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Ending 2008 on a Positive Note



By Thomas K. Arnold | Posted: December 29, 2008

The year is ending with more uncertainty about our economic future than I ever imagined. And I’m not just talking home entertainment, but everything.


If there’s anything positive to keep us in a celebratory mood when the new year dawns, if there’s any reason to keep the champagne flowing instead of chugging cheap beer, it’s that home entertainment has a historic resilience to economic hard times. I firmly believe any further hits we take won’t be nearly as precipitous as those taken by other industries.


Consider the bargain of buying a DVD or even a Blu-ray Disc. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I saw decent DVDs at Wal-Mart selling for two bucks, and Blu-ray Disc prices have been cascading downward to the point where consumers can now find a tidy selection of good titles on sale for as little as $15. That sure beats the price of a night out on the town, or even a night at the movies, particularly if you happen to have bought a huge new plasma TV just before the economy crashed.


Renting a movie is even cheaper, and thanks to Netflix and those omnipresent kiosks, it’s more convenient than ever. Handing out campaign fliers for my Carlsbad City Council run in October, I spend several Saturdays outside an Albertsons supermarket. The movie kiosk was in constant use and at one point even had a line several people deep.


Home entertainment’s economic advantage, if you will, is that you get a lot of value for a relatively minor amount of money, and honestly I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t appreciate a bargain these days. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is cutting back. I’ve been buying soup, cheese and tortillas and making my own lunch at work instead of stepping out every day. I’ve been handing out DVDs I get for free as Christmas gifts, and instead of joining a gym, I merely added an extra mile to my daily walk and joined a free aerobics class at the office taught by a co-worker.


So as we close the books on 2008, let’s all keep our collective chins up. Despite the much-publicized travails of home entertainment, from slipping DVD sales and a slower-than-expected uptake for Blu-ray Discs to misguided analysts who would have us believe the whole world is moving to digital downloading, we’re still in a pretty good place.
 




User comments

Commented by
Posted on 2008-12-29 17:00:26

Blue Ray is destined for failure despite the industry's position as described on this page. It's not about the delivery method of movies. It's the HD DVR that is killing movies. The local Blockbuster (only rental joint left) is a ghost town. They have rearranged their store to feature Blue Ray in the walk in isle. Much as video star, DVRs killed the motion picture star. Would still consider watching movies, but there are only a half dozen/year that interest me. Point and shoot on a DVR is another movie killer. RIP to the movie industry. They commited suicide by greed. Used to really like Hollywood's product, now it's more bother than it's worth. Certainly not worth investing in new hardware/software.


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