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Sony/Apple dropping SxS compatibility

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Michael Moser
Sony/Apple dropping SxS compatibility
on Sep 2, 2009 at 11:29:35 pm

Two years ago I went to a trade show...Apple and Sony were taking part in each other's meetings. They definitely gave the impression FCP and EX technology were together for the long run in the professional environment.
What changed?

Did one or the other company drop the ball?

As a professional when I invest in a certain camera/workflow, I expect it to last.
If they expect me to continue to have confidence in them and support their products, they need to show more respect for the professional sector. Panasonic has supported, indeed pushed, P2 technology to the professional environment to a fault.

Snow Leopard beta has been around since February. HP and other developers built upgrades into their products before it's release. Why not Sony?

OK, so we've been playing around with SDHC adapters...They work well, but not iron-clad well.
When a client is spending lots of money for our services, experience, and expertise, the underlying technology needs to be iron-clad.

Why did I not spend all that money on a 32 gig SXS card if not as a vote of confidence for the workflow and technology. Otherwise they shouldn't have charged as much. I assume that some of that money goes to keeping up with changes in the underlying systems that most professionals use. It's insurance.

I do hope Sony manages to right its wrong in this instance and very quickly provide an upgrade to the SxS card reader software. It's their obligation to do so.

I have lost a little confidence, though, in the assurance that they support professional operation and I will think of this as I plan for future purchases of Sony equipment.

What do other professionals think?

Michael Moser


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Craig Seeman
Re: Sony/Apple dropping SxS compatibility
on Sep 3, 2009 at 12:05:12 am

If you poke around some of my very recent posts you'll see my sentiments are similar to yours.

For those who still haven't read whats's going on.
A few months back Apple's newest 15" MacBookPro dropped Express slot for SDHC slot. Only the 17" MacBookPro (not very portable for many) has Express slot.
Snow Leopard, which has been available for months to developers, is released and breaks SxS compatibility in Macs with Express slots. USB Express cards will still work in laptops with Express slots though so it's just PCIe that is broken which SxS uses.
Since all new Macs are Snow Leopard.
I'd also note that my system reports the PDWU1 extension is broken as well.
Sony response is it may take months, as late as next spring, to come out with a compatible driver.


The above means you can't even purchase a 17" MacBookPro to use with SxS.
If you updated 15" Mac with Snow Leopard your faced with wiping and going back to Leopard. Alternative if you're on Leopard you can stay there for some months which may be an issue if you have reason to need Snow Leopard for newer software.

Basically there's no new viable laptop with Express slot.
The Sony SxS to USB adaptor isn't bus powered so it's not something that's usable in many portable situations.

I'll add a large number of people are having the "Thumbnail Cache" issue with XDCAM Transfer although log and transfer still works.

Either this is very bad management resulting in coincidental lack of SxS support on Macs or it's a case of "controlled demolition." As I mentioned elsewhere in jest, maybe we need a "SxS Truther" movement.

Even if Sony was caught off guard by 10.6 "early" release they should have been close enough to have their software updated with days or, at most, a few weeks, not months.

Alternatively they'd have to announce direct support of SDHC if that's their intention.
I'd also note that JVC HM series works just fine with SDHC and EX codec.

Apple narrowed SxS support to one laptop. Sony, through their negligence, made sure that that laptop and any earlier models with Express slots wouldn't work either.



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Michael Moser
Re: Sony/Apple dropping SxS compatibility
on Sep 3, 2009 at 12:11:37 am

Maybe Sony will take care of the problem quicker than they've indicated. I've been a Sony user for much of my career. I'm surprised by the delay. This doesn't follow the usual pattern.



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Craig Seeman
Re: Sony/Apple dropping SxS compatibility
on Sep 3, 2009 at 12:34:38 am

There were people waiting a very long time for PDWU1 data write back with EX files on the Mac.
I don't a professional marketing or PR department would "clear" the emails people got after inquiring.
In fact a responsible company would have had a warning on their website that Mac users should not upgrade to Snow Leopard and/or announce that support would be forthcoming.



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Bill Ravens
Re: Sony/Apple dropping SxS compatibility
on Sep 3, 2009 at 1:10:18 am

For what it's worth...
I am invested in both Convergent Design CF recorders, which rely on the Sony XDCAM 422 codec to encode the HDSDI input signal. The encoded file is a proprietary Sony mxf format at bitrates that exceed 35 mbps. I have continuously asked for a SONY SDK that defines the decoder for these encoded files, specifically, so Cineform can implement the decoder into their NEO product. Cineform has informed me that they will not implement the XDCAM 422 codec until Sony releases this SDK.

I am boggled at the thought that a company as "prestigious" as Sony continues to treat professional and prosumer customers with such obvious disregard. Sadly, chronic complaints fall on deaf ears at Sony.




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Tim Kolb
Re: Sony/Apple dropping SxS compatibility
on Sep 3, 2009 at 3:30:30 am

I find it comical that somehow Apple has nothing to do with the fact that the OS upgrade they issued caused the incompatibility and it's Sony's fault...

As a long-time beta-tester, a software company management employee, and someone who works with multiple companies on development, this just isn't that unusual...

The development process is an ongoing process and development that changes the software is more likely to take place on the last day than the first... Often beta software can contain features that ultimately get cut at the last minute because they simply can't be perfected in time, and they could also find a defect somewhere that they correct at the last minute, that creates a problem somewhere else...

I've worked on software in development that has suddenly had QuickTime compatibility issues 72 hours before release because Apple released a new version and something changed.

While the development process of Snow Leopard may not have been a secret, I know that its release timing was a surprise to more than one company (I have no information about Sony specifically in this regard BTW).

So...I'd be hesitant to characterize Sony as suddenly "abandoning" anyone, as much as I'd say the same about Apple when they discontinued the slots compatible with P2 media...or the slots for Express 34 cards on some models.





TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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Craig Seeman
Re: Sony/Apple dropping SxS compatibility
on Sep 3, 2009 at 5:42:16 am

[Tim Kolb] "The development process is an ongoing process and development that changes the software is more likely to take place on the last day than the first... "

Since I work with other developers who were testing their products I don't think that was the case this time. I checked build numbers and the build Apple released was the same as developers had in the final stage.

[Tim Kolb] "I know that its release timing was a surprise to more than one company (I have no information about Sony specifically in this regard BTW). "

It certainly was a surprise but I believe most developers believed it was probably mid late September. What I saw was that some developer released their compatible updates as public betas or release candidates. I think a few others are just a couple weeks away.

Sony response has been winter or next spring, assuming the response reports are even mildly accurate. That seems a bit more unprepared to me than an OS release that might be 3 to 4 weeks early at most and developers had that OS RC in the preceding weeks.

While I don't think there's a deliberate abandonment of SxS, I can certainly understand a developer not having a release out the door at the same time as an OS, Sony's response is simply not proper. The Sony response is so "tepid" that I can't believe marketing or PR people would allow people dealing with customer contact to present that kind of timeline.





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john foundas
Re: Sony/Apple dropping SxS compatibility
on Sep 3, 2009 at 1:30:58 am

Are there compatibility issuses with the MACPRO and the SxS cards?
I'm about to make a large investment for my Prod Co.,
and would hate to be handicapped right out of the gate.

(EX1 cam, MACPRO Quad w/ FC Studio)


Help!


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Craig Seeman
Re: Sony/Apple dropping SxS compatibility
on Sep 3, 2009 at 5:23:48 am

The issue of SxS cards is with Mac laptop Express slots, MacBookPro.
Desktop MacPro only needs the Sony SxS to USB reader which works fine.



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Steve Connor
Re: Sony/Apple dropping SxS compatibility
on Sep 3, 2009 at 1:05:25 pm

Being as Sl has only just been released, I wouldn't expect everyone to have their drivers released at the same time, nor would I be as foolish as to upgrade to a .0 release of a new OS just days after release and expect everything to go smoothly.

There is no compelling reason to upgrade yet and I certainly don't mind waiting a couple of months or so before I do. I'm sure Sony will sort out the issue soon, until then I have a perfectly functioning system that I don't feel the need to change

Steve Connor
Adrenalin Television

Have you tried "Search Posts"? Enlightenment may be there.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Sony/Apple dropping SxS compatibility
on Sep 3, 2009 at 1:42:23 pm

[Steve Connor] "There is no compelling reason to upgrade yet and I certainly don't mind waiting a couple of months or so before I do."

And if you're setting up shop and were planing to buy a new Mac you should stop and wait? And if you were planing to buy a new Mac laptop for your business you should just book fewer shoots in the meantime?

[Steve Connor] "Being as Sl has only just been released,"
Developers have had it for months and they've had the final release build for several weeks. It's one thing to be a few weeks behind but Sony is talking about months.

Several companies at least put up beta or release candidate builds of their software if they didn't have the final releases of their SL compatible updates ready.

BTW some people upgrade their OS because other utilities are vastly improved and those developers had their stuff ready.

You can not purchase a Mac Laptop that will work with an SxS card as they all come with Snow Leopard. If you purchase a Mac Desktop there's a reasonable chance that XDCAM Transfer will have major issues.




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Steve Connor
Re: Sony/Apple dropping SxS compatibility
on Sep 3, 2009 at 4:23:12 pm

Well you could buy a copy of Leopard off eBay and install that instead on your new machine.



Steve Connor
Adrenalin Television

Have you tried "Search Posts"? Enlightenment may be there.


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Tim Kolb
Re: Sony/Apple dropping SxS compatibility
on Sep 3, 2009 at 4:34:32 pm

...or pick up a clunky old PC and transfer on that.

(...which was my answer when Mac discontinued the P2 compatible PCMICA slots as well...)



TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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Craig Seeman
Re: Sony/Apple dropping SxS compatibility
on Sep 3, 2009 at 4:57:19 pm

Or simply buy JVC HM or Panasonic camera that supports SDHC.

Sure there are a score of workarounds. Sony has to service their customers or lose them. Heck you can simply bootcamp a MacBook Pro, run Snow Leopard and Windows XP and use as needed and with Parallels or Fusion, drag and drop after input.

My point (which may not be yours) is that Sony has and may still be mishandling this. They should have had a warning not to upgrade on their site. They should have a "reasonable" timeline like every other major and most other smaller developers have.

I have a score of programs I use and in every case there was a warning, a public beta, a release candidate, an update available for Snow Leopard. So fare Sony is the lone exception. Heck even Adobe talked publicly about the state of compatibility with CS3 and CS4.

Apple, in my opinion, did their best job yet in handling the update to Snow Leopard through its development and release. Even the change to Archive/Install and dumping the old "update" was a wise decision decreasing the risk of bad OS upgrades. Developers had the final build a few weeks back so they had ample time to either make change or warn customers if they weren't ready.



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Andy Mees
Re: Sony/Apple dropping SxS compatibility
on Sep 4, 2009 at 1:45:36 am

Here's a weird one I've not seen before ... we have a user for whom direct SxS reading is actually still working (although he does have the thumbnail cache issue).

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=10111678#10111678


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Tim Kolb
Re: Sony/Apple dropping SxS compatibility
on Sep 4, 2009 at 2:46:42 am

[Craig Seeman] "Sony has and may still be mishandling this. They should have had a warning not to upgrade on their site. They should have a "reasonable" timeline like every other major and most other smaller developers have."

I can't argue with that one...




TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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Craig Seeman
Re: Sony/Apple dropping SxS compatibility
on Sep 4, 2009 at 2:47:52 pm

I can understand the drivers and other software updates not being ready. A simple statement to that effect on their site would have helped. This is especially so given the apparent "long" timeline Sony seems to have presented for their 10.6 compatible updates.




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