendency to crash now and then? Also, it would seem that an HTPC would not be as easy to use as a processor that you can control by remote from your seat.


What does the Vigatec go for with SDI, roughly?
 

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You might check with KeyDigital to see if they have a new or B stock Leeza which will have the SDI input. If they do you could sell the TAW.
 

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smitty,


I have the Immersive-modified SDI player with a new HTPC using the SDI Silk input card. It has been working extremely well for me for the last couple of weeks. I've watched several movies with essentially no difficulties at all. The quality is at least as good as with using a software DVD player from the HTPC, and possibly better.


I also have the Rock+ and was not aware of the price increase. I don't see any reason to get the SDI modification at this point considering how well the PC with SDI is working out. My new HTPC is running Windows XP and is very, very stable.
 

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I'm also considering the SDI option after reading the 'poor man's' tread. But i get i bit upset about the prices they ask for the sdi upgrade. As i understand correctly about the upgrade. If your DVD player has a bt.656 compliant bit stream, you only need a $ 100,- sdi development board and connect 10-12 wires between them. I can understand that the first time finding out the correct places in the DVD player takes time, but once you have that information it should take 30 min. tops. This would mean like the modifier would urn $700 per 30min. ! (please correct me if a'm wrong)


originaly the sdisilk card (a bt878 based tv-card with max. $100 of sdi reciever hardware) cost $ 399,-. I found one at one of the sdisilk dealers for $ 599,-

I think $ 399,- is almost acceptable for a small production run pcb board, but hey $ 599,- come on...


I have no idea what hardware is used in the rock+, but $ 1200,- for a high speed serial card is a lot of money


Maybe i'm don't see the complete picture, who knows...
 

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Roberto Koelewijn,


1. Not anyone can get SDI dev boards.


2. Not everyone knows how to get the service manual and find out where the bt.656 is located.


3. Not everyone can solder on top of SMT in order to get the wires in place.


4. Immersive (or whoever does the mod) must also take into account if something breaks (if it does, it'll cost them the price of a new DVD player), shipping, cost of warranty, service costs, and also Tom's salary!


5. The cost of modifying the first unit also covers the investigation and experimentation on how to do it...


If you could offer the same service, your prices would ultimately be the same...


smitty,


We share your pain. Phil can be temperamental. There's no use in relying on TAW's forum - since things there have a tendency to change, or even out-right dissapear as Phil desires.


AFAIK, there are no official prices unless you go through an authorized dealer. It's certainly possible that Phil changed prices and relayed them to

his dealers. He is under no obligation to inform anyone else of his prices. That's why there's such a thing as price quotes (and that's why they have time limits).


Now that this has been said, keep in mind that TAW has been promising a new firmware update, which will likely not be free anymore. That basically means that if you don't want to keep paying up, the Rock+'s free upgradability path has run its course and is now changing direction (i.e., it's becoming a standard unit).


With the recent changes in scalers for the different companies, I wouldn't be so quick to decide, at this point. There are many different options you are now being offered (the CS-1 with SDI is a new one on me).


The theory goes that the more options you have as a consumer, the higher the competition, the lower the prices.


If TAW is to compete, they will eventually have to lower their prices.


If you want to stick with Rock+, your best bet is to haggle with Phil and hopefully try to lower the costs (it won't be by much, I think).
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Roberto Koelewijn
If your DVD player has a bt.656 compliant bit stream, you only need a $ 100,- sdi development board and connect 10-12 wires between them. I can understand that the first time finding out the correct places in the DVD player takes time, but once you have that information it should take 30 min. tops. This would mean like the modifier would urn $700 per 30min. ! (please correct me if a'm wrong)


originaly the sdisilk card (a bt878 based tv-card with max. $100 of sdi reciever hardware) cost $ 399,-. I found one at one of the sdisilk dealers for $ 599,-

I think $ 399,- is almost acceptable for a small production run pcb board, but hey $ 599,- come on...


I have no idea what hardware is used in the rock+, but $ 1200,- for a high speed serial card is a lot of money


Maybe i'm don't see the complete picture, who knows...
No offense, but you clearly don't see the big picture.


First of all, when I started this the only choice for SDI at all was to buy a player for $2500. There were no Panasonic's based SDI units available at the time and I was chastised by the other manufacturers for offering our upgrade services for too low a charge. To date, I don't think any one else has bothered to offer upgrades to this niche market. Probably because they are smarter than me and understand the risks involved.


What sort of risks? Well, for instance I recently had a customer beg for me to modify their Pioneer DV09 and I reluctantly agreed. I bought the service manual and my tech did the mod. When we went to test it we realized the drive was not working (note to self: test all units before modifying them). In the end, faced with repairing his unit that was probalbly damaged in transit, I gave the customer one of my own Technics A10 players. This is just one example. Most turn out OK - Smitty's H1000 above and Mark W.'s Meridian 800 all turned out fine. But when things don't go smoothly I end up eating the costs simply because I don't want to leave a customer high and dry.


Second, the SDI Silk board or my SDI boards costs more than $100. Neither Dan or myself design or build these boards - we had them built for us and had to commit to volumes and prepurchase the inventory. Toss in any NRE for Xilinx FPGA programming (for sat boxes) and you will soon learn that your statement above is pretty far off base. Fundamentally, you are comparing the price of an eval board from a multi-million dollar company that may be taking a loss so that they can sell the chips on the board to small companies that have no in-house abilities to run boards themselves or generate the volumes necessary to get the price per unit as low as $100.


Finally, Ofer is somewhat correct. The mods can be very easy for guys like Glimmie. For most people though, I think they will find out once they ruin their player that it isn't that easy for non-EE type folks. Having said that, if you can do it yourself - go for it! I hardly plan to build my company based on SDI mods. It's been a nice vehicle to gain some recognition and earn a little - but it hardly pays my phone bill per month let alone offer enough income to live on.


I'll keep doing the mods till it gets to be a drag. For a while I was going to flush the whole thing as it really was taking up too much of my time for very little return. But now I have a good contractor that is doing the leg work so I'll keep on going so long as people see some value in the service we provide. Once someone else starts to do it I'll probably just drop the service offering.


The bottom line is if you can get a National SDI eval board and if you are willing to eat the costs of the player you may ruin then you can take the risks and save yourself $450 (give or take a hundred depending on the player). But please don't insinuate that I am some how stuffing the ole' Thanksgiving turkey here - that simply could not be further from the truth.
 

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Smitty,


Don't forget you as the consumer are trying to purchase something directly from the manufacturer. This does not always equate to savings. My suggestion is to find an AV dealer that your comfortable with or ask TAW of a dealer nearest you that carries there line and speak with this dealer. See if they can give you a break in price. Most high end stores will work with you. you may not pay the eight hundred but you may also save 200.00 from the $1200.00. I don't think it fair to bash TAW on this. Every company is entitled to price increases. You can but an airline ticket today for say $800.00 and plan your vacation and when your ready to book your reservation the price jumps 2 folds. Unfortunately that's life sometimes.


Good Luck :rolleyes:

JohnBoy
 

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Quote:
But please don't insinuate that I am some how stuffing the ole' Thanksgiving turkey here - that simply could not be further from the truth
Tom,


Wouldn't matter if you were stuffing the bird. You have a right to earn a profit, no matter how big or small. No one is forcing people to do these mods.


I think too often because manufacturers (which I consider Immersive) participate in these forums and are often enthusiasts themselves, that members expect some form of "charity" (rediculously low price) when it comes to mods like these.


Tom, if you're making $10 or $1000 per mod, more power to you. To those that don't like the pricing, better learn a lot about electronics and a soldering gun. People forget their paying for more than just the electronics component itself. You're paying for the knowledge someone has to do these mods, and that includes all the time it took to learn how to do this. People, DVD players have been around since 1997, and here we are in 2002, and just now are SDI mods becoming more common place.


You go Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by johnboy
Smitty,


Don't forget you as the consumer are trying to purchase something directly from the manufacturer. This does not always equate to savings. My suggestion is to find an AV dealer that your comfortable with or ask TAW of a dealer nearest you that carries there line and speak with this dealer. See if they can give you a break in price. Most high end stores will work with you. you may not pay the eight hundred but you may also save 200.00 from the $1200.00. I don't think it fair to bash TAW on this. Every company is entitled to price increases. You can but an airline ticket today for say $800.00 and plan your vacation and when your ready to book your reservation the price jumps 2 folds. Unfortunately that's life sometimes.


Good Luck :rolleyes:

JohnBoy
My undertanding is that the SDI mod to the Rock+ has to go through TAW, not one of their dealers (whereever they are).


I agree that every company is entitled to price increases. But the airline industry is a bit different as, among other things, people know fares change regularly. Here the price has been constant since the mod was first available six months ago. Also, the price jumped a whopping 50%. In addition, there really is no convenient way to find out about TAW prices (or dealers or anything else for that matter) other than by reading the TAW Forum or calling them long distance. You can't get any information off of their web site about the price of the SDI mod. Frankly, since THEY use the TAW Forum as the primary vehicle to comminucate with their customers, and THEY posted repeatedly that the price was $800, it seems to me THEY could post an update that the price went up 50%. I mean they posted that the price of the Rock Lite went down, and they post other news and information that they use to try to stimulate sales. Why can't they just post the fact that they have raised the price on a mod that is discussed almost every day on their Forum? And why don't they show some recognition that maybe they have not handled this particular situation the best way. Their attitude smacks of: "Tough luck. It's your problem."
 

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Smitty,


I understand your frustrations and I also understand your position. But first I don't think that you should take it as a personal insult. I agree that you should speak with Phil. He has come through in the past for me and was very gracious about it. You can reason with him. There's a lot of logic in your statement and I'm sure Phil will listen. Since your half way to having an SDI setup it would be to your advantage to speak to him and he will advise you as well of dealers.


Best of Luck

JohnBoy :cool:
 

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Quote:
But the airline industry is a bit different as, among other things, people know fares change regularly
Fares change also based on demand.


Discounts are run when the planes are not filling up. Airlines don't regularly run discounts because they want to, they do it because they aren't selling seats. That's why a seat today could cost you $1000, and two weeks from now on the same flight, same day, the guy next to you could have paid $500.


Having said that, perhaps the demand for the SDI mod on the Rock is high, and thus a price increase has happened.
 

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FWIW, here's the web page from the TAW site where you can request info on any TAW products, as well as find a dealer in your area.

http://www.tawinc.net/contact_us.htm


This page has been there from the beginning, just like MANY other Manufacturer's websites. I don't understand the confusion. TAW is not a reseller, they are a manufacturer. Contact TAW for your local dealer, if there is none, then TAW will refer you to another dealer if they wish, or decide to sell directly to the end user.


I am a dealer for TAW and appreciate this approach VERY much, as I'm sure other dealers would too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I appreciate all the input. I think I will try to contact Phil and see if we can work something out, once I receive my DVD player back from Tom. The way things have been going with this SDI mod, I could see me sending the Rock+ off to TAW and then finding out my DVD player was misrouted by UPS to Argentina.
 

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Dave:


Playing Devils Advocate here.....


Were TAW always not a reseller...Did the guy buy from a dealer or perhaps from his DEALER...TAW. If he bought from TAW....


I myself would always check pricing with supplier before purchase but I can understand where confusion can creep in....


Gordon
 
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