21st Century Entertainment
For several years my home movie watching had been done on either my laptop or on a 28″ Panasonic CRT model dating back to 2001. This particular unit was purchased by my brother and I for my dad’s 50th birthday; some years later he upgraded to a flat-screen TV and gave me the CRT (which replaced the 13″ Sharp I had been relying on since 1994). DVDs were played on a Sony DVD player purchased from Best Buy in December 1999 for $299. The Panasonic VCR has been traded between myself and my dad for some time, and I honestly can’t say how old it is, but the remote looks strikingly like that of the TV, so I’m going to guess another turn-of-the-21st-century product.
Earlier this year I received a free Sony Blu-ray player but lacked the needed digital converter to hook it up to the TV. I also signed up for Netflix this summer and have been anxious to try streaming high-def films to a screen larger than my MacBook. So when Black Friday rolled around, I cashed in a few Best Buy gift cards that had been collecting dust for the past couple years and purchased a 40″ Sony HDTV for under $150. My meager entertainment center has now been upgraded to 21st century standards.
I never utilized the plethora of connections on the back of the DVD player so they won’t be missed. Besides, I mostly rely on its built-in WiFi to access Netflix and Hulu content. The remotes are notably smaller and thinner than their brick ancestors, and after a few weeks of use I have found almost all needed functions can be access on either remote (screen size can only be changed on the TV remote). The TV sits only about a foot off the ground, but I find that’s about the right height for our viewing needs, given our couch-slouching tendencies.
On top of all that, Viet bought a Google Chromecast a few weeks ago and hooked it up to the TV’s USB port. He can now stream music from his phone or his iPad mini directly to the TV. Through his Google Music subscription, I can stream every Mannheim Steamroller X-mas tune throughout the apartment. He also hooked up his portable speaker to the TV, which has remarkably good bass for its size.