Here's the latest info on the 950( December 24): MODEL 950 NEWS As our last Newsletter went "to press" in early December, we were still optimistic that we might be able to get the Model 950 out in time for it to appear under a few trees this year. However, we also said that we weren't going to ship until we were ready. Given that Santa is about ready to clear security, put his tray-table in the locked and upright position and take off, it is obvious that we aren't going to meet that date. There are a few reasons for this, but the most critical one involves a software issue we'll describe below. From a hardware side, we're ready to go, and the boards are being produced, stuffed and tested, and the remotes are in production as you read this. However, the software code, both for the DSP and the operating firmware is incredibly complex, and during the course of our testing something came to our attention that was simply not acceptable to anyone testing the unit. As some of you may have read in the various on-line forums, there have been reports of compatibility issues with some of the recent DVD releases. Using the discs under discussion we found that there was, indeed, something amiss. Our investigation, and that of other engineering consultants, has found that there is most likely an incompatibility between some new DVD releases and the way in which products with 6.1 or 7.1 DSP react to embedded flags. Unfortunately, as a 6.1/7.1 product, the Model 950 exhibited an adverse reaction to this situation. This is not something we could have anticipated, and the unit is otherwise to standard, (as are the products from other manufacturers that exhibit the same problem). However, having discovered the problem we had to see that it was resolved. We are currently working with the software design teams and other consultants to rectify the situation, and trial code is being tested despite the short holiday week. Unfortunately, the timing is not favorable due to holiday and end-of-year shut downs, and it may be another week or so before we are satisfied that the new code is 100% compatible with all known problem discs and with the root cause for this situation. Once the final code passes our internal tests it will go out for beta, and at that point we will be ready to burn it into e-proms, insert them into the boards, assemble and test the units and have them out to you. The bottom line: As you might imagine, while we are reluctant to set a hard ship date at this time, (given all that has gone on to date), we are fully confident that it will be within the next three weeks or so. Skeptics may say what they will, and we're prepared for the usual comments in the on-line forums. Since the alternative would be to release a product that contains a known bug, we'll opt to take the flames about the delay now, rather than complaints about an unsatisfactory product later. Remember, this is something that we didn't invent, and the problem is not one that could have been surfaced by any existing test material. It's a real world problem that (fortunately) we were able to catch at the last minute, and we have no apologies for doing that. The fact that other products may be suffering the same problem is clear evidence that this is not part of some "cover up" by the Outlaws. The Outlaw engineering teams will be working throughout the holiday week to solve the problem and then have the unit submitted for the necessary approvals. At this point we can only say that we'll keep you posted as to the progress. (As a side note, our first production run is already pre-reserved and our second production run is almost completely sold out if all the reservations are executed. Our financial people would love to see us show those sales on our books before the year closes. However, we ain't gonna do it just to keep the Outlaw Bean Counters happy. Our goal is to keep YOU happy.) We realize that many of you have been waiting quite some time for this product, and we know that this seems like an endless series of delays. Therefore As our way of saying thank you to the many loyal supporters who have hung in there with us throughout what has seemed to be the gestation period of an elephant, we want to do something to make the wait a little more worthwhile. To express our thanks for your patience, we will include a pair of our 1.8-meter PCA audio interconnects at no extra charge to everyone who places their name on the Reservation List on or before 11:59PM EST on Christmas Day, December 25, 2001. If you have already placed your name on the list you do not need to do anything, as your reservation is already recorded and you will receive the cables when your order ships. This is a $49.95 value, and the offer will NOT be extended beyond the stated deadline. Again, thanks to all who have waited for the Model 950. No one wants this product to ship more than we do, and you have our firm commitment that we will get it out as soon as this problem is resolved to everyone's satisfaction.