At the risk of letting the whole world know I'm an utter Luddite cheapskate, I will open the kimono on the state of my digital home. Hopefully, this will result in a refreshing discussion among Technorati about the state of consumer electronics, giving me some options for a long overdue upgrade.
My CD/DVD/FM tuner broke recently. The very same day my PC speakers gave up the ghost.
On my way down to the local electronics store, I decided maybe it was time to upgrade my TV -- a classic 25-inch CRT. After all, my 23-year-old son bought his first flat-panel TV last year for a whopping $350 in spare change from his summer job. Maybe I could make the big shift to LCD, too.
I'm not poor. I love movies, and I live for music. I just don't ever seem to get around to the latest in home entertainment until everyone else is seven or twelve generations ahead of me.
But how do I bridge the gap now as wide as the Grand Canyon between my still-good speakers and MP3 player from yesteryear, and today's A/V gear?
The first big shocker: No one puts FM tuners into much of anything anymore except boom boxes and alarm clocks. How do I get my NPR fix in the living room and kitchen?
Even my iPhone (a company-issued 3GS from the bygone days of 2010) doesn't have an FM tuner. I suspect this was Steve Jobs' concession to the music moguls on Hollywood. People will buy tons of 99-cent songs on iTunes to make up for the fact they can't listen to free radio.
Indeed, Apple just recently entered the fray with its competitors such as Pandora and Spotify by launching iRadio, its very first streaming service. That's pretty interesting trailing-edge behavior from the company that’s supposed to be the digital media trend setter.
There's a ton of digital radio out on the Net. All that wonderful free music is way too hard to get to these days from the living room and the mobile device.
I don't get why people don't throw an FM tuner into everything. There are a million and one Bluetooth speakers, docks, TV, and music gizmos with WiFi and speakers that will blow your ears off. None of them build in a $2 radio. Go figure.
Today, my only gadget with an FM tuner is my SanDisk Clip MP3 player. I love the clip because it's small, light -- and has a clip. It's perfect for music while jogging and biking.
But the Clip's FM tuner stinks. Whoever built the antenna, if it even has an antenna, ought to be shot. It picks up next to nothing, certainly not my local NPR station.
By the way, I think the SanDisk Clip is on end-of-life. Can someone tell me why such a useful device does not get more support? Not only should SanDisk be making it, others should too. It's an amazingly useful, light, ultra low power and cheap MP3 player -- beats the pants off an iPod.