The Mexile Media Player

Once upon a time, in what seems another life, I owned a Panasonic television. It was a beautiful set, with a 28″ screen and generously thick stretched of wooden trim. It was a rich, glossy wood that wouldn’t have looked out of place across the dashboard of a Jaguar car. It looked just the part in my room, with it’s Mexicanesque blue and terracotta paintwork. But, sadly, after just three years it had to go. I gave it to my parents, who continued to put it to good use for another five or six years themselves, before taking it to television heaven (aka ‘the dump’) just a couple of years ago.

That television had to go for one simple reason. It wasn’t widescreen. And in 2003, widescreen became a must have. I didn’t want to get left behind. So the Panny went downstairs, replaced by Sony’s latest and greatest widescreen television.  I loved that television too. So much so that, when I left the UK for good in May 2005, it was one of the few things I didn’t sell. And I sold a lot. Pretty much everything I owned. My motorbike. My computer. My two or three hundred strong DVD collection – bar a half dozen classics that I couldn’t quite bring myself to get rid of. My CD collection. After ripping it to digital format, of course. Tut tut.

In the end, I kept just three items. They’re all within eyeshot of me now. A very expensive dedicated photo printer, which is now used only for printing bus tickets, but can still churn out a snapshot as good as any printer on sale today. My Technics stereo system, which remains in perfect working order. And my Sony television. Which was state of the art when I left. And positively antique by the time I returned last February. It’s almost as deep as it is wide.

But it still works just fine. I’ve no intention of replacing it. I can’t take a telly with me back to Mexico, so such expenditure would be frivolous and short sighted. I have a Freeview box plugged into it, so I fully equipped for digital broadcasting. But I wanted a little bit more from it. So yesterday, as a special treat to myself – because I do like treats – I bought a Sony Media Player. It’s got WiFi built in, and gives me access to YouTube, BBC iPlayer and Lovefilm, amongst many other available media options. Some of which are good for occasional use. Many of which I’ll never touch.

It also has a USB connection, so I can watch, look at or listen to films, photos and music on my thumb drive. And it’s so tiny, so I have it rested discreetly on top of the television. Best of all, unlike many electrical devices,  it’ll happily play with the voltages of the UK and Mexico, so I can take it with me when I return the the Distrito Federal. And me and Paola will be able to continue our evening ritual of curling up in bed and going through old episodes of Paddingtom Bear on YouTube. She’s quite fallen in love with dear old Paddington. He is, she has declared, the very epitome of innocence and Englishness. And yet she loves him still.

So far, I’m very happy with my new box of electronic goodness. I can see a couple of areas where it could be improved. An S Video cable socket would be a nice addition to the RCA sockets and HDMI options. And whilst the remote control is very slick and easy to use, a slide out keyboard would make searching through YouTube videos all the easier. But seeing as I can, in theory at least, download an app to turn my android phone into a remote, with a keyboard, I can let the latter omission slide.

One thing about the Sony media player that I have really enjoyed so far is watching my own videos, the ones I’ve added to my blog posts for years and years, on a nice big screen. Some of them are actually quite good. All things, including my lack of videography talent, considered. Some are dreadful. Two things are for sure though. My enthusiasm for recording video has been rekindled. The way I shoot videos has been given a new perspective – I’ll shoot for the big screen from now on. And my love affair with Vimeo is over. My sub ran out earlier in the year. It’s a great service, and I love the platform. But even if I could afford the $60 renewal fee, I’m not paying out money to upload to a service I can’t watch on the big telly.


7 thoughts on “The Mexile Media Player

  1. HI Gary!
    We pretty much did the same thing. Moved a perfectly good colour TV into the bedroom and bought a 37″ LG wide screen TV. After three years it developed a hum. I watch very little TV so I don’t care and my wife just lives with it. We were told some hum in as little as 6 months, some never hum. Whatever the case too bad for you. No warranty.
    Just got back from Mexico a couple of weeks ago. Thought of you several times while I was there. I can see you returning.
    How is your camera? Still the Olympus E-pl1? I’ve kind of given up on waiting for a pro M4/3’s camera from Olympus. Given their financial problems I’m not sure if I want to get into M4/3’s as all although their new 12mm and 45mm primes look great. Time will tell. I am thinking of selling my recumbent bicycle and getting a different bicycle.
    Still recovering from my accident. It’s been the most difficult year I’ve lived. I’m slowly getting better. Good to chat Gary.


    • A lot of the flat screen tellys seem to develop a hum judging by the reviews on Amazon. Doesn’t seem to matter much which brand you buy.

      I’ve still got the Olympus and still very happy with it. I still look at new compacts from time to time (Sony HX100 and HX9, Fuji XS1 in particular) and am tempted. But the best route for me to go down, when I have some spare cash, is a bigger lens for the E-PL1. And a faster prime.

      Sorry to hear you’ve had such a tough time amigo – from what you’ve mentioned previously it really doesn’t sound like it’s been an easier year. Glad to hear you’re feeling better though. It won’t be long till 2012 now…


  2. Oh I forgot to mention. Love your picture of I assume The Red Arrows. Great “lined” effect. Was that done by the camera or p.s.? Why did you change to Pilcrow with it’s smaller pics? I do like your headings change every time you refresh the page.
    I just lost interest with the blog. I think the concussion and depression have a lot to do with it. Things should get better.


    • I took that photo of the Red Arrows just a few moments before one of them crashed. Which was sad. They had another accident just a few days ago, killing a second pilot – the ejector seat went off while the pilot was preparing the plane for a flight.

      I changed to Pilcrow because I just liked the layout. But the images are rather small, I agree. Especially on a larger screen. I check out new themes as they are released on WordPress, so I may change again.


  3. Kim G says:

    Hola Gary!

    I can identify with the “obsolete TV thing.” In 2003 or 2004 I decided to get a “Hi-def” TV. After much research, I ended up with the latest and greatest Samsung DLP, 44″ TV. After calibrating the colour, everything was perfect. It has a fabulous picture, and it’s very sharp. It’s only fault is that it’s not all that bright, which is fine by me since I tend to watch mostly at night anyway.

    But the darn thing is big (though not heavy) and now completely obsolete. I bought a digital broadcast converter a few years ago when they changed the broadcast standard, but truly don’t watch much broadcast, mostly DVDs. I kind of hanker after a new, brighter flat-screen, but can’t bring myself to pitch the old set, which cost a pretty penny, and is now likely close to worthless.

    Oh, and it’ll last me the rest of my life since I run it at the most about 3 hours per week.

    Sigh… that’s the nature of electronics, isn’t it?


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we tend to prefer to buy things that are already obsolete. Then we can just think of them as charming.


    • I once considered a DLP. But I didn’t have a penny pretty enough, at the time.

      All you need to do, Kim, is plug in a Betamax and Pioneer Laser Disc players and tell people you are a ‘purist’. Make sure a vinyl record player and Mk2 Apple are visible in the same room, just to finish the effect.


  4. Pingback: The Google Revolution | The Mexile

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