Ceton's InfiniTV 4 CableCARD tuner delayed again

Ben Drawbaugh
B. Drawbaugh|05.21.10

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Ben Drawbaugh
May 21, 2010 11:46 PM
Ceton's InfiniTV 4 CableCARD tuner delayed again
Oh man this sucks -- just got word that Ceton has once again delayed the release of its InfiniTV 4 CableCARD tuner. Originally the ability to record four HD channels at once with a single card was going to be delivered in 2009, then it was delayed until the 1st quarter of 2010. The card did go on pre-order in the first quarter, but the ship date was delayed until May 31st. Now with only a week until that date, although the card has already received CableLabs certification, the sad news is revealed that due to some unobtainable flash memory chips and other components, the wonder card will probably ship by the end of June -- but at this point no new hard date is being given. Obviously delays like this aren't good for anyone and although we think the device is worth the wait, the fact that the one and only ATI CableCARD tuner for PCs has been discontinued, HTPC fans are certainly feeling the hurt. Full newsletter with all the bad details after the jump.
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We know that you have been eagerly waiting for the first shipment of the Ceton InfiniTV 4 digital cable quad-tuner card and want to update you on where things stand. Unfortunately, we're not going to make our planned May 31st ship date as we expected when we announced it in March. We believe units will ship by the end of June but we don't yet know for sure. Rather than waiting, we wanted to let you know what we know at this point.

This is hugely disappointing news. Trust us, no one is more disappointed than we are. We've been working day and night to meet our May 31st deadline but there are some things that simply are not in our control.

What happened? As we told you in our last newsletter, development and testing for InfiniTV 4 have gone very well. In fact, since we last wrote you in March we have received formal notification of InfiniTV 4 CableLabs certification, which was the final critical step on the way to manufacturing and release. That was a huge milestone, not only for us but also for the industry. It's our understanding that InfiniTV 4 is the first multi-tuner PC card to pass certification, the first quad-tuner device of any type to pass certification, the first device ever certified for 1 GHz cable systems, and one of the first Windows 7 devices to pass certification. That's quite a list of firsts for a new company like us and something we're really proud of. It's also indicative of the complexity involved in doing something like this for the first time in the industry.

The next step after certification is to get the product manufactured and shipped. We've seen a lot of funny speculation online about how long it takes to get units produced and boxes shipped from our manufacturer overseas. It's actually relatively quick and our products do not in fact sit for weeks on cargo ships crossing the ocean while warding off Somali pirates. The physical production of the units is fast, and we can airship units to the U.S. cost effectively. So we're talking days and not weeks from when our manufacturer starts a production run until units are ready to ship from our retail partners in the US. That wasn't the issue here.

The issue was simply parts. Well, not so simply in fact, as there are more than 1,000 individual parts used in each InfiniTV 4 card. Unfortunately, the global recession has resulted in manufacturers maintaining low inventory levels of everything, which have resulted in parts shortages across the industry that are affecting everyone from little guys like us to the largest PC and CE OEMs in the world. In our case it boiled down to not being able to get the right quantity of a couple of critical parts in time to meet our production schedule. We've been scrambling for a couple of weeks to find what we needed but it was obvious this week that it wasn't going to happen in time for us to meet our May 31 goal, which is why we're writing you today.

What's the new date then? We really hoped that if we had to give you bad news about a delay that we'd be able to give you a new ship date at least. Unfortunately we can't do that today as we simply don't have a solid answer yet. But we wanted to at least let you know about the May 31 slip, even if we can't give you a new date.

How will Pre-Order Program units ship? Will one retailer get priority over another? Since we kicked off the InfiniTV 4 pre-order program in March the response has been great and orders have continued to come in at a steady, in fact increasing, pace. It's obvious that there is a ton of pent up demand for a solution like this and we hope to be able to fulfill all the pre-order program orders at the same time. But, depending on how the parts situation evolves and how many units we are able to manufacture at a time, it is possible that we'll have to ship out units in smaller batches than initially expected. In that case we will fulfill orders on a first-come, first-served basis, regardless of which retailer you ordered from. So someone who ordered in March could get units earlier than someone who orders today. Regardless of where you are in the shipping queue however, your credit card will not be charged until your unit ships.

We understand your disappointment and hope you'll stick with us as we get these first units out the door. We promise we're doing absolutely everything we can to get InfiniTV 4 in your hands as soon as we can and will update you once we have a new ship date!
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