Last week Jayne treated me to some new toys as a 50th birthday present.
She said she wanted to get me something special, but I really couldn’t think of anything I wanted. It isn’t that I have everything, just that I have everything I want. She suggested a new PC that I wouldn’t complain about all the time, but I kind of like complaining. iPads weren’t even mentioned. I think she knows how indifferent I am to them.
Then I remembered that my old surround amp effectively packed up a couple of years ago…I had sort of got used to only having the soundtrack of films come through the TV’s speakers, but part of me must have missed the surround sound – the part of me that bothered to wire the thing up even though I knew sound kept cutting out of alternate channels all the time. Then I remembered what it was like when I first bought the thing more than 10 years ago and kept watching the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan over and over again because of all the explosions all around the room.
I could have got the old Yamaha amp fixed but really it was a bit of a pain because it pre-dated HDMI so I had loads of cables going into it which could now be replaced with one per device. And that was just for audio. I never bothered trying to set it up to switch video too.
Anyway, the other day I got home from work to find a huge pile of Richer Sounds boxes and now have a 7.1 amp with new surround speakers (my old sub-woofer packed up even before the amp did) and a Blu-Ray player. I am a bit of a late adopter with many things and had never bothered with Blu-Ray before, but now I have almost caught up with the modern world – though it is all 2D. I am not particularly bothered about 3D.
Everything is now routed through the amplifier, which is pretty neat, but it does mean that the living room now has more remote controls than we have hands to use them. It does not help that I kept my old DVD player and wired that up too, because it is multi-standard and will play SACD and DVD-A discs, so I can again enjoy Tubular Bells, Dark Side of the Moon and Trick of the Tail in 5.1 sound. And Gary Numan.
I guess the next step is to bung my spare wifi dongle into the Blu-Ray player to see if I can use all the internet features of it, but there is no rush. I take the view that I have a PC so why would I watch YouTube videos on the TV.
It is all a bit ridiculous really. The amp’s remote control has 50 buttons on it. I only use 6 of them. Mind you, I haven’t read the manual yet. I think I can set it up to control the Blu-Ray player too, in which case I’ll then be down to four remotes. It might even be possible to get it to control the TV I only need the TV remote to turn it on and off. It is probably just as well that I retured the VCR. I did connect it up at first but banished it when it destroyed my Delicate Sound of Thunder tape.
It is still lurking though, ready to be connected if needed because, despite everything, I’m still clinging to my old analogue ways.