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  #41  
Old 03-11-2009, 06:44 PM
flavius flavius is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Narflex View Post
After some internal discussion we've decided to change our policy regarding this (the discussion was mostly about how, not if; clearly it needed to be changed).

For HD100's that are out of warranty; they can be sent in and we will attempt to repair them. The repair cost will be $60 which includes US return shipping in that price (international will be higher depending upon the shipping costs). If the unit cannot be repaired; then we'll offer a discount on purchase of similar hardware.

Sorry for the initial impression that we wouldn't be properly taking care of customers who are beyond the warranty period. But of course as you all know; we DO listen to our customers and will correct this situation.

For those who had contacted support and were told they are out of warranty w/ no repair service; please contact us again and we'll help you out.
That is quite generous.
  #42  
Old 03-11-2009, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by flavius View Post
That is quite generous.
Quite generous yes. Ingenious, absolutely. I was questioning if I wanted to continue down the Sage path after some of the earlier posts in this thread. Now I know that I absolutely want to continue. The extenders are absolutely the way to go, and having support behind them is all that most of us want. Thanks Sage!

Wayne
  #43  
Old 03-11-2009, 10:15 PM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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First of all, I want to thank Narflex and Sage for creating a repair program. I think they've found a good balance that's fiscally responsible for their company and takes into account what's best for customers.

At the same time, I'm really concerned about this issue. There are five reports of hardware problems over a short period of time in this forum for a product with a pretty limited production run. Obviously there's no way to be sure, but I think that this, combined with Narflex's comment that their policy "needed to be changed", suggests some sort of general defect, probably in manufacturing. If that's the case, I would never find it acceptable for a company to merely stick to their original warranty. I do think what Sage is doing is fair, but assuming there is some sort of manufacturing defect at play, I wouldn't call their plan overly generous. They do, of course, get some extra credit given that they're a small company during hard economic times that is still choosing to do the right thing.

I do want to remind everyone in this forum that is having problems, and anyone that is unfortunate enough to run into problems later, to check out the services provided by their credit card companies. In some cases, your credit card company will double the length of the manufacturer's warranty (up to an additional 1 year) of anything purchased using their credit card. I believe this is standard on all American Express cards, and relatively common on Discover cards as well. Some Mastercards and Visa cards have it as well.
  #44  
Old 03-11-2009, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by thomaszoo View Post
Quite generous yes. Ingenious, absolutely. I was questioning if I wanted to continue down the Sage path after some of the earlier posts in this thread. Now I know that I absolutely want to continue. The extenders are absolutely the way to go, and having support behind them is all that most of us want. Thanks Sage!

Wayne
Hey, what do you mean ingenious? That was my idea! Note that their post about reversing their policy was posted after my critical post about their handling of this situation, wherein I suggested just such a credit.

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  #45  
Old 03-12-2009, 08:53 AM
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And this is the exact reason I am a SageTV customer.
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  #46  
Old 03-12-2009, 11:42 AM
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mayamaniac mayamaniac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reggie14 View Post
At the same time, I'm really concerned about this issue. There are five reports of hardware problems over a short period of time in this forum for a product with a pretty limited production run. Obviously there's no way to be sure, but I think that this, combined with Narflex's comment that their policy "needed to be changed", suggests some sort of general defect, probably in manufacturing. If that's the case, I would never find it acceptable for a company to merely stick to their original warranty. I do think what Sage is doing is fair, but assuming there is some sort of manufacturing defect at play, I wouldn't call their plan overly generous. They do, of course, get some extra credit given that they're a small company during hard economic times that is still choosing to do the right thing.
That's just your speculation. My guess is it is a simple power failure like what happened to the HDHR, only the HDHR used an externel power adapter so it was easy to replace. But we don't know for sure what happened to the HD100. And we don't know for sure what percentage of defects between reported versus units sold. For every electronic device, there's an acceptable percentage of defects.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TorontoSage View Post
Hey, what do you mean ingenious? That was my idea! Note that their post about reversing their policy was posted after my critical post about their handling of this situation, wherein I suggested just such a credit.

I thought it was due to my bashing of their customer service for not giving a sh*t that got the ball rolling.

But good call TS, they did exactly what you said they should've done.
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  #47  
Old 03-12-2009, 02:16 PM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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Originally Posted by mayamaniac View Post
That's just your speculation. My guess is it is a simple power failure like what happened to the HDHR, only the HDHR used an externel power adapter so it was easy to replace. But we don't know for sure what happened to the HD100.
Absolutely. I'm speculating with an extremely limited amount of information. I think we're roughly on the same page- we're both guessing there was some sort of defect. We don't really know the exact defect, nor do we know how prevalent it is. Hopefully we get an update from Sage once they get a better handle on what's causing these problems and give us some idea of what HD100 owners should expect, and if there's anything we can do to limit damage.

Quote:
And we don't know for sure what percentage of defects between reported versus units sold. For every electronic device, there's an acceptable percentage of defects.
Right, I wholeheartedly agree. In fact, if Narflex hadn't responded and we didn't hear of very many more similar problems, I probably would have completely forgotten about this and attributed it to expected hardware failures. But, now that Sage commented that their return policy "needed to be changed" there's essentially two different possibilities:
  1. There were more sales of the HD100 than I thought, and a series of coincidences brought together multiple people complaining about the same problem on these forums in a short period of time. In spite of the failure rate being within the normal and expected range, SageTV, being hypersensitive to customer needs and extraordinarily kind, decides to make a change to their return policy. Or,
  2. There was a manufacturing defect in the HD100, similar to defects that have crept into so many other electronics in recent history. Failure rates on HD100s are therefore well above what would be expected from items properly constructed, requiring some sort of change to the return policies (at least, to keep their excellent reputation).

I really do think very highly of SageTV and its staff (including George, who basically single-handedly does customer and technical support for the company), but I'm a pessimist at heart. So, if I had to guess which one of the two possibilities was more likely, you know which one I'm going to say.
  #48  
Old 03-12-2009, 02:31 PM
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Does anyone know why they didn't use an external power supply (a wall wart, in other words)? Apparently it's way easier to get foreign approval of electronic products when you have an external power supply as the power supply itself is already approved, so that only leaves the device to be approved. Also, in cases such as this, if the power supply was external then the user could isolate whether or not the power supply was the problem and perhaps avoid sending it back to the supplier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reggie14 View Post
SageTV, being hypersensitive to customer needs and extraordinarily kind.
Although I appreciate SageTV's attention to this matter even though I don't have this problem, I would hardly describe their new policy in this matter to be 'extraordinarily kind'. It was simply the right thing to do and will benefit SageTV. Many companies have out-of-warranty repair policies and some even give credits towards the purchase of replacement units. Also, this kind of attention to customer service and repair provides orders of magnitude better marketing and advertising than ads could ever create, not to mention the actual $ cost of the credit for SageTV, if they even have to provide them, is far less than that of the cost of marketing to provide a similar amount of goodwill. Furthermore, I don't think SageTV would have felt as compelled to provide this credit had they had an out-of-warranty repair program in place in the first place or had not reacted the way they initially did to this matter.
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Last edited by TorontoSage; 03-12-2009 at 02:34 PM.
  #49  
Old 03-12-2009, 03:27 PM
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Narflex Narflex is offline
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Geez....you guys read into stuff too much sometimes. When I said 'needed to be changed' it was because customer's were obviously unhappy about the policy. I wasn't implying anything else by it.
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  #50  
Old 03-12-2009, 05:56 PM
Kronos Kronos is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Narflex View Post
When I said 'needed to be changed' it was because customer's were obviously unhappy about the policy.
And as a result of the change many customers will think even more highly of SageTV than if there had not been a problem in the first place. I know it is not logical to do so but more often than not that is what happens.

Personally I have been doing the same thing as many others and thinking pretty hard on continuing with SageTV or not the past week since one of my HD100s came up dead. The prospect of being required to repurchase an extender for each TV every year or two was not real attractive so several other devices and overall layouts were being considered...

Exactly 8 minutes after the posting here of the change in policy I ordered 2 new HD200s, 1 to replace the dead HD100 and a second to replace another HD100 that will be moved to a less used TV.

As was mentioned in an earlier post there is always an acceptable failure rate for any electronic device, that is what the warranty is for. Once the warranty runs out most devices keep running just fine but the failure rate will increase with time, plain and simple. So the handful of failures reported so far could very well be the normal failure rate, especially when you consider that every single extender customer has been to the SageTV site, and a HUGE portion of them have at least viewed the forums here. Compare that to most consumer electronics that individuals buy off the shelf at a local electronics store, or even from a major online retailer. How many of those people have been to the site for the company that makes the product they bought, and how many of those have ever looked at a forum? The point is that a much much higher percentage of out of warranty failed units will be reported here than with most electronics. The other option is a serious flaw in the design or manufacturing process of the HD100. Such a flaw would be considered different than a "manufacturing defect" where 0.2% of devices had a normal failure of one kind or another. The XBox360 is a perfect example of that type of flaw.

If such a flaw exists then I expect and trust that SageTV will take appropriate action to correct the situation. Why do I think that? Because they have already acknowledged a situation exists and taken steps to improve it. That situation the way I see it was that no options were available for out of warranty service, that is all. SageTV acknowledged that and made a repair service available even though they had no obligation to do so.

For anyone that thinks the failure rate is much higher than it should be and believes that SageTV will not correct the problem I would suggest starting a collection of serial numbers from dead HD100s, just like I expect SageTV is already doing.

The final point I would bring up is that the HD100 was the first device made specifically for SageTV. Everything before it was an already available device re branded as a SageTV product AFAIK. For a small company to produce something like the HD100 on its first attempt is an accomplishment all on its own. I have no doubt SageTV will adapt their hardware support system and policies as needed to maintain their reputation and customer loyalty.
  #51  
Old 03-12-2009, 06:33 PM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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Originally Posted by Narflex View Post
Geez....you guys read into stuff too much sometimes. When I said 'needed to be changed' it was because customer's were obviously unhappy about the policy. I wasn't implying anything else by it.
Is there going to be an update from Sage on reliability issues with the HD100? Or is that post your way of saying that there are no reoccurring issues with the HD100 beyond expected hardware failures over time? Or, perhaps to be more specific, do the returned HD100s share a specific problem?

We're sort of at the mercy of Sage to get any good information on this. There's always been some mystery surrounding Sage, because of it's small size. Often we don't really know what's around the corner for Sage because things are kept pretty secret until they're almost ready. It's not like Microsoft, who is constantly talking about the new things they're doing to attract new shareholders and users. And, since it's a small company, you don't have employees or contractors leaking information. When something goes wrong it's hard to tell what the scale of the problem is. It's not like we're going to hear something from the press when there's a problem, like we did when the Zunes had the problem a couple months ago. Instead, we'll just hear some complaints on the forums. But we don't know how many complaints we need to hear before we start getting concerned because we don't know how many users are out there. In some ways it's nice doing business with a small company because you actually have some contact with the real people doing the work. But at the same time I sometimes find it disconcerting, because some of the checks and balances aren't there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kronos
The final point I would bring up is that the HD100 was the first device made specifically for SageTV. Everything before it was an already available device re branded as a SageTV product AFAIK. For a small company to produce something like the HD100 on its first attempt is an accomplishment all on its own. I have no doubt SageTV will adapt their hardware support system and policies as needed to maintain their reputation and customer loyalty.
I agree, but I'm not convinced creating a device specifically for SageTV was a good idea. I'm not a fan of vendor lock-in, even when I am a fan of the vendor. Now I'm not saying they're better or worse devices, but the PCH A-100 came out at about the same time as the HD100. And now both product lines have moved on. I would have rather seen Sage partner with somebody, like the Popcorn Hour people, that was developing an extender with a more open architecture. We don't know much about the economic health of SageTV, but we do know it's a niche product in a niche market. I'm not real thrilled that my extenders have the risk of becoming far less useful should Sage go out of business.
  #52  
Old 03-12-2009, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reggie14 View Post
There's always been some mystery surrounding Sage, because of it's small size.
That's pretty true. I did a number of google searches about a month ago to see what I could find out about Sage. There's virtually nothing out there except a few short interviews from way back. All I know is that the CEO of Sage used to work for the CEO of Sonos (which I love) at a company called Software.com, which the latter founded and sold. For Sonos there's tons of company information, units sold, interviews, etc out there, but almost nothing about Sage. It's almost like Sage is some black box company, especially since the company doesn't even sell retail and you can only buy direct. Even on eBay there is a lot of Sonos product always listed, but nothing from Sage.

Odd. It kind of makes me feel like all of a sudden the company go disappear instantly. There's just not a lot of meat 'n potatoes there as far as the company itself is concerned.

It sure would be nice if you are Sage guys are reading this if you could maybe enlighten all of us a little more about the company itself so we could put a bit of a face on you.
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  #53  
Old 03-13-2009, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TorontoSage View Post
It sure would be nice if you are Sage guys are reading this if you could maybe enlighten all of us a little more about the company itself so we could put a bit of a face on you.
That's one of the reasons companies ARE privately held. So they don't have to divulge any info at all if they don't want to. Helps to keep a competitive edge. Here's a list of the top 25 of the 394 largest privately held American companies. Should they also divulge all of their info because you ask them to?
  • Koch Industries
  • Cargill
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Publix Super Markets
  • SemGroup
  • Mars
  • C&S Wholesale Grocers
  • Ernst & Young
  • Bechtel
  • Meijer
  • HE Butt Grocery
  • Cox Enterprises
  • Toys "R" Us
  • Fidelity Investments
  • TransMontaigne
  • Tenaska Energy
  • Flying J
  • JM Family Enterprises
  • Swift & Co
  • Capital Group Cos
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • Platinum Equity
  • Hertz Global Holdings
  • Menard
  • Reyes Holdings

In these crazy economic times there is no guarantee private or public, been in business 6 months or 75 years that a company is going to survive. (As an example the business I worked for 6 months ago, publicly held and in business over 75 years closed their doors Dec 2008)

Again
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Originally Posted by Narflex View Post
Geez....you guys read into stuff too much sometimes.
Gerry
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  #54  
Old 03-13-2009, 09:10 AM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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gplasky-

Your last post lacked specifics. It seems relatively clear that we're forced to speculate since we don't actually have enough information to make more solid conclusions. Or we're forced to blindly trust that a private for-profit company will do what it best for us without having any good way to verify current or past honesty. I'm not saying SageTV is trying, or has ever tried, to pull the wool over our eyes, but doesn't it bother you that they potentially could, and we wouldn't have a good way to detect it?

Maybe I'm just a very untrusting person compared to everyone else here... In my defense, it's basically my job to be paranoid! (I'm a cryptographer)
  #55  
Old 03-13-2009, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by reggie14 View Post
gplasky-

Your last post lacked specifics. It seems relatively clear that we're forced to speculate since we don't actually have enough information to make more solid conclusions. Or we're forced to blindly trust that a private for-profit company will do what it best for us without having any good way to verify current or past honesty. I'm not saying SageTV is trying, or has ever tried, to pull the wool over our eyes, but doesn't it bother you that they potentially could, and we wouldn't have a good way to detect it?

Maybe I'm just a very untrusting person compared to everyone else here... In my defense, it's basically my job to be paranoid! (I'm a cryptographer)
We're getting way OT here but my point is that list of 25 is from the Forbes list of the almost 400 LARGEST privately held companies that provide little to no information about their companies. There are many, many more. They are U.S.-headquartered firms that don't have widely held common stock, and revenue of more than $1 billion. They avoid Wall Street's obsession with quarterly earnings expectations. And provided they don't have publicly traded debt, they can keep their financial affairs to themselves. Most private companies are also mercifully exempt from the Sarbanes-Oxley good-governance rules. In 2005, the 339 companies on Forbes' survey of closely held U.S. businesses sold a trillion dollars' worth of goods and services and employed 4 million people.

I guess I trust a company until I am wronged. (Innocent until proven guilty). Now here is a privately held company from that list that you can probably relate to: Newegg.com. So you'll probably not order anything from them because they are private? The way they conduct business and sales is posted on their website just like Sage. As far as I am concerned both companies have posted enough information for me to do business with them. I don't trust them less because they are privately held.

Gerry
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  #56  
Old 03-13-2009, 09:56 AM
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Gerr I see your point 100% but I also see Reggie's point too. If Publix or New Egg went bankrupt and closed up shop tomorrow I would just take my business elsewhere. the thing with Sage as a company is that a lof of us have money invested into our SageTV systems and that is a living setup that requires live data (EPG) and bug fixes, among other things as well as warranty repair for equipment (specific to this thread).

While I don't share Reggie's enthusiasm (or paranoia?) of the company going under and the users being left in the cold, I can see where he's coming from.

As an aside, I realize that Zap2It provides the guide listings, but imagine what happens if SageTV goes out of business and how long we would be able to count on the Zap2It listings... Just a thought and way Off Topic.
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  #57  
Old 03-13-2009, 10:03 AM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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You don't actually get that much useful information from the Sarbanes-Oxley stuff really unless you're a regulator or, maybe, an investor. I think you're too caught up in the public versus privately held thing. In spite of the companies you mentioned being private, we actually know quite a bit about them. We know Cargill had $3.64 billion in revenue in 2008, and is responsible for 25% of US grain exporters. We know Newegg ships roughly 100,000 orders per day. We don't have that kind of information on Sage.

Plus, it's not really about what information the company releases- it's about what information gets out in general. In some ways, you have more protection when dealing with larger companies because it's harder for them to hide of bury things. The nice thing, from a customer perspective, about dealing with Microsoft products isn't that we know what MS's revenue was last year, it's that we know they have enough customers that if there was a problem with one of their products it would be covered by news organizations and blogs around the world. We don't have that benefit with Sage because it has a much, much, much smaller customer base. All the HD100s could shut down tomorrow and you still probably wouldn't hear about it on any major news site (depending on your definition, of course).

Of course I do business with small, private companies. I buy things from individuals on eBay too. But it makes me a little more nervous than I might otherwise be, and I'll take precautions I might otherwise not take.
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Old 03-13-2009, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gplasky View Post
That's one of the reasons companies ARE privately held. So they don't have to divulge any info at all if they don't want to. Helps to keep a competitive edge. Here's a list of the top 25 of the 394 largest privately held American companies. Should they also divulge all of their info because you ask them to?
I was never suggesting they should divulge all their info. I was just curious, so I was just askin'. As my Mommy once told me, you don't ask you don't get, right? But, what they should divulge is enough information about the company for us to be comfortable about investing in their product. The secrecy that surrounds SageTV is far beyond the norm that I have found surrounds private companies, which is peculiar. Sonos gives interviews, talks about shipment quantities and headcount and, at the risk of sounding like I am knocking SageTV, the former is far more successful and well known in their niche than SageTV is in theirs. Their product works right out of the box and is robust. Their more public personna certainly hasn't hurt them.

Thanks for your list of the top 25 private companies in the US, btw. I read Fortune too

Note that there is not one computer technology company in that list and for good reason. They always go public as soon as they can for a variety of reasons. Secrecy is at the bottom of their list as a reason for not going public when they can.

Anyway, what do we know about SageTV? Virtually nothing. All we know is about the product we get. We don't know head count, company structure, units sold, revenues, company direction, mission. - ie nothing, nada. There is not virtually a single interview anywhere with anyone in the company except for a couple of old ones with one of the two brothers who started the company. I know all of this about Sonos and they tend to promote themselves. SageTV doesn't. You have to admit it's a bit strange.
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Last edited by TorontoSage; 03-13-2009 at 11:11 AM.
  #59  
Old 03-17-2009, 08:04 PM
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DFranch DFranch is offline
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Originally Posted by TorontoSage View Post
You have to admit it's a bit strange.
I don't know what is so strange about not blabbing every detail about what goes on in their development. While I would like to know more about what they are working on, I understand why they don't share more. Once they go on record saying we are going to do this that or another thing they will be hounded daily until it is done. What if something more pressing comes up and they have to push back the deadline on another project that they already promised. That will tick people off much more than not knowing what is planned.
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Old 03-17-2009, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DFranch View Post
I don't know what is so strange about not blabbing every detail about what goes on in their development. While I would like to know more about what they are working on, I understand why they don't share more. Once they go on record saying we are going to do this that or another thing they will be hounded daily until it is done. What if something more pressing comes up and they have to push back the deadline on another project that they already promised. That will tick people off much more than not knowing what is planned.
Your comments are on a totally different page from what I wrote about. If you re-read my post, you will see that I did not mention anything about having an interest in the company 'blabbing every detail about what goes on in development', but rather were specifically direct towards more general information about the company.

And, as for blabbing 'every' detail, they don't blab any details about anything.
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Last edited by TorontoSage; 03-17-2009 at 08:52 PM.
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