2007-01-23

Two new year presents for myself

Bought two new year presents for myself today: an AV receiver and a DVD recorder with hard disk.

AV receiver - I have been using a Denon AV receiver over the past few years and it served me well. I am not fussy about AV quality and use the receiver to control all my TV/CD/DVD playing. But unfortunately, something happened after we moved to the new house a year and a half ago. It became very hot during usage, to the point that it would automatically switch off as a safety precaution after a couple of hours. It couldn't be switched on again until it cooled down considerably. But of course it took no time to become hot as a stove again.

Since then I have to use the TV on a stand-alone basis, and make sure that I don't listen to CDs or watch DVDs for more than 2-3 hours a day. :-(

Today I finally made up my mind and bought a new Panasonic full-digital receiver. It's too early to say whether it is capable of producing quality audio and video output. The most notable difference between this Panasonic and my old Denon (and most receivers as well) is how light the new gear is. It is no heavier than a DVD player or recorder. Most conventional receivers, however, are extremely heavy, easily weighing 20 kilos or more.

DVD recorder w/HDD - I have never owned any DVD recorders. But I have been debating with myself whether I should get one for recording the late-night football matches, so that I can watch them leisurely the next morning. Until now, I just got up and watched them live, even if they started at 2am, 3am or 4am, and regardless of whether I had to go to work the next morning. I do not watch any match whose result I am already aware of.

But this practice has become increasingly difficult for me. First, I am getting older and I notice it takes increasingly longer time to recover from the lack of sleep. Secondly, I have gradually lost the superhuman capability of sleeping soundly until the kick-off time and got up without the help of the alarm clock. Now it is more common to find myself failing to sleep well before a highly anticipated game (each and every Arsenal game is), and get up well before the kick-off time.

The second use of this new Pioneer 250GB DVD recorder with HDD is to convert my travel camcorder tapes into digital files for easy playback and editing. My laptop is unable to handle such demanding tasks.