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.