Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Your Entertainment Dollars

James Poniewozik of Time magazine, in their TV blog Tuned In, has an interesting post up today about how the cost of being entertained has skyrocketed in recent years. The post was spurred by a piece in The New York Times warning us that the days of the old-fashioned tube TV may be les splentiful than we think. Poniewozik goes on to describe how an entertainment budget that years ago only needed to support a small TV, a record player, and the occasional movie now has greatly expanded to support a cable bill, DVD rentals, DVDS, stereos, iPods, etc., etc. The post got me to thinking - how badly (or not) have I succumbed to the need for more, more, more when it comes to entertainment options?

We have a 32-inch in the basement family room, a 29-inch in the smaller main floor den, and a 25-inch in the bedroom. All tubes, no plasmas, LCDs, or others. Unfortunately, the price of flatscreens still has a lot of dropping to do before we go that route. Each TV is hooked up to a DVD player - the basement one has a cheap $30 model and the bedroom has our a five-year old first DVD player. The den has a DVR - not a TiVo, but a Panasonic DVR with DVD recorder, bought on clearance at "only" $200 bucks or so. This is a newer toy, and a favorite--although, befiting the price paid, it's a buggy, crash-prone thing that loses the listings (and programmed shows-to-be-recorded) once every ten weeks or so so. The bedroom and den TVs are also hooked up to old, still working fine, VCRs as well. We rarely buy DVDs but do spring for the Blockbuster Netflix-clone account.

Conspicuous consumption grade: C. No flat-screens and a cheap, buggy TiFaux?

My first-ever shelf system, a going-off-to-college gift from my parents, hides behind a chair in our living room. There's an iPod clock radio in the kitchen, and a surround-sound system with 5-CD changer hooked up to teh basement TV and DVD. It's not a true 5.1 system, though, as neither the DVD player or stereo possesses the necessary decoder. I do have a 60-gig iPod with color screen (no video though), but that was a trade-in from a iPod wannabee (NOMAD Jukebox) that served me for two years, until right before the replacement plan was up. I wouldn't have bought the iPod cold. I very rarely buy CDs, and turn to the library system for much of my musical curiosity.

Conspicuous consumption grade: C+. Justifications aside, I do have an iPod. But, again, no fancy stero to speak of.

Library, library, library. I go to bookstores often, but nine times out of ten leave empty-handed. There

A four-year old Sony VAIO that will probably last several more years--the first computer we bought (the VAIO's predecessor was a hand-me down). Cheap laser printer. We do, with a wince, pony up for cable Internet access though.

Conspicuous consumption grade: C.

A four or five year old Olympic digital, 3.1 megapixels. A three-or-four-year old Sony camcorder that I've never been able to get to work with the computer.

Conspicuous consumption grade: C.

Cell Phones
The cheapest models we could get when we signed up.

Conspicuous consumption grade: D.

In the end, we're pretty cheap, cable Internet aside, and don't really keep up with the Jones' much at all. Sure, there are things I'd like to spring for, but I'm comfortable with our entertainment budget.

Until Whenever


Roger Owen Green said...

I got you beat: one TV, 19", from 1987, no digital camera, no camcorder, no cell phone. Not that it's a competition.

Tosy And Cosh said...

I envy the lack of a cell phone, that's for sure.