Predicting The Curves
I’m wondering whether it’s worth it to stay behind the trailing edge of adopting Blu-ray. I imagine that using this technology is very much a personal decision and depends on a lot of factors, but I suspect that there’s also a demographic sweet spot that Blu-ray adopters are living in, and I think it’s mainly a financial thing (i.e. having a lot of disposable income not destined for other forms of entertainment).
Though I am typically defined as a “techie” the hardware I use for A/V is woefully primitive. My computer monitor is way more advanced than my TV (a roughly nine year old 32″ Panasonic tube which still works wonderfully well); I no longer have a DVR and only use cable for Internet access, I use a PS2 for a DVD player, and my DVD collection is quite small – mainly because I only believe in purchasing DVDs that I can watch over and over again. I once had a stereo and speaker set, but found that I never really used it much, so I guess I’m not really an audiophile.
Anyhow, when I think about going Blu-ray, the following confronts me: I have to create a whole new ecosystem. I’ll really need to get an HDTV, and I’ll have to get a Blu-ray player. It would also make sense to get a nice little sound system, even a cheapo CostCo one. All of that will probably be around $3500 after taxes, I’m sure. When faced with this up front investment and set up effort, I balk a bit. I pause and consider how much time I really spend in front of a television. I have no desire to buy Blu-ray versions of the DVDs I already own, if versions of them even exist, so what would all that new hardware get me? I can always set up Netflix to deliver me Blu-ray disc rentals, but how extensive is the Blu-ray catalog really; do the movies I want to see even exist on Blu-ray? Is having a home theater really important to me at all? I think the answer is “not really” and I think that’s a function of the fact that I go out more than I stay in.
I am leaning very heavily towards just ignoring Blu-ray altogether, and solely relying on streamed and downloaded HD content (via torrents or Hulu or Netflix or iTunes). It gives Sony less of a foothold in my world, it’s more economically and environmentally friendly (fewer things destined for landfills). I know somewhere down the line I will be getting an HDTV, but it will only happen when my TV dies or when I make another big move to a new residence (it’s way too heavy to move again, too much hassle). Ideally, I would like my next TV to have wireless and Bluetooth built in, and allow me to stream content to it via various sources. I don’t really care about having a gigantic display – maybe it would just make sense for me to get a 30″ Apple Cinema display down the road and just use that for everything? I just wish it were more “television-like” where I could just plug in component cables or s-video and have those things pump a signal into it…