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Sequence Generator Pro - still value for money?


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Ken and Jared at Sequence Generator Pro have just changed their payment model. The software has become a one off membership fee ($149) plus an annual subscription fee ($59 / year). Does this represent good value still? It has been my observatory and imaging control package of choice for about five years and was amazingly good value when it was a one off fee, plus very rare upgrade fees. I am wondering what the alternative software packages are that provide equally good (or better) control of everything? Please let me know what you use, how much it costs and how good it is!

Thanks,

Gav.

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Just having a play with N.I.N.A. and it appears to be very good. VERY good! I cant see anything that SGP does that NINA doesnt. It also feels more slick and polished than SGP Worth a lo

I think this change has been handled poorly. I also noted on the download page an option to download V4 which is greyed out and if you click on it it says something like coming soon. So I gu

Hi Why not use EKOS? It automates as SGP, is available under a licence which obviates the need for payment and has support which is verging on PHD2's quality. Set it going at dusk and come back t

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I may be misunderstanding this but I have just updated my one computer and this is what it says under my license info. It appears that I will get no further updates (including bug fixes) unless I sign up for an annual subscription

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I still thinks its' great value, I bought the product in 2016, so have had 4 years of use & all the unpaid for updates....

The new model allows upgrade to any future version (currently 3.2.x), and current paid users, just have to pay the license fee of $50 (£48'ish) (3.1 users) for all of your current 3 machines.

If you just stick with what you have, i.e. 3.1.x & 2.x you don't have to pay anything.... 

Also after a year on the new model, and you don't want further updates etc. you can just stop paying the subscription & carry on using the software, well that's my understanding.

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You don't seem to be getting anything new for this subscription except for "priority support", that I can see.  If the current support is anything to go by then I'll give the upgrade a miss since many issues I raised on the forum have gone unanswered.

I am not especially impressed with SGP if I am honest.  A lot of things go wrong with it and its error handling is poor with lock-ups and hangs.  Also many development requests seem to have been ignored.

I'll persevere with it on the current release for now but I have been toying with NINA and this change in SGP subscription makes me want to explore that option even more.

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I think this change has been handled poorly.

I also noted on the download page an option to download V4 which is greyed out and if you click on it it says something like coming soon.

So I guess now that I have opted to not pay the subscription and I am stuck with V3 that very soon a whizzy new version will be available but only if I pay the subscription.

I am not very impressed and will be investigating N.I.N.A etc in slow time (especially as the new season is just starting).

Grump mode \

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Hi

Why not use EKOS? It automates as SGP, is available under a licence which obviates the need for payment and has support which is verging on PHD2's quality. Set it going at dusk and come back the following morning to get your frames. I don't know why native Windows software is so expensive, but I have a few ideas;)

If you don't want to download and install stuff, it is also available as a -one off payment- sbc and yes, if you must, you can connect via windows. Or your 'phone, or a tablet. From the bar, restaurante, night club... Or anywhere there's Internet.

Cheers

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I will not be moving to the subscription model. Gave up MS Office and Photoshop for the same reason. I have been very disappointed with SGP’s response to my and others requests for multi camera . While there has been suggestions of its development for the last 8 years, nothing has happened. I started learning NINA for that very reason.

Noticed that an early version of SGP 4.0 was released accidentally recently but there was no indication or mention of multi camera working. The current arrangement of running 2 instances of SGP on one PC is not doing it for me.

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Interesting responses, thank you all. Yes, it has come out of nowhere, hasn't it? Communication with their current customer base is evidently not a priority for the SGP developers! I have gone and paid the subscription for this year, in the hope that my 'premium support' access will get my various gripes dealt with sooner rather than later and that this is all being done as version 4 is about to be released, with amazing new functionality... go on, let me dream..!

My problem is that I can't fault the software. It has been a relatively painful process getting it to work, but Ken and Jared have been very responsive to my problems and requests. For the money back then, it was great and I have enjoyed being part of the beta development process for them. I currently have a system that works and allows me to 'fire and forget'.

I will have to look at NINA and EKOS, but I have to say that the idea of knocking down my current observatory 'house of cards' and the inevitable pain of trying to build a new one might just be too much for me and makes $59 seem worth paying!

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Guess after the the first flush of enthusiasm has worn off they're not getting enough new subscribers to make a living but I think  $59.00 is a bit much when there are plenty of cheaper / free alternatives available without all those confusing little boxes.

Like their statement that " most other companies are doing this and they're just copying Microsoft and Photoshop " don't think they're quite in the same league 😂

Dave

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I would pay the subscription if I thought it was worth it but as others have said, the software frequently locks up, also the GNS alerting now does not work as when guiding is lost SGPro just reports that the sequence has ended, not errored!  I logged this last week but have had no responses on the forum regarding the issue.  Im going to look at NINA as it seems to have the same features, is free and has active support.

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I use SG Pro a lot so for me there was no issue with subscribing ($59/year). It's $149 if you upgrading from version 2 or a new user. At approx £1 a week it's worth it. APP, Maxim and others are all subscription based. If you currently have SGPro you can carry on using it, you just don't qualify for updates. I'm sure in time NINA and other free softwares will need to make charges so their developers can eat!

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The thing that annoys me the most is the timing of it, why not do it mid summer? We get few enough imaging nights as it is without potentially losing some due to developers mucking around with their software. Also I've only had SGPro for 10 months and I wasn't expecting to have to pay them another $59 dollars yet. In any case it's showing $63 on my account. I've posted in the forum querying this. I couldn't get the licensing issues email to work.


It is good though, even though I haven't yet managed to get my Focuscube autofocusing properly on my refractor. The LakesideAstro one was easy to set up last year.

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I was planning on switching to SGP this winter as I wanted a little more than my current set up could give me (including the dome automation stuff for when I get around to it) but I think im going to pass now and try my hand with EKOS again. I think SGP would be the easier and arguably better option but I have come to dislike subscription models lately. A recent cull of "small subscriptions" has saved me hundreds of pounds a year, and whilst this would be less than say Netflix or Amazon prime I just can't see it as being worth it when combined with a rather steep entry price for a new user too.

To switch to a subscription model is understandable, and if they can justify the ongoing fees to the user base then good on them - but to build a large upfront cost in as well seems a little steep and I think will seriously limit the number of new users that come their way.

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3 hours ago, tooth_dr said:

It’s funny I switched back to APT a few days ago for multi camera dithering.  It is way easier to use.  The only advantage of SGP for me at present is the framing mode. 

Exactly that.  APT is a super software and Ivo (I think the developers name is) is extremely responsive and helpful and takes suggestions very seriously. 

SGP does not have multi camera support that has been asked for for years.  It is a paid for platform and they still haven't done it.  If it was a tenner I'd accept that but I have now shelled out $170 and they want more on a annual basis now.  Nope, not from me.

There is not even a dark mode to save your eyes at night - you have to go into windows desktop themes and hack it that way.  Their defensive code to avert lock-ups and hangs is dire.

I'd gladly pay yearly  if the support was better (and you got a proper support ticket number) and they developed these things we asked for.  They haven't and I am not impressed.  They are taking the Michael.  I will carry on with it for now whilst I learn NINA.

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I suppose the plan is that by having more income from this 'project' of theirs (they being Ken & Jared - who are two very nice guys, by the way!) will be able to spend more time on SGP and taking it forwards, rather than having to earn money from a day job and then try and support this every growing beast in the evening.

The upgrade seems to work pretty easily, so if you have fears about the whole thing falling apart when you upgrade, it doesn't appear to be the case. Tonight looks clear, so I will be conducting a real world test... fingers crossed!

I used to use APT many years ago and agree, Ivo, the developer is very responsive and has built a great piece of software. I had copious issues with APT crashing back then, I'm sure those issues are fixed now, but how does it compare to SGP, functionality wise? Is it as fully featured as SGP?

Enjoy tonight's forecast clear skies, if you are lucky enough to be forecast clear skies, and I hope this new version of SGP doesn't generate a swell of bug reports tomorrow morning!

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Having always used freeware and native software that came with hardware, I bought SGP recently and have just installed ASCOM etc to make it work. I'm disappointed by this change out of the blue. Had I known they were changing, I wouldn't have bought it. I wont be  using the subscription model. Its too expensive for what it is. I'll use SGP until it no longer works, then find an alternative. If it had been a cheaper annual cost, I'd have thought about it.

 

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Plus 1 for KStars/Ekos.   Runs on all platforms, great support and it is constantly receiving new features and support for the latest cameras , mounts etc.

Cost = 0.00 in all currencies.

From my perspective SGP seems to be living in the past where there was no competition and they seem to have become a bit complacent.  

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 I was evaluating NINA, SGP and APT back in 2019, if I could have got all my kit to talk to NINA I would have gone with that package, but I could only connect all of my kit successfully with SGP. And the mosaics wizard works great.

Having said that it hangs on a regular basis, I think I will give NINA another go, the user interface looked cool in the StarGazine presentation.

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It's only subscription based to receive future updates. The version you currently have will still work forever, even if you don't take out a subscription.

Since having a dual rig setup I thought that dither sync would be a necessity to avoid losing too many images so was disappointed when SGP still didn't offer it. However for me, in reality it makes little difference. I have a mono camera taking L and NB and a OSC camera for RGB. I have the mono controlling dither and so lose a quarter to a third of the colour images. You still end up with more colour images than you need especially if your just using it for star colour. For just an LRGB image I may have the colour camera controlling dither, and lose a 60s L image every so often. Not a big issue I've found. 🙂

I tried NINA but found the layout was very cluttered and it didn't do a feature I liked with SGP. I prefer the SGP layout where everything necessary is available on a relatively small screen area.

I first started out using APT and have kept up the yearly payments as it costs very little. 🙂 SGP's framing wizard was the clincher at the time for swapping to SGP

I tried Ekos KStars, installing Ubuntu on the mount's mini PC, and it all worked fine controlled from my main PC, apart from refusing to recognise the Atik Camera or filter wheel, After a day or so I gave up and went back to SGP. 🙂 Maybe I've been lucky but I haven't had issues with crashes or lock-ups.

Alan

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SGP is a very usable application that has its strong points and not so great points. But to ask us to pay more than we currently have is a bit rich without some assurance of future benefits within the subscription model future.  It seems that we are asked to pay more for what we already have, the roll out of this change has been very poor in selling any benefits, so one can only assume it is more of the same. No you can’t have multi camera working because not enough users want it?

 

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2 minutes ago, Xsubmariner said:

SGP is a very usable application that has its strong points and not so great points. But to ask us to pay more than we currently have is a bit rich without some assurance of future benefits within the subscription model future.  It seems that we are asked to pay more for what we already have, the roll out of this change has been very poor in selling any benefits, so one can only assume it is more of the same. No you can’t have multi camera working because not enough users want it?

 

There's been a post on the Sgpro forum about this. Someone who only bought Sgpro 10 months ago was asking about the remaining two months of updates promised when he bought it. Jared answered saying the subscription wouldn't be necessary until v4 was released. Its in the support thread under licensing issues, I think. To get future updates you have to download the 3.2 version though as 3.1 won't show any more updates.

I'm in the same situation. I therefore won't be subscribing at present. 

It wasn't clear in the email sent to all owners.  I started the thread and had a couple of fairly prompt replies given the time difference.

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