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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » Dolby discontinues the Dolby line of servers (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Dolby discontinues the Dolby line of servers
Brad Miller
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 - posted 12-20-2014 01:09 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
This is a continuation discussion from a previous thread which started here on page 2 of the discussion.

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Carsten Kurz
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 - posted 12-20-2014 06:34 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Any suggestions what could happen to the Dolby TMS?

Dolby software turned DCI compatible, but there is the pending transition to SMPTE DCPs. I would think they will still support the DSS200 and DSS220 through that, but I guess there is little chance for the DSS/DSP100?

- Carsten

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

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From: Annapolis, MD
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 - posted 12-20-2014 08:33 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Dolby software already supports SMPTE DCPs. System 4.7.3.3 supports SMPTE and is operational on DSS100/DSP100.

As for the Dolby TMS...it is to continue for at least 3 years beyond discontinuation. However, if you have a DSL200, there is a FAQ document that states that the Doremi TMS will, at some point in the future, work on that server and bridge the gap and allow both DSS and Doremi servers to integrate. If the DSL200 is within 3-years of purchase, the software update will be free-of-charge.

The ones that I think will be the most hurt if there is a problem with their equipment are the mini-plexs where one server functions as the TMS.

The potential pitfall is if one's aging CAT862 fails, being able to abandon it and plug in a CAT745 into a series 2 will no longer be an option.

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Mattias Mattsson
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 - posted 12-21-2014 03:53 AM      Profile for Mattias Mattsson   Email Mattias Mattsson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What I can see, the only custom parts made by Dolby for the DSS200 is the following:

CAT862 Media Block
CAT914 GPIO board (USB-based)
CAT915 Front Panel USB-board
DPN8309290 Front Bezel

All other parts are standard SuperMicro parts.

One question regarding the motberboard though. The M/B in a recent DSS200 is labeled X8SIE-LN4-DL0006, whereas the standard board sold by SuperMicro lacks the "-DL0006" suffix.

Does anyone know if the only difference between these are the custom Dolby BIOS or are there any other differences on the actual circuit board?

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Carsten Kurz
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 - posted 12-21-2014 05:18 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Steve - the current SMPTE DCPs support only a subset of what is planned for the final transition coming in 2015/2016 (e.g. audio channel mapping). At some point, a decision must be made to either outphase older systems without further software support, or to create dual inventory DCPs for them. I guess from some point of view, it would be acceptable to outphase DSS/DSP100, XDC G3, etc., but the owners would probably not be too happy still. Well, moot point since Dolby finished support for these systems anyway well before the current decision.

I would think that Dolby would support this for DSS200/220, though. We will probably see a Dolby version 5.x even after they finished with their own hardware.

Also, I guess with the CAT 862 being discontinued, Dolby will now at least make sure that classic Dolphin boards will still be produced to continue a HD-SDI solution.

- Carsten

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

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 - posted 12-21-2014 08:35 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Since Dolby states that they will continue software updates up and until June 30th 2018, I would think any lacking SMPTE updates would be covered if there is DCI compatibility would be concerned (for the DSS200/220).

As for Dolby versions...I have NO idea how they come up with them or if there will ever be a 5.x

You'd think that the DCI compliant version, being so monumental would have been worth of a change to 5.0 There would have been no confusion there...if you are below 5, nope, not DCI. Then, when the DSS100/DSP100 were no longer part of the software line, again, tick it a full version number. In my way of thinking, we should be at least on version 6 and probably version 7 since there was a look/feel change when 4.5 came out for the CAT745. One shouldn't have to worry about the Dolby minutia as to when their product is supported. Make the system easy to figure out. Is there some award for keeping the version number low? If so Barco is doing well...they are still on version 1!...sure is is 1.12 but it is version 1!

However, regardless of which product you own, there is some point where the hardware is incapable of working with current software and resources for discontinued products will not be spent to keep them up. There is also the reality that server lives will NEVER be as long as projector lives...their turn over rate has always been predicted to be higher.

As for the HDSDI version of the Doremi (e.g. the 2K4)...I wouldn't be too confident in Dolby continuing that. Personally, I would continue it...but then again, I'd have continued the CAT862. I can be confident of that because I am not seeing the sales numbers to know what it would cost to do another production run and how long it would take to get a ROI. But how many people are even considering HDSDI installations now? Barco only includes the input upon request, Christie charges extra for it and NEC includes it on some models and it is an extra charge on the low-end models. With Enigma 1.8.24, it is FINALLY not to be a problem child anymore. I can say also with confidence that if the CAT862 was still current, that would have been the way we would have continued to go Other than for 4K or HFR 3D (whose bubble has burst), what benefits are there to the IMB? It is more work in my opinion for installation and it sets up the situation where one has part of the server is asleep when the projector is off and part of it is awake. Some companies have a very strict power up/down procedure with IMBs (or IMS).

I'm sure the Dolby bean counters will look at the 2K4 versus the Showvault and if the 2K4 doesn't really have the numbers, will can it. The only people that would need the 2K4 are those with series 1 projectors where the server has failed and need a replacement. For most one could move an existing server around to handle the series 1 projector and put the new server on the series 2. But lets look at the series 1 situation. We are 10-years (actually heading up on 11) since the first ones went into the field. I'd suspect that we are within 5-years of seeing those first ones coming out en-masse. As it stands, support for them is fast becoming parts that happen to be in common with later series 1 or series 2. We are already 6 years after the LAST series 1 was made and suspect we are within 4 years of even some of those hitting retirement. My point is, the need of a series 1 compatible server is on the decline and the slope of the decline is going to be ever increasing. Therefore, the need to keep a product around to support such a projector will also be declining. Think of it like making a film projector or parts for them...will there be some about...yes, but the demand is trending towards zero.

Personally, I hope Dolby reconsiders their decision on the DSS line but I'm realistic that ship has sailed.

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Dave Macaulay
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 - posted 12-21-2014 03:04 PM      Profile for Dave Macaulay   Email Dave Macaulay   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Overall future server sales are going to be a fraction of the conversion period. I expected some consolidation, since a server supplier just closing the business would be unfriendly at the least.
I don't know the reasoning behind Dolby's acquisition of Doremi but if they are going to discontinue one line, the Dolby brand is the obvious choice: Dolby's installations are considerably fewer than Doremi's. If they can make the Dolby and Doremi TMS systems work with both brands (I think they have?) then existing sites have an expansion/replacement path.
I would like to have a dual SDI option available. The IMS systems are not perfect by far, and the Doremi SV/IMB has a strict limit on the cable length between server and IMB (7M/21Ft). For installations with remote projectors (like in a box inside the cinema), SDI is a nice option.

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Brad Miller
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 - posted 12-21-2014 03:20 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
The DCP2K4 is an HDSDI server and is still available. I think it's the only one left. I much prefer HDSDI over IMBs of any brand/type.

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Marcel Birgelen
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 - posted 12-22-2014 02:01 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Personally, I also think it's best to put server functionality where it belongs and not into some slot into your projector. Even though it's just serviceability.

The reasoning behind it is that the IMB interconnect uses so much bandwidth, an internal link is the only viable option. Which is, off course, rather nonsense. If 4K worth of 60FPS picture data (sure, with 8 bits/color) can be reliably transported over a single HDMI cable, why can't 24 FPS in 4K (with 12 bits/color) over a similar link?

quote: Mattias Mattsson
One question regarding the motberboard though. The M/B in a recent DSS200 is labeled X8SIE-LN4-DL0006, whereas the standard board sold by SuperMicro lacks the "-DL0006" suffix.

Does anyone know if the only difference between these are the custom Dolby BIOS or are there any other differences on the actual circuit board?

I'm pretty sure the circuit board itself is the same and the difference is just the factory installed BIOS.

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Marco Giustini
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 - posted 12-22-2014 09:58 AM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Because a 4K Flat picture at 24fps would require 7.76Gbit/s and a single HDSDI connection provides 1.485Gbit/s x 2 = 2.97Gbit/s.

You forgot that consumer content is 4:2:0 (if memory serves). Cinema tries to do better than home sometimes!

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Marcel Birgelen
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 - posted 12-22-2014 10:13 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
No, I didn't forget about that.

A single HDMI 1.4 link can do 10.2 GBit/s and a single HDMI 2.0 link can do 18 GBit/s. There's no reason why you couldn't simply bundle a few of them to go even higher.

Or why not just 40 GBit/s Ethernet over copper or fiber? Or External PCIe? There are plenty of affordable industry standard interconnects that can deliver the bandwidth required.

The built-in requirement was just a requirement enforced by the copyright police.

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Marco Giustini
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 - posted 12-22-2014 10:40 AM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
OK, I've misread your post.

Ethernet: the 745 does that. You need a media block to process the video in the projector. Ethernet sends data.
HDMI: are you expecting the industry to trust a format which has been broken years ago? You can buy a splitter and send the HD signal to another TV. Not sure Hollywood would like that.
PCIex: Doremi do that. Then - as for Ethernet - you need something that processes video.

The DCI police may be stupid at times but a little protection makes sense.

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Dave Macaulay
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 - posted 12-22-2014 11:08 AM      Profile for Dave Macaulay   Email Dave Macaulay   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There are rather a lot of high bandwidth copper and optical networking options available, if 10gb/s is insufficient then 40gb/s or 100gb/s is enough.
This should work whether you use a media block in the server plus link encryption to the projector (it may require an upgraded LD to handle data rates for 4:4:4 3D or HFR), or an IMB.

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Marco Giustini
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 - posted 12-22-2014 03:16 PM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
maybe I'm on the wrong end of the stick here but this is what the cat.745 is doing. It receives data from the server via Ethernet and then decodes the data into video. That's what a media block does.
If the video is being decoded into the server, then you need a video feed between the server and the projector. If you want a data link between the server and the projector, then you'll need some sort of media block inside the projector!

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Marcel Birgelen
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 - posted 12-22-2014 03:58 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My argument was: I don't really like the trend of putting the whole server onto the IMB, because that's what currently is happening at an ever increasing rate.

I do like the concept of having a server, which generates both audio and video signals as a separate box. Preferably with storage close to the stuff that's pushing out the actual audio/video bitstreams. So, I was looking at a replacement for HD-SDI, one that could handle the bandwidth required for e.g. 4K 3D at 60FPS. Either in a single or bundled link solution.

The argument of the "copyright police" that the only way to do this, is by bringing the content closer to the projector, because there are no interconnects sufficiently fast to bridge the gap, is essentially moot. There are sufficient technologies readily available that can cope with the bandwidth.

There is also no reason why encryption cannot be used across those links, no matter what the underlying transmission technology is.

quote: Marco Giustini
Ethernet: the 745 does that. You need a media block to process the video in the projector. Ethernet sends data.
It doesn't send the complete, uncompressed video bitstream. The IMB is still a "smart" device, not just a data interface with a "link decryptor".

Ethernet contains some overhead that wouldn't really be necessary in a simple point to point link, but it comes with the added advantage that it can easily be extended using industry standard tools.

The biggest drawback of stuff like 40 GB Ethernet is that it's still rather expensive.

quote: Marco Giustini
HDMI: are you expecting the industry to trust a format which has been broken years ago? You can buy a splitter and send the HD signal to another TV. Not sure Hollywood would like that.
HDMI provides at its most basic level just a TDM transmission layer. It's, within the specs allowed, rather up to you how you use it. HDMI is not HDCP per definition, you can transmit almost any bitstream over HDMI. You can use the same TLS encryption you would be using over HD-SDI for example.

The biggest advantage of HDMI is that chipsets supporting the standard are plenty and therefore cheap and readily available. Connectors and cables are also cheap.

quote: Marco Giustini
PCIex: Doremi do that. Then - as for Ethernet - you need something that processes video.
PCIe is a very low level, high bandwidth transmission interface and might be one of the most likely choices for high bitrate interconnects. Just like HDMI, chipsets are commonly available.

Connectors and cables are a bit more expensive than HDMI, but still cheaper than 40 GB Ethernet.

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