Death by 1000 Gizmos.

Posted by Tom Hannaher , Monday, October 22, 2012

My wife and I recently moved to a rather small house, and made a commitment to simplicity. With the philosophy of “when in doubt, leave it out,” we decided to try living without a TV set (home theater heresy!). Instead we have a 27” computer monitor that also doubles as our home entertainment system.  Simple, right?
Well, maybe not. The number of little tiny gizmos necessary to make this work is mind-boggling…and extremely messy. To get cable TV and internet required FOUR gizmos! (Cable box, modem, wireless router, wireless router range extender.) Then there’s the little Roku streamer – elegant and cool, but another box with another set of wires. A mini Bluray player from Sony. A Western Digital portable hard drive. And – because the Samsung monitor has only one HDMI input – a 3-position HDMI switchbox. The stack of mini gizmos on my desk is just silly. But the pile of wires in back of it is ridiculous. I had to buy a reed screen to cover them all up!
I’m a big believer in the component-style approach to equipment, because it allows you to update one element of your system without having to replace everything. But this has gone a bit too far. Samsung – please put more HDMI inputs in your computer monitors.  Comcast – how about ONE gizmo that contains cable box, modem and wireless router (and give it enough range so I don’t need the wireless range extender)?
Unrepentant sales pitch: the ZVOX surround sound system in this setup has one box and one connecting wire vs. an industry standard of of six connecting wires.


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