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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Datasat and Qube abandon their customers. (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Datasat and Qube abandon their customers.
Juan Jose Garcia Calvo
Film Handler

Posts: 48
From: Pedrajas de San Esteban, Spain
Registered: May 2003


 - posted 03-12-2017 06:25 AM      Profile for Juan Jose Garcia Calvo   Email Juan Jose Garcia Calvo   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As I have written before in the technical forum, problems with our datasat dc20 continues, and finally Datasat and Qube don't care and don't offer a solution to their customers.
Around the year 2009-2010, datasat was selling their DC20 server, actually made by QUBE as a variant of its QXPD model. We paid 13.000€ for our DC20 server here in Spain in 2010.

Now it seems that these models did not really comply with the DCI regulations and now distributors, aware of this, are beginning to refuse to send films to these servers.
As our server is a Datasat DC20, we have asked Datasat for a solution and they only tell us that we must replace this equipment with another one, since they considered something "normal" that in the future these equipments would need some updating.
We consider that throwing away the current server and buying another new one is NOT an update: it is a complete replacement.
We feel we've been cheated by Datasat: the specs of the DC20 said that it was DCI compliant and now we discover that this is not true, and the big problem is that now, nor Datasat and nor Qube want to take their responsability.

But there is an added problem: these servers had in their DNA a death date engraved, due to a certificates problem. Qube used a windows xp embeeded plattform for these servers that don't let accepts more certificates renewal beyond JUNE 2017 because their certificates trees don't accepts more renewals.

I think everybody need to know how these two brands take care of their clients whe we discover such wrong designs.

I want to contact other users/owners of the Datasat DC20 servers (and Qube XPD) to know how Datasat and Qube are dealing this problem in other areas, and in case, coordinate actions to claim solutions to this problem, and I invite to any Datasat or Qube people to give here their explanations.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10540
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 03-12-2017 04:27 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If there is one thing about digital technology and the hardware made for it: it is disposable. None of this stuff is made to last any more than about 7-10 years. If the device is working after that, be it a personal computer or some expensive piece of industry specific hardware, it is living on borrowed time.

Some of the problem is the build quality of the products. Various things will break in them with use over time. Another problem is the companies who make those products quickly move from one product generation to the next. Their support can extend backward in time for only so long. They stop making the chips, boards and other components that go into a certain product rather quickly.

Then you have the firmware and software that runs on these products. That stuff is only geared for new products, not devices several years old. I have a notebook I bought in 2011 that has no hardware problems. I've held onto it because so many current notebooks are just shitty, bare bones, over-priced garbage. But I'm going to have to start shopping for a replacement. This nearly 6-year old notebook was pretty high end for the time when it was made. Now it's starting to struggle with the latest software.

Movie theaters are going to be dealing with painful hardware replacement cost issues, if many are not already doing so. We're a solid decade into post d-cinema conversion. Now it's time for a lot of existing 2K projectors and other components to start dying.

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Dennis Benjamin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1393
From: Denton, MD
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 03-12-2017 04:34 PM      Profile for Dennis Benjamin   Author's Homepage   Email Dennis Benjamin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Juan Jose Garcia Calvo
Qube used a windows xp embeeded plattform for these servers that don't let accepts more certificates renewal beyond JUNE 2017 because their certificates trees don't accepts more renewals.
Just wait until 2019 when the Windows XP Embedded POSReady expires in the millions of Point of sale systems across the world. Companies like Partnertech made a deal with Microsoft to postpone the inevitable.

The amount of money that will be spent on new hardware in our industry both in the booth and on the floor will be astronomical.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10540
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 03-12-2017 04:39 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Maybe the studios will time their day and date release plans to coincide with that 2019 date, all to really put the screws to movie theaters.

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Juan Jose Garcia Calvo
Film Handler

Posts: 48
From: Pedrajas de San Esteban, Spain
Registered: May 2003


 - posted 03-12-2017 04:54 PM      Profile for Juan Jose Garcia Calvo   Email Juan Jose Garcia Calvo   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree with some of your opinions, but this time is diferent:
- Datasat cheated us when they sold this server as DCI compliant.
- The DC20 is not obsolete. Actual firmware works OK with no issues, but due a bad design, it can't accept new certificates renewals. This will make die thi server on next June 2017. Datasat (and Qube) have to know this issue from the day they start selling and inform their customers in the specs: "this server will last only until June 2017".

Remember that this is not due any industry changes or advances, new features or new formats...simply these servers was bad designed...

And remember that they sold these servers as DCI, and it wasn't.

I don't know any other server of any brand that must to be throw away. Dolby servers with similar age are working with no problem. Same thing for Doremi, GDC...

In my opinion, DATASAT and QUBE must be responsible with their clients.

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Frank Cox
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1750
From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
Registered: Apr 2011


 - posted 03-12-2017 07:10 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Not to sound unsympathetic, but if it actually says that the gadget will last only until June in the official specs, and you bought it under those conditions knowing that was the situation, then where is the problem?

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Steve Kraus
Film God

Posts: 3987
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: May 2000


 - posted 03-12-2017 10:17 PM      Profile for Steve Kraus     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I believe he is saying they should have been told this; not that they were. Also, it's not unreasonable to think that updates would be issued to keep things running.

Micro$oft is maintaining XP for various government agencies for big money. It would be nice if they offered updates to everyone else, even if they charged for it.

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Juan Jose Garcia Calvo
Film Handler

Posts: 48
From: Pedrajas de San Esteban, Spain
Registered: May 2003


 - posted 03-13-2017 01:55 AM      Profile for Juan Jose Garcia Calvo   Email Juan Jose Garcia Calvo   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Frank: I mean "they should". Obviously they didn't.
(My english maybe is not good enought).
Do you ever buy a car that in his specs are wrote: "this car will last until June 2017 because it accepts fuel until this date. Beyond this date, you can't refill the tank"?
And 7 years later you receive a government letter that, they are sorry but, your model can't be used in your country because it don't meet the security laws?

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7867
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 03-13-2017 11:55 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't know how things work in Spain.

In the US, if they sold you a product as "DCI-compliant" and it wasn't, then they need to either make it DCI compliant, replace it with something that is, or refund your money. Where this could get sticky is if it met DCI specifications at the time of manufacture and then those specifications changed. Is this the case?

The time-bomb issue certainly seems to be customer-hostile, but one could probably make the argument that these things have an expected lifespan of five years, so a seven-year certificate expiration date is not unreasonable. This is a pretty lousy way to treat one's customers, but, unfortunately, the 2009-2010 era was a bit early in the development of D-cinema equipment and standards, and some equipment from that era may not be up to 2017 standards.

quote: Steve Kraus
Micro$oft is maintaining XP for various government agencies for big money. It would be nice if they offered updates to everyone else, even if they charged for it.


I believe that they do, if you pay them enough.

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Juan Jose Garcia Calvo
Film Handler

Posts: 48
From: Pedrajas de San Esteban, Spain
Registered: May 2003


 - posted 03-13-2017 12:13 PM      Profile for Juan Jose Garcia Calvo   Email Juan Jose Garcia Calvo   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Scott Norwood
Where this could get sticky is if it met DCI specifications at the time of manufacture and then those specifications changed. Is this the case?


I think there has not been changes in the DCI specs... but maybe there are here in the forum people that could know these DCI specs and maybe can give us their opinions.

Here in Spain is similar, but the problem is that the Spanish dealer that sold us this datasat server now is closed and is missing, but I think that Datasat (as an international brand) must take his responsability even if they are in the US or UK and we are in Spain.

quote: Scott Norwood
The time-bomb issue certainly seems to be customer-hostile, but one could probably make the argument that these things have an expected lifespan of five years, so a seven-year certificate expiration date is not unreasonable. This is a pretty lousy way to treat one's customers, but, unfortunately, the 2009-2010 era was a bit early in the development of D-cinema equipment and standards, and some equipment from that era may not be up to 2017 standards.
Do you really think that is reasonable only 5 or 7 years for a 13.000€ server?
As I said, our server is not obsolote: It plays with no problems Interop and SMPTE DCPs, plays all subtitles, recognize all tipe of DCPs, ingest films in the half time of an Doremi IMS1000, is stable... but... next June it will die.
That proof that the industry didn't change, the specs didn't changed, this is only a bad design and two companies that don't want get their responsability.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 15887
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 03-13-2017 01:28 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't think there are any specs in DCI relating to a minimum longevity of any piece of equipment. It's only specifying how that piece of equipment needs to function.

It is not the only piece of gear that you an not re-load a certificate into. The T.I. ICP is another and there is one of those in every single series 2 projector made. I had one toast out just from changing the clock battery. If the certs could be reloaded the board could be brought back to life. I have not had any issues changing anyone elses batteries or losing certs, but I also do not service any series 1 junk.

Mark

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Scott Norwood
Film God

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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 03-13-2017 02:29 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Juan Jose Garcia Calvo
Do you really think that is reasonable only 5 or 7 years for a 13.000€ server?
Personally, no. I would argue that an embedded system like this should be supported for at least a decade, and that this support is part of what justifies the high price for what is, effectively, a $1500 computer plus some additional special hardware and purpose-built software. But the manufacturer may not see it that way, especially since DCI was not exactly mature technology at the time of its manufacture.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

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From: Bountiful, Utah
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 - posted 03-13-2017 03:39 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you stop to think about this, the embedded OS should not need any updates, ever. Its a very job specific OS and the only part that might need updates is the actual media block itself and possibly the raid section of the server. Although many other pieces of electronic gear run on embedded XP it does not mean that once MS pulls the plug on it they they are all going to stop working. Just the opposite, they will continue on until the piece of equipment it's running in flat out dies or is simply switched out for new gear.

Mark

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 11749
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 03-14-2017 07:17 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't believe that the DCI spec requires any degree of longevity beyond its specs on an IMB. There the battery has to last, at least 5-years and be able to be changed without losing its time. It must also be able to support up to 20years (date/time range).

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6632
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 03-15-2017 01:59 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have to say that I have had a far better experience with Datasat when it comes to legacy products and formats: they were always really helpful in providing backup for our XD-10s and XD-20s, and providing audio content on one or two occasions for prints that came without it. Now that they've sold off the DTS film audio operation to another company (can't remember the name), it's up to them now, but while Datasat were the custodians of it, they did a good job, IMHO.

As for this server, it raises the broader point of people's expectations for the longevity of digital cinema equipment. 35mm projection systems were expected to last half a century with appropriate maintenance and minor upgrades (e.g. sticking a penthouse reader on top of a projector), and theaters budgeted accordingly. Now, even a series 1 projector made in 2007 is no longer officially supported by the manufacturer: I had to put a want post in this forum for a couple of parts I'm looking for to keep ours alive. And I gather that support for the Dolby DSS200, of which we have two in revenue-earning use and one backup unit, is due to end next year.

The impression I get is that theaters simply aren't planning and budgeting for the replacement of projectors and servers on a one decade cycle: many series 1 projectors and earlier generation servers and media blocks won't be replaced until they die and cannot be fixed economically, and/or with the parts and expertise available to their owners when that happens. I'd further speculate that we're on the verge of getting to the point at which this hardware is going to die in significant quantities, and we're going to see some venues have serious problems dealing with that when it happens.

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