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New firmware for converters: disappointed, again

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Jeff Hartman
New firmware for converters: disappointed, again
on Jul 6, 2012 at 3:00:25 pm

This morning I was excited to discover a new software release for the OpenGear converters dated July 4th on BMD's web site. Finally, I thought, they have fixed the captioning problems with the up/down/cross converter card that I sent in last December. (Four of these cards have been sitting on the shelf for better than half a year now because we can't air programming without captions.)

Downloaded the file, uninstalled the old software, installed the new software.

Plugged in the card: the software doesn't recognize it. Rats.

Looked at the manual that's packed with the new software: it's the same August 2009 document, written before the UDC card even existed. Useless.

So... a few questions:

What good is updated software that doesn't work with the product for which it is the linked download?

What good is a three-year-old manual that doesn't even mention the product?

What good is a converter card that can't properly convert all of the video content?

What good is a company that can't make its products work, and won't provide any tangible idea of when problems will be resolved?

Why should I even consider purchasing any more equipment from this company when I have thousands of dollars tied up with non-functional stuff?

Am I a bit annoyed? Most definitely!


-- Jeff


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Juan Salvo
Re: New firmware for converters: disappointed, again
on Jul 7, 2012 at 1:59:48 am

SD and HD captions are encoded entirely differently. Retaining captions from a downconvert is quite a bit more involved than just scaling a picture.

Colorist | Online Editor | Post Super | VFX Artist | BD Author

http://JuanSalvo.com


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Jeff Hartman
Re: New firmware for converters: disappointed, again
on Jul 9, 2012 at 1:13:48 am

Yes, I am aware of the mechanics of converting between 608 and 708 captions. The specific problem here is that the card performs proper conversion between some formats and not others. They acknowledged the problem back in December and said they were working on it. Half a year later, the problem is still not resolved.

Even if they are having technical problems making the product work correctly, that doesn't explain why they haven't updated the manual in three years so that it at least covers the products for which the document is downloaded.

If I seem annoyed, it's because frankly, I am. When one of my stations is out of technical compliance for whatever reason, I am expected to solve the problem promptly or be subject to government fines or sanctions. The FCC isn't going to care that we aren't transmitting closed captions because Blackmagic can't get their firmware fixed; we are ultimately held accountable. I wish that if BMD is going to target the broadcast market, that they would either take technical standards seriously enough to make sure their gear is fully compliant with relevant standards, or else give sufficient specifications for their products so that we can accurately discern whether they will actually perform the task we need to accomplish.

-- Jeff


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Joshua Helling
Re: New firmware for converters: disappointed, again
on Jul 9, 2012 at 8:59:22 pm

Hey Jeff,

Sorry to hear about the continuing difficulties. Unfortunately this update didn't include any fixes for the up/down/cross unit (as you can see).

This particular issue is still on the list, but didn't make it into this update. I don't have any timeframe update on this either, just thought I would let you know that it is still an active issue.

Sincerely,

Joshua
Director of Support
Blackmagic Design Inc.


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