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Email from lowrance

Old 03-23-2017, 02:14 PM
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Just received this, interesting


Lowrance® DownScan Imaging™ vs. Garmin ClearVü™
As a general rule, when making a product comparison, it is always best to compare apples to apples.
Sometimes, exceptions are made, as is the case when comparing Lowrance DownScan Imaging™ to Garmin ClearVü™.
While these products are similar, there is one key difference that makes them quite different.
Both are marketed as down-scanning products, but only one of them has an actual down-facing element in its transducer. That makes a big difference where it matters most – on the water.
How did we get to the point of comparing these two products?


DownScan Imaging™ — a fishfinding technology that gives anglers photo-like images of rocks, trees and underwater structure — was developed by Lowrance and patented by its parent company Navico®.

It is a game-changing technology that provides clear images of structure — the areas where fish like to hide. DownScan Imaging™ also makes it easier to identify how fish relate to structure, which is critically important for anglers.

Knowing the importance of DownScan Imaging™ for fishermen, other marine-electronics companies licensed the technology from Navico — with one exception.

In 2014, Garmin began shipping their version of down-scanning technology called DownVü™. As you may know, in 2015 the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that DownVü™ infringed upon Navico’s patents in the U.S. for DownScan Imaging™.

After a minor redesign to the DownVü™ transducer, Garmin made plans to move forward with U.S. imports. But, the ITC issued a ruling that caused Garmin to move away from the modified DownVü™ design. An ongoing enforcement action is underway relating to Garmin’s U.S. importations and sales of the modified transducer without seeking ITC approval.
That brings us to ClearVü™, which is now marketed as Garmin’s side- and down-scanning solution.

ClearVü™ does not infringe on the Navico U.S. patents, because it does not include a down-facing element in the transducer. This creates a scanning gap directly beneath the boat.


In the U.S., the Garmin ClearVü™ approach is to stitch together the side-scanning returns to fill the scanning gap directly under the boat. This reduces clarity and range, distorts the appearance of targets picked up by both side-scanning beams and completely misses some targets directly beneath the boat.


The idea of creating a down-scan view by using only the side-scan sonar signals is not new. Other marine electronics manufacturers tried this solution, but recognized it did not work well -- opting to provide their customers with a true DownScan Imaging solution, which is why other marine electronics manufacturers, including Humminbird® and Raymarine®, now license the true Navico DownScan Imaging technology for use on their fishfinders.

Check out this video to see a side-by-side comparison of Lowrance DownScan Imaging™ and Garmin’s ClearVü on-the-water performance.
Old 03-23-2017, 06:14 PM
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Is there a video showing the comparison? I'm about to pull the trigger on a new mfd so would like to hear if there's any sources backing this up.

Also, thank you for sharing this.
Old 03-24-2017, 12:18 AM
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More info and video here: http://www.lowrance.com/true-downscan
Old 03-24-2017, 07:11 AM
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Yeah, I'm about to pull the trigger too. Wanted to go Garmin but was also looking at SimRad. Not thrilled with the examples they show but I assume they searched long and hard to find images that make the difference as dramatic as possible. I wonder how much of an issue it is in real life.

Question - I assume that a GT51 had the downward facing element. If using a 51, will the latest Garmin software utilize that element or ignore it and stitch together its side elements?

I also assume that the GT52 is the same as the ClearVu transducer. Is that correct?
Old 03-24-2017, 09:16 AM
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I got the same email. Has me thinking.

Would also love to hear some input from Garmin owners with the Clearvu although I have a Lowrance with Downscan now and personally I don't really use it all that much compared to the traditional sonar screen.
Old 03-24-2017, 09:18 AM
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Garmin can't use 3 elements so they are stuck in playing with 2.
Old 03-24-2017, 09:31 AM
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Since Simrad is owned by the same parent company as Lowrance, I am going to assume Simrad transducers have a downfacing element. Any Simrad owners know this for certain?
Old 03-24-2017, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by DirtyJerz78 View Post
Since Simrad is owned by the same parent company as Lowrance, I am going to assume Simrad transducers have a downfacing element. Any Simrad owners know this for certain?


It certainly is available for Simrad, but every transducer doesn't automatically have it. You need to check your model #.


I think the display difference must be very real or else Hummingbird and Ray Marine wouldn't be paying for the license to use this technology, and Garmin wouldn't have tried to install it without paying for the license.
Old 03-24-2017, 12:53 PM
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the new clearvu transducers do not have a down element. down imaging comes from combining the sidevu images just like humminbird has done for years. the gt transducers still have a down element. I don't think many here are using anything that's clearvu.
Old 03-24-2017, 01:45 PM
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Troy is very astute to point this out. I wish that the video had actually identified the exact transducer that they were doing the comparison with. Im reminded of how Verados when introduced were being compared to 10 year old Yamahas!
Old 03-24-2017, 10:24 PM
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Its not the same thing at all Brian. That pretty much had to be a CV52 - introduced last year. Are any other CV transducers even being sold at all? In any case, there are no OLD CV transducers to compare to.

This is very bad for Garmin - especially when added to the website issues, map issues and customer support issues they have been having. On top of all that, now it looks like they have been lying to customers about the CV transducers.

I could link to a bunch of different threads on multiple boards over the last year, where people have asked what was the difference between the GT and CV transducers.

In EVERY SINGLE CASE, it was played down as there being essentially no change with only a minor difference (increase) in beam width - which was supposed to give "more detail".

Removing the dedicated down element - and regressing back to old, outdated, inferior technology - is not a "minor" change that only involves a "small increase in beam width" and it sure as hell isnt going to provide more detail.

This also brings up another question. Now that all the new models have up-dated software so that downvu is gone and its all Clearvu now - is the Clearvu software actually using the dedicated down element in my GT51 - or is it only using the side elements?

In other words, is my GT51 - and all the other Garmin transducers with down elements - being crippled by the Clearvu software?

Im pretty ticked off about this new revelation. I value my reputation and now I find I've been lying to people for over a year now telling them there was no significant difference between the CV and GT transducers. Ive also been lying to people about details on the Premium maps - again because I made the mistake of trusting, and passing along information I got directly from Garmin reps, customer support and the website.

Im pretty ticked off about it.

If I was one of those guys who bought an mfd with a CV transducer - after getting assurances there were only "minor" differences, I would be absolutely livid.

This is a major marketing/credibility/trust screw up on Garmins part.

Last edited by Yrral3215; 03-25-2017 at 04:02 AM.
Old 03-25-2017, 02:48 AM
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Yrral, that is exactly how I feel. I bought a 94sv in January with the clear vu transducer. I could find no evidence that it was different from the gt51. All I can suggest is keep your receipt because I feel a class action lawsuit.
Old 03-25-2017, 03:08 AM
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it only effects to the US. .in the rest of the world.. we still have the down facing element

out of interest the new Humminbird MEGA and Axiom RV transducers both have dedicated down elements
Old 03-25-2017, 04:22 AM
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Originally Posted by TroyBoy30 View Post
the new clearvu transducers do not have a down element. down imaging comes from combining the sidevu images just like humminbird has done for years. the gt transducers still have a down element. I don't think many here are using anything that's clearvu.
Yes, Humminbird did do that for years - until they switched to a dedicated down element - because it was better technology.

Also, there are dozens of threads on here over the last year where guys are buying 93/94sv or 7600 series or some other other model and asking about the GT52/CV52.

Anyone who said they were fishing in bays or mostly shallow has been steered towards the GT52/CV52. Every time someone asked, they were told the CV52 was as good as the GT52.

Id recommend you and Garmin not try to down play or gloss this over. You're just going to piss people off even more.
Old 03-25-2017, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Yrral3215 View Post
This also brings up another question. Now that all the new models have up-dated software so that downvu is gone and its all Clearvu now - is the Clearvu software actually using the dedicated down element in my GT51 - or is it only using the side elements?

In other words, is my GT51 - and all the other Garmin transducers with down elements - being crippled by the Clearvu software?
No, GT performance is not hindered in any way. With a GT transducer, the software fully utilizes all of the elements in that design.
Old 03-25-2017, 09:48 AM
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I think Lowrance is butt-hurt...If it wasnt affecting them/if Garmin's transducer doesnt work they wouldnt have needed to post this...In another words its just a marketing tool...to make people to switch to Navico/Lowrance products
Old 03-25-2017, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by tommy099431 View Post
I think Lowrance is butt-hurt...If it wasnt affecting them/if Garmin's transducer doesnt work they wouldnt have needed to post this...In another words its just a marketing tool...to make people to switch to Navico/Lowrance products
Tommy see what your saying....Lowrance is losing sales to Garmin. Any sport shop selling electronics the buzz is Garmin. Kind of a cardinal rule don't criticize another company's products, let it speak for itself and move of us will agree Garmin's SS/DS is subpar to Lowrance, Hummingbird and am told Raymarine too.

Feel there is concern Garmin will dominate the inland electronics market.....and Lowrance is reacting, to the ouch. Most consumers will forget how well Garmin does in other areas like panoptix, mapping.

Could really impact sales
Old 03-25-2017, 01:48 PM
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sorry but patenting a transducer with the distinguishing feature that it fires downward is a stupid patent. it should never have been granted as tons of other transducers fire downward. you would think of that as prior art. oh well. to me this patent is no different than apple being granted a patent for a rectangular object with rounded edges.
Old 03-25-2017, 02:22 PM
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I think Lowrance is hurting and up-set with Garmins success, but the main reason Lowrance is hurting is because they screwed up big time on customer support and quality control.

This is Garmin now shooting themselves in the head in the same way.

The transducer is the heart of any sonar unit. Lying to your customers about about reverting to old, outdated, inferior technology and calling it a "minor change" just kills any chance of trust.


Add in that the website has been out of date and has had the wrong specs on multiple units - including all the brand new units all falsely advertising they come with G2 HD maps AND that Garmin has known about those errors for a long time and has made no effort to fix any of it.

Customer support has been, and still is, giving out incorrect and conflicting info on maps and specs on mfd/s. Im assuming its because they are using the website to give answers - but that is no excuse.

It has been impossible to download an internal map up-date for over a year. Garmin changed over to Express for that early this year - but Express didnt work at all at first and is still messed up. It changes the copy protection on map updates to premium charts so that you cant use them in any MFD you want to. There is no fix in site so far - and you still cant download an up-date for your internal maps even though support is telling customers that is what they are getting.

Bottom line, you cant trust what customer support tells you or what the web site says.

Once you loose your customers trust, its very very hard to get it back.

It certainly looks like the upper management at Garmin just doesnt give a crap about any of that and thats what hurt Lowrance so badly.
Old 03-25-2017, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by jmarshall28 View Post
sorry but patenting a transducer with the distinguishing feature that it fires downward is a stupid patent. it should never have been granted as tons of other transducers fire downward. you would think of that as prior art. oh well. to me this patent is no different than apple being granted a patent for a rectangular object with rounded edges.
DownScan was something new when introduced, it's about showing the bottom structure in a detail level never seen before so this is absolutely worth patenting. The ITC rulings have confirmed the validity of the patent, if it had been about patenting the obvious ITC would have come to a different conclusion.

The patent has 99 claims, it's about the shape (and then also signal coverage ) of the transducer element, the mounting, system configuration (where the processing is done) and a lot of other aspects.

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