Go Gadget Go

I bought a small portable hard drive on Friday. It holds 250GB of information, files, or data. It’s about the size of a deck of cards, black in colour and doesn’t need an external power source. I’m going to fill it with some video files and attach it to a convertor box, which itself is attached to my TV. I don’t have cable these days, so it’s my entertainment, and watching video files is a lot more convenient than mucking around with DVD’s.

I only mention this because it’s one more piece of electronic entertainment gadgetry in my life. I probably have too much, and always have. I know that. But it’s like telling a golf enthusiast she has too many golf clubs. Isn’t one enough?

I wish it didn’t take so long to convert DVD’s into video files on my computer but it does. The upshot is that I can poke the physical DVD into storage, or give it away or whatever I feel like doing, as long as I don’t have to muck with sliding discs in and out of the video player, which is another piece of bulky entertainment equipment in my house.

I’m thinking about all this nonsense today as the Apple iPad launches in Canada. I played with one about a month ago, and it seemed like the gadget that’s been too long in coming yet many say is a transitional device, the thing we’ll use while waiting for the next thing, which is really the thing we’re all meant to get excited about.

I already have a ridiculously large and cumbersome computer in my house that most days serves as a tool for checking email and Facebook, importing songs into iTunes, downloading video, or making Skype calls.

I’ve always questioned if I needed something this large in my life, and the iPad confirms I haven’t.

Some do, I will grant you, but most people don’t require bloody big computers in their homes. For years we got by with typewriters, and computers shouldn’t have been any larger than that. TV’s, on the other hand, I’m fine with being as large as your room can reasonably and fashionably tolerate.

Initally, home computers hooked up to your TV. Remember Atari game systems or the Commodore 64? But as the needs of one conflicted with the practicality of the other, computers were given their own screens. So, for the better part of 25 years, computers and the TV haven’t seen much reason to co-mingle.

That’s all changing.

You’ve no doubt noticed Blu-Ray discs in the shops. Blu-Ray players are coming down in price and even the discs themselves are approaching a reasonable rate. However, it seems Blu-Ray is itself a bridging technology.

In an era when 250GB of storage can be slipped into a metal box the size of a pack of Bicycles, why don’t TV’s come standard with hard drives and wireless capability? All these technologies exist. Combining them seems overdue.

Ok, so in all it’s frivolity, here’s what I want. A TV with a 2TB hard drive, wireless connection and the ability for me to record TV, or transfer video files to it. I’m sure that will cost more than the average set with none of these functions, but given how over priced some TV’s are, I still want to know where is this set? Why am I still buying a PVR, DVD player, wireless router, hard drive converter, hard drive and television, all separately? Why do 3-D televisions exist before this does?

I know that consumerism is not the most laudable of ambitions but if we’re going to have these things in our lives, why not give us choice? Supposedly that’s what the marketplace is all about isn’t it? Choice? Where’s my choice?

There are greater injustices for this planet to sort out, but given the time, transport and resources that go into making and marketing these individual gadgets, wouldn’t we be doing the world a favour by smooshing some things together? Can anyone imagine a tape deck without a radio built in? What happened to turntables for records being built into the cabinet with the floor model TV?

Surely, a TV with a built in recorder, at minimum can be sorted out with quality, in 2010?

I’m on hiatus from technology now. Nothing more for me for quite a while. I’m saving my pennies (who am I kidding? Dollars) for my mythical unicorn-like device. Can someone Pioneer a Song that will make me go “Ya, Ma! Ha! I told you they would build it, denon I? Don’t Pan a sonic experience like this.”