You’ve got to hand it to Walmart. First, they make a zillion dollars selling DVD and Blu-ray discs to everyone. Now, they’re set to make another zillion dollars so you don’t have to actually use the discs. Brilliant, simply brilliant.
Back in the Stone Age of Digital Audio (circa 1990), discerning audiophiles paid big bucks for elegant-looking CD players. Today the emphasis is on performance rather than looks. Most DVD players are visually boring, and their lack of heft hardly inspires confidence. Sometimes I yearn for the days when a player's quality could literally be weighed.
A post on the Olive One by my colleague Al Griffin got me to thinking. For a modest dollar sum, you can own a cool audio component with audiophile-quality specifications. But here’s the paradox: if it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, can audio gear really have audiophile cache?
Beginning as barely a trickle, it is now becoming a steady stream as more and more "universal" optical-disc players reach store shelves. The latest models can play DVD-Video discs (and home-burned DVD-R/RWs recorded in the DVD-Video format), DVD-Audio discs, CDs (including CD-R/RW discs and those with MP3 files), and Super Audio CDs.
Oh, boy. Another tremendous battle is brewing. It will be the mother of all battles - as well as the father, the son, and the daughter. More than likely, it will be the family pet of all battles, too. It's nothing less than warfare for world domination. Once and for all, it will settle the question: Who makes the coolest toys?
There is probably more diversity in the audio/video market than in the Amazon rainforest. Dealer's shelves (and Amazon.com's Web pages) are filled with a seemingly endless variety of DVD players, A/V receivers, speakers, and complete home theater systems.
I always enjoy logging onto The Onion. Its faux news stories are wicked funny. Their specialty is satirical stories that seem vaguely plausible, but of course are completely bogus. Occasionally, people actually believe Onion stories. Recent Onion tweets reported that armed Congressmen were taking schoolchildren hostage and demanding $12 trillion in cash.