Author Topic: Fiire experience  (Read 11286 times)

bgp

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Fiire experience
« on: June 29, 2008, 08:14:58 pm »
In a number of posts on this forum, it is suggested that a way to avoid some of the hardware and setup issues with linuxmce is to buy the system ready-installed on Fiire's Engines and Stations. Some people had reported that the hardware compatibility of Fiire's kit was less than ideal, but many people seemed to think it was better than doing it yourself (I suspect based more on bitter experience of DIY and hope that there was a better alternative, than on any direct experience with Fiire).

I just wanted a functioning linuxmce system, and was prepared to pay the extra to have it pre-configured for me by Fiire rather than struggle with trying to get it going on my own hardware. So I bought a FiireEngine and two FiireStations (one 1" VESA-mount system, one set-top box) to see if it really made things easier.

My experience to date has been less than satisfactory. I have given them another 48 hours to get it working. I will report my experience and conclusions, including whether they finally got it working or how they behaved if they didn't get it working, to this forum later in the week. Based on my experience so far, I'd say you'd have to be mad to waste money (and, I suspect, more time than if I'd tried to put it together myself) on their kit, but perhaps they will rescue things at the last minute.

agidi

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Re: Fiire experience
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2008, 10:24:03 pm »

Please do report your experience and opinions.   

Are this the newer FE and stations, with HDTV? 

They did not work out of the box?  One would expect the same thing.. if you save the hassle of assembly to get a turn key solutions. you don't want to spend time getting it to work.  Do they support it remotely over the net?
 
Very interested in your findings..   about to acquire a whole house system.
thanks

bgp

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Re: Fiire experience
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2008, 11:09:55 pm »
Agidi,

Not the new ones (i.e. Fiire 12TB, Invisible and Prestige now advertised on their website), but the previous range (Engine and Stations). Their specs claim the Stations do 720p and 1080i/p though, so this kit should be OK for HDTV. I have them attached to two HD-Ready 720p screens (one plasma, one LCD), which seems to be a major part of the problem.

No, they did not work out of the box. We (Fiire and me) have had a patchy time trying to get them working, thanks to BT's lines going down and taking my internet connection with it for several weeks. And, to be fair, they have tried, although it seems to need _a_lot_ of input from me. I am giving them one last chance to get things working, so I don't want to say definitely that they have failed yet, but it's looking pretty likely. I'll tell more if that proves to be the case. Frankly, if there is no happy ending, this is a pretty miserable story that ought to deter anyone from buying their kit.

If you are looking at whole house systems (which I am also looking for - this was a trial), I am thinking that my next stop will be Convergent Home Technologies' Dianemo system. It may also have problems, but (a) they are in my home country, and (b) they are supplying systems, not just boxes, so it would be their job to make it work.

Alternatively, I may just give up and get some WinMCE boxes. I hate Windows, but at least WinMCE works out of the box and doesn't have problems with DRM. There is a limit to the amount of pain it is worth taking to use linux instead of Windows, and I say that as someone who has been using linux for over a decade, and even have it on my work laptop. I am pretty committed to linux, and to Free Software and Media standards generally, but I've been trying to put this sort of thing together for almost as long as I've been using linux, and progress is so slow and patchy that you can barely see it happening. Any changes just seem to introduce new complications, not solve old problems.

justdeb

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Re: Fiire experience
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2008, 06:12:31 am »
I purchased a fiire station myself and have not installed it, but i had quite a delay in getting it and also there was no driver CD - i am curious to see how it works - but will need to finish irong out the issues with my non Fiire core system

ddamron

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Re: Fiire experience
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2008, 08:33:28 am »
I really wish you had read my thread on the fiire Station 1"..

I have all but given up on Fiire, I bought a Fiire Engine, a Fiire 1", and a Fiire 2.2".  The 1" would overheat at the default 1500Mhz, and I had to slow it down to 1400 to stop it from going thermal.

The 2.2" had a bad fan from the get go.

Also, considering the amount they actually talk to us, the community, it's a pretty safe bet they don't care.

I have been in communication with them for almost a year now, and STILL can't get anything from them.  I'm an active developer for this system, yet they don't seem to care.

My recommendation is, and has always been, STAY AWAY FROM FIIRE STATIONS, PERIOD.

Until someone does a review of their new gear, but that someone won't be me.

I also did an extensive thread on the Fiire Engine, complete with part numbers, and a breakdown of the so called invoice..

I hate to say it, but either we told you so, or you didn't do enough research.  There are all kinds of threads here with reasons to STAY AWAY from Fiire equipment.

Their Customer Service is pityfull at best, I'm still waiting for feedback from them.

See if you can return the Fiire Stations, you might be able to.

Good luck, I've been in your boat.

All the best,

Dan
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bgp

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Re: Fiire experience
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2008, 11:28:38 am »
Dan, I did scan the forums, but what I saw didn't seem like a clear red flag. On the FiireEngine, you say:

Quote
Overal, the system DOES work well..  however, you should be able to build the same comparible system for half the price.

One note, they HAVE put a lot of effort into the configuration, DOCUMENTATION, and setup ease.. that HAS to be paid for..

The main criticism is on the cost, but I was happy to bite that bullet for a system that "just works". I thought Jeff responded pretty well to the criticisms on the cost. But obviously, what it is worth depends on how well it works out of the box.

On the 1" box, you say:

Quote
Been having minor lock up problems.. still working out the bugs..
works well though!

On the 2.2" box, the main issue highlighted is that you can't have MythTV and the UI2 interface. I was willing to live with that, doing the recording through the Engine (hence ordered the Engine with tuner card).

My problems are more fundamental than the ones you had. I can't get a working GUI at a reasonable resolution on either Station, even though they are both attached to 720p screens. I'd be happy if I got to the point where the lack of MythTV was the frustration.

I agree with you that the 1" box seems to run very hot. Particularly worrying, as Fiire have asked me to leave it on to give them a reasonable chance to get in on Remote Assistance and try to get it working. How did you slow down the 1" box?

To be fair to Fiire, their technical support and customer service have responded to emails (at least, until recently) and tried to help. But unfortunately without success, and I haven't had any response to my most recent communications.

gazlang

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Re: Fiire experience
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2008, 02:28:08 pm »
Just had a look at the new fiire products, they look a bit misleading straight away. The prestige appears to have a blu-ray drive, but does not mention the inability of LMCE to play blu-ray straight off.

Aside from this, I bought a fiire chief remote from them 3 months ago and it's on the blink already. Sometimes it will not work at all (no lights no response to new batteries), so I leave it for a few hours and it may work the next time I pick it up. Must be a loose connection in there somewhere. Can't do anything about it with fiire as they only have a month warranty.

I haven't really had much use out of it - been busy configuring my LMCE setup - so it's been a waste of $140.
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totallymaxed

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Re: Fiire experience
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2008, 09:37:21 pm »
If you are looking at whole house systems (which I am also looking for - this was a trial), I am thinking that my next stop will be Convergent Home Technologies' Dianemo system. It may also have problems, but (a) they are in my home country, and (b) they are supplying systems, not just boxes, so it would be their job to make it work.

Hi Bgp,

We'd be happy to discuss how a Dianemo system could satisfy your requirements. We would be pleased to demonstrate a full range of working hardware to you. Please drop me a private message to arrange a demonstration of Dianemo at our Chelmsford demonstration suite.

All the best

Andrew
Andy Herron,
Convergent Home Technologies Ltd
United Kingdom

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Apneadiver

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Re: Fiire experience
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2008, 08:25:47 pm »
Justdeb,

Looking forward to your review of the Fiire (made by Polywell dot com) 12-TB core.  You are the first and, from what I can see, only person to note on the forums that they have purchased the new Fiire Engine.  Even a preliminary review would be great.  Hopefully, Fiire has improved, and your experience has been positive overall. 

Regards,

 - Jim

Apneadiver

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Re: Fiire experience
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2008, 12:08:24 am »
I did a search on Polywell, the PC vendor behind Fiire, starting with ResellerRatings.com, which is where I start when I don't know a vendor.  Ratings were average at best.  Try searching a vendor like NewEgg.com to see what a great reputation looks like.  I also went to CNET.com and found more ratings, again average at best.

My thought is that you can get your own SATA controller that is supported by software RAID, perhaps something like http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N82E16815121009 which is only supports 8 drives, but that's still 8 drives just with one card for $100.  Get a nice case (the new Fiire case is nice), and a few other parts and you can built your own system for considerably less.

regards,

 - Jim

Kaempy

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Re: Fiire experience
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2008, 04:34:07 am »
Hello Everyone,

I wanted to introduce myself.  I am the new GM of Fiire.  My first day was Monday and I have been doing my best to work on the operations of the company and take care of your orders and needs. 

I am not sure where to start, so I will simply let you know what the plan is and do my best to get it executed as quickly as possible.

First, we are moving to a new system builder.  In the past we have used Polywell but are moving to a firm and facility in New York.  This is being done to more efficiently take care of our European customers as well as our US customers.  We are also working with an Australia firm to set up operations to help people in Australia, NZ, and SE Asia.  Lastly, we are looking for partners in Europe to reduce shipping costs for customers there.  I do not have definitive timing for these events, but they are coming.

Next, if you have an order for a Prestiige, 12TB, or Invisible there is going to be a small delay.  We should have the kinks in our operation worked out within the next two weeks. 

In terms of our products, we are aiming to keep our prices as low as possible.  Our costs per machine include the hardware and build costs (labor).  Our soft costs include administration and support.  So, while we will not be able to build a machine for what it costs on NewEgg, we will try to keep them low enough to keep everyone motivated.

Generally, I ask for your patience as this may take a few weeks to fix.  Also, if we ship product and you have suggestions for how to improve it, I would appreciate that as well.  While I will not be able to guarantee that all suggestions will be implemented, I realize that the members of this forum are far more technically proficient than I. 

I will not try to hide our problems from you and aprpeciate your honesty on this forum.  In the past we have been slow to respond to requests and inconsistent in our order processing.  My role here will be to improve our company and the service you see. 

Feel free to contact me directly via email - blake(at)fiire(dot)com

Warmest regards,
Blake

PS - I know we have not participated much in this forum but I will attempt to participate as much as possible.

ddamron

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Re: Fiire experience
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2008, 07:04:11 am »
Kaempy, Welcome!

It's nice to se *someone* taking interest from fiire.

Please visit us often the more communication we have with each other, the better the project, and (hopefully) the better your sales!

Dan
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Kaempy

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Re: Fiire experience
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2008, 11:28:49 pm »
Hello everyone,

I am writing a new update to the Fiire status. 

First, while our production facility is coming along slower than expected.  With the release of the Inviisible and the Prestiige, we are working diligently to fulfill orders while creating a repeatable business and manufacturing process.  So, please be patient, we are working hard on this and should have it resolved soon.

New products:

We are getting ready to release a new product based on LinuxMCE.  I can't say anymore but it should be out by the end of this quarter.  I am working with the team to get a pre-order page set-up soon.

Help Wanted:

We are looking to partner with system builders (companies only please) in the following countries/regions:

Japan
Israel
Eastern Europe
Western Europe
Australia

We are looking to reduce support time and transportation costs to these regions.

I will keep posting as things move forward.  As always, please feel free to email me or post here to discuss any requests, issues, etc.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2008, 12:23:53 am by Kaempy »

justdeb

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Re: Fiire experience
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2008, 09:43:48 am »
Hi Apneadiver,

Sorry for my delay in responding to this forum as i only returned from holidays last night and have not had access to my email. In relation to my Fiire setup and overall experience i have only purchased a Fiire station (2.2" unit). I have spent most of the day trying to get the unit up and running without success. I have searched long and hard trying to find out where the problem may be and was ready to send a lengthy email to anyone in fiire who would listen to me. I just happened after reading an unrelated post regarding unrecognised nics it appears the problem may not be with the fiire product but may in fact be the asus p5k mobo. I will change the nic and let you know how it goes.

I am glad that there is someone in fiire who appears to be interested in improving the product and will certainly be happy to offer my comments upon the completion of my setup of my fiire station. Whilst i am a newbie to this arena and linux - any comments good or bad will be a start of something good - i hope.

Apneadiver

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Re: Fiire experience
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2008, 03:58:14 am »
Justdeb,

I'm interested to hear your findings, when you have them.


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Blake,

My background was strategy, product management and marketing for most of my career, but I've been in customer service management for Cablevision for the past 4 years.  With that in perspective, I can say that you have a great deal of challenges ahead of you, as Fiire has stumbled quite a bit.  In the same breath, there is also opportunity for a person with the right blend of skills and motivation to push the Fiire concept to achieve far more than it has.  If you do maintain a commitment to the community, I'd say you are in a much better position to recapture lost potential. 

From the research I did, Polywell was not, shall we say, best in class.  Who in NY will do your assemblies, and are they on Long Island or in NY City? 

If you live in the L.A. area, I lived all my life up to the past 4 years in California and last lived in Silverlake, if you know where that is. 

regards,

 - Jim
Bay Shore, NY