The Media Dilemma

We’ve all invested in a technology only to have it become obsolete.  We picked Betamax as the video recording format of choice, but we all know that VHS won that battle. There are many examples that illustrate this phenomena: electronic data storage (floppy disks to flash media), pre-recorded videos (Laserdiscs to Blu-Ray), personal video recordings (movie film to digital data files on flash media), music (8 track tapes to MP3 files) and multiple generations of video game formats depending upon the platform.


It used to be when a new record or CD came out by my favorite artist I’d go out to buy it.  Now I have to choose whether or not I want to buy the physical media or just choose to get it delivered direct to my computer.  There are pros and cons to both choices:

  • Pros for buying CDs over MP3s: comes with liner notes, if I decide I no longer want a CD I can swap or sell it and get some value from it, if I lose the device where my songs reside I still have the media which will allow me to replace it at no additional cost, you can sometimes buy them used or swap them to save money, I can easily create MP3 files from CDs
  • Pros for buying MP3s instead: I can buy just the songs I want and not be forced to buy an entire CD, the consumption of resources to produce a MP3 are minimal, you can get an MP3 instantaneously instead of having to go to a store or wait to get it shipped to you, there is no physical storage space required

    8mm cassette

My teenage son has decided he only wants to buy CDs. He gets a lot of enjoyment out of looking at his collection and reading the liner notes for the CDs he buys.  My daughter prefers to buy MP3s directly on her iPod touch, however when her first Touch was stolen she lost a lot of the songs she had bought.  Her brother has now convinced her she needs to buy CDs like him.
For now I’m content to stick with buying CDs.

8 track tape

My bigger dilemma is what to do about pre-recorded movies.  We bought a Blu-ray player last year but that was so I could use it for watching Netflix streaming.  When VHS was king, we had hundreds of movies.  I started to replace that video tape collection with DVDs only to have the Blu-ray standard usurp it.

I’ve decided not to jump whole hog on the Blu-ray bandwagon. For one, we watch movies less than we ever did.  Replacing those movies costs a lot of money. While DVDs/Blu-ray discs take up less space than VHS cassettes, they still consume space, adding to the clutter. Also, movies are easier to come by with the advent of video streaming.  I still have lots of DVD players in my house I don’t want to have to replace. Lastly, whose to say how long Blu-ray will stick around?  Given all these reasons, I’m getting very picky about which movies I buy these day, especially in Blu-ray format.

What approach are you taking when it comes to music and movies?

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