6. Building a Media Center System
We admit it. We’re audio/video Luddites. When the receiver in our 15-year-old home audio system failed a few years ago, we didn’t bother to replace it. We have a Panasonic 27” analog television, basic $10/month analog cable TV service with only the broadcast channels, and no satellite receiver.
We rent movies and TV series from Netflix, borrow them from the public library or friends, or buy the DVD sets. (As we write this, we’ve just gotten around to renting The Sopranos. It’s new to us.…) We sometimes watch local TV news, sports, and weather in real time, but that’s about it. We’ve even given up watching PBS because of the intrusive begging and increasingly common commercials.
If there’s something we really want to see, we usually just buy the DVD set or wait until it’s available from Netflix. A few times a year, when we don’t want to wait for the DVD release, we record the program on our DVD recorder. The last time we watched a prime-time network television episode live was sometime in the 20th century. We’ve never bothered watching TV online, because the programs available on Hulu and the network websites contain embedded commercials that can’t be skipped. If we can’t watch something without commercials, we simply refuse to watch it.
One problem with depending on DVDs is that DVD releases are unpredictable. For example, we rented and watched season 1 of Crossing Jordan soon after the DVD set was released in 2008. Alas, we then learned ...