Wednesday, January 14, 2009

To all who have concerns about Digitech / HDX

In order to find out whether Digitech / HDX is still alive or not, yesterday afternoon, we sent our top secret agent, Kevin, to their headquarters in ShenZhen, China, to perform an inspection. This is actually the first time we paid them a visit after they moved to the new office. Kevin told me that he was very nervous while driving because of the current fiasco going on over the Internet. He just doesn’t want to see Digitech moving from a penthouse executive suite, to a dark basement room (which also happens to be the boss’ kitchen and bedroom). This will prove that everybody’s guess is right!

The following is a picture taken when Kevin was stopped in traffic. This position is very close to Digitech’s new office. If you have not visited ShenZhen for a long time, you would be totally amazed by the modernization of the city.

The “Cyber Square” building is the building where the new Digitech / HDX office is located. On the lower floors of this building, there is a huge computer and consumer electronics shopping mall. If you live in ShenZhen and are a computer geek like me, this is the place which is the closest mimic to heaven.

Digitech’s office is located on the upper floor. Right before entering their office, you can see the HDX logo we all familiar with.

Besides, just to prove that the office is not in the basement, Kevin took a picture to show us the view of looking outside through their office window.

OK, let’s start by introducing the important people. The first one is their sales VP, Wood Liu. He travels a lot to develop China’s domestic market. We were so lucky to catch him during this visit. In the picture you can see his signature “buddhistic” smile and his precious baby: Mac book. He is also the first batch of people in China adapting to the iPhone.

The person in the next picture is their engineering VP, Sam Cui. He was trying to answer the interview questions while Kevin was taking the picture. You can also see that he still keeps a HDX 900 on his desktop.

There are also others. Just to show you how crowded a typical Chinese office setting can be, Kevin randomly picked a cubical to take this picture.

Here are the questions we asked them:

Q1. What is the initial design idea and expectation behind the HDX series?

Wood: We want to have a dedicated, cost effective and user friendly unit to playback high definition media content.

Q2: Reliability and sustainability always come into play while people are looking into all kinds of different NMT. Could you give us more details about how the HDX is manufactured and how the quality control (QC) is handled at your manufacturing site?

Wood: We can provide you some pictures of our production line (in the following). Increasing reliability and sustainability is the most important concept in our design. That is why we chose the thickest (compared to the NMT competitors) sheet metal as the HDX 1000 case material. Our factory uses the industry standard quality control procedures to make sure we can ship out good quality products. We also save the QC data for any future improvement purposes. We have high confidence in the HDX 1000. That’s why we are willing to set you (AmperorDirect) up and support you as our North American repair center. We don’t think the chance to perform repairs is high.

The serial number label attaching and final packaging station

Testing Stations

WIP (half assembly) units in transit

Boxes and boxes of HDX 1000 waiting to go out

Q3: What is the HDX capable of? Could you provide a detailed list of what can be played directly or indirectly through the HDX (e.g. H.264, M-Jpeg…etc.)

Sam: Mzts, ts, mpg, trp, tp, vob, wmv, mkv, avi, mp3, flac, wma, ogg, mp4, wav, mov... The detailed list can be found at NMTWiki.

Q4: Some people are still having issues updating their HDX firmware through the Internet. What’s your recommendation on how to perform the update?

Sam: The online update method should be available now as we are talking. If people have trouble connecting to the server, they can download the firmware and the NMT application, put them in a USB drive and update the system from there.

Q5: People are having HDD compatibility issues. Can you recommend certain brands/criteria when selecting an HDD to work with the HDX?

Sam: I personally like the Western Digital Caviar Green series. They are the most efficient models I know on the market and can dissipate less heat while it is installed inside the HDX 1000. A detailed compatibility list can be found at NMTWiki.

Q6: Could you provide detailed, step by step instructions on how to perform the recovery when the system is Frozen? Is there a way to reset the HDX-1000 back to factory settings by just using the remote?

Sam: On the remote control, you can hit “TV” and then hit “0”. It should reset your machine.

(Howard: I’m not very sure about this sequence. If anybody can try it, please let me know about the result. )

Q7: What is the schedule to get the DTS license to enable the dts down-mixing capability on the HDX?

Wood: At this point, I am sorry I cannot give you an accurate schedule. However, please believe me that Sam and Wood are the two people on earth who want to see the DTS license for HDX 1000 most. Getting the license is our highest work priority. We will again have another meeting with DTS tomorrow. We hope we can give you a more confirmed schedule by then.

Q8: Do you know about the current rumor floating around the Internet about Digitech going out of business? Do you wish to address this rumor?

Wood: First of all, the rumor is wrong. Digitech is still alive. The disaster is triggered after Alex booked a trip to China. He has experienced an under-staffing issue and two rounds of hacker attack. The delay in getting DTS license also disappoints people. We apologize for the inconvenience and we have surely learned a lesson. I know you (AmperorDirect) have people browsing through different discussion forums periodically. Next time, please inform us as soon as you hear something wrong on the Internet. We’ll surely take the appropriate action early.

(Howard: I don’t know when Wood and Sam started to realize about the communication issue.)

Q9: What does the future hold as far as the HDX series or other NMT development?

Sam: We expect to see the next generation NMT player has the ability to playback Bluray discs. For the Chinese domestic market, we want to have a unit which can decode the DMB-TH TV signal.

Before leaving, Kevin took another picture with Wood and Sam. In this picture, you can see the typical figure of salesman, procurement and engineer. Sales person is always trying to be friendly. Hence, he will have the arm around the other people. Procurement is always the king. They will stand in the middle of the photo. And, the engineer is always the shy guy standing at the side. But, don’t be fooled by Sam’s appearance. After he opens ups, it is not easy to stop him… :)

Check out HDX 1000 on AmperorDirect website

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The HDX 1000 Free Drawing Winner and a Picture of his Setup

The winner of our HDX 1000 free drawing is Glenn. He has already received the unit and has started enjoying viewing Bluray backup by using the HDX 1000. Here is a picture of his setup:

The black box underneath his hand is HDX 1000.

On right - from bottom a Laser Disc Player (out of view), Panasonic Blu-Ray, Toshiba XA2 HD Player, Onkyo 875, Sci Atlanta HD Cable Box, Viewsonic Satellite receiver.

On left - Direct drive Pioneer turntable at bottom, TEAC reel to reel, HDX1000 & Marantz mono block amp for subs.

Thanks for his picture with detailed explanation on the setup!