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  • GDC Server Certificate

    I have recently been notified, that the GDC SX-2001 servers that we had installed in 2011 have 10 year certificates that would expire shortly. I've been told that I would have to purchase a software warranty from GDC for all my servers and upgrade them to the latest version of the software, before they will issue another 10 year certificate. If I don't, the KDMs would stop working after the certificates expire.

    Has anyone run across this? We also have several Doremi/Dolby DCP-2000 servers and Dolby DSP-100 and DSP-200 servers that are all older than the GDC servers, some even 12 years old, and have not had to get a new certificate.

    I do have a few concerns about this. I've heard that sometimes the Media Blocks crash during or after the upgrade. Is this true? Also, if I only had a couple of serves, the cost may not be big, but with several servers, the cost adds up, especially now, since we've been closed for a couple of months. It almost feels like extortion.

  • #2
    I have had one or maybe two GDC servers brick their mediablock after a software warranty upgrade (I think it was just one). So yes, it is possible. I would agree that forcing one to purchase a software warranty for the purpose of updating a certificate like that is pretty petty. It is the literal definition of design obsolescence. It is quite evident that GDC has latched onto this perpetual "software warranty" as a means of revenue enhancement. Mind you, it does cost them to support products (they don't just pay their excellent tech support just on when you call them). But the notion of having to perpetually pay for software updates on purpose built products rubs me very much the wrong way.

    The software is what sells the product (the server).


    • #3
      Those software warranties pay for their tech support. So if you don't want or use their tech support then don't buy their stuff or their extended warranties. It's pretty plain and simple. Other server companies have had spotty tech support that one can not reach 24/7/365. When ever I called them for warranty support the longest I ever waited if they had to call back was about an hour.


      • #4
        I'm still wondering how legal this design obsolescence is... may vary a bit between jurisdictions. I mean, besides obvious wear and tear, stuff with an built-in self-destruct timer is either a design defect or an extortion scheme.


        • #5
          Wait till ICP's start going ding!! You guys will be hustling....


          • #6
            To me it looks like ICPs are already "going ding", but mostly due to battery failures. Although comparable, a battery failure is not something as an expiring certificate, which is quite literally an expiration date.


            • #7
              Yea, I had one fail, but the snack stand was hit by lightening and that's the most likely cause. Neither battery was bad on that one. I am referring to the solder in battery on the ICP that has a 10 to 12 year life. We don't not install digital projectors just because TI does not offer support for that battery, If anything the 10 year certificate life is in the DCI spec for some reason.


              • #8
                I agree with Mark that the software warranty pays for tech support and I have no problems with GDC asking money for support - whether then someone wants to buy their products because of that is another matter.

                But a certificate that intentionally expires after 10 years is something intentional. It's a software feature, it's 100% planned obsolescence.


                • #9
                  It's not any different than Apple phones and computers no longer accepting OS updates and then not even loading new apps. In fact it's about the same time period that it happens in...


                  • #10
                    Which doesn't make it right.

                    I have a few computers that I've been using for well over ten years, and they still work just fine.


                    • #11

                      While I am not condoning Apple's behaviour, their mobiles won't stop making phone calls when that happens, will they? If GDC stops supporting the server - or asks money for new software or for troubleshooting, I feel that that's a different story. But here we're basically talking about a server that suddenly becomes a brick.


                      • #12
                        I still use my iPhone 3GS which is approaching 10 years now. I can still use apps, and load SOME new if an older compatible version was ever published. Not the latest stuff, of course. I can still use it as a phone with all special functions like visual voice mail, conference calls, facetime video calls, use iMessage messaging, etc. I admit, though, it's about time to switch, as it lost it's GPS functionality during the last GPS week rollover.

                        Such an early GDC cert expiration is inexcusable. Personally, I would go to court over it.

                        - Carsten
                        Last edited by Carsten Kurz; 05-30-2020, 05:59 AM.


                        • #13
                          Personally, I would go to court over it.
                          Carsten, Are you also going to go to court when the solder in batteries die in all your ICP's? Or are you going to tell your customers to buy a new ^)K dollar projector instead. Its cheaper to pay the roughly $400 USD warranty fee and get a new certificate. And it's cheaper to pay the #k USD to get a new ICP and have it installed.

                          I recently took an iMac to the resale because it had become so unusable. Photography apps.. Lightroom, Photoshop and Capture One would not update. And those apps have lots of new usable features that are very useful. But of course they would load and update just fine on to my Windows 7 Pro OS.which is even older than the iMac was. Apple has now gotten even worse about failing products to the point that only an Apple repair center can even do the repairs.


                          • #14
                            In fact apple authorized repair shops are forbidden to do board level repairs, only offering board replacement ... which loses all user data as the storage is integral. They are forbidden from recommending 3rd party repair shops that will do board level repair and save the data. Admitting such shops exist or naming them on apple forums results in post deletion and ban.
                            F apple.


                            • #15
                              For what it's worth... about 20 years ago I actually was an "Apple Authorized Service Professional", even back then, the only stuff we were authorized to repair were big boxed Macs and iMacs. I didn't really do any repairs, I needed to have the certificate, because the shop I worked part-time for, needed a certain number of people with the certificate in order to be an official Apple service shop. If that did the shop any good, I don't know. We got a lot of stuff in that was sold elsewhere and repairs wasn't even the core-business. Notebooks we weren't officially even allowed to touch. In any case, board repairs were out of the question, even back then. Even if it was a simple failed component that could be easily soldered out and replaced.

                              Then again, it's not just Mac that has this policy, it's a general policy among most tech firms, because boards are, in almost all cases, cheaper than the labor required to repair them. A few exceptions may be highly customized boards of which just a handful do exist. I guess the reason why we weren't allowed to touch the MacBooks back then is because many of them really were a mess inside, especially the "pre-Jobs" designs. I remember brain-dead stuff like the main power regulator being located on the modem expansion card...

                              But getting back to the issue at hand. It's not the ifrst time we've had this discussion.

                              Originally posted by Mark Gulbrandsen
                              Carsten, Are you also going to go to court when the solder in batteries die in all your ICP's? Or are you going to tell your customers to buy a new ^)K dollar projector instead. Its cheaper to pay the roughly $400 USD warranty fee and get a new certificate. And it's cheaper to pay the #k USD to get a new ICP and have it installed.
                              This is a more difficult topic, but in the EU, for consumers at the very least, the law is actually pretty clear. If batteries aren't user-replaceable, the manufacturer is obliged to offer a replacement service at reasonable costs. What's reasonable is obviously open for discussion, but batteries are clearly seen as consumables, which need to be replaceable. You could say that those batteries inside those ICPs are consumables too. The problem is though, those machines aren't usually sold to consumers but to businesses and for businesses, while the manufacturer still has to abide to the law, those kind of liabilities can be contractually overridden, at least many of them can.

                              A certificate with an expiration date is a far more specific thing. While it's still hard to say when exactly a battery is going to fail, the failure of said certificate and the stuff that depends on its validity is set in stone. The date is fixed. I think that most judges would agree with such a thing being 100% planned obsolescence. Forcing me to buy an additional contract in order to avoid this date, can actually be considered an extortion scheme.
                              Last edited by Marcel Birgelen; 05-30-2020, 09:22 AM.