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I've Still Got Two Dead VCRs

29 Sep, 2003 By: Stephanie Prange

For anyone who missed last week's column (I can't imagine who would), I mentioned that both of our VCRs are broken, and I can't decide what type of hardware to replace them with.

This weekend we went to Wal-Mart, and I saw a VCR/DVD combo player – a likely replacement –- for only about $100. I almost purchased it. I say almost because I thought of another wrinkle. My husband would really like a PlayStation 2, a piece of hardware that is coming down in price and plays both games and DVDs. Why would we need another DVD player if we eventually got a PS2? I find it practically inconceivable that we would need four DVD players.

We could buy a PS2 and a cheap VCR – say about $40 – and get more bang for our hardware space.

So did we buy anything? No. I'm the type that can always find a reason to wait. I'm the classic late adopter –- always looking for a better option or a better price. Mostly, though, I think I'm looking for an all-in-one device that hasn't been invented yet; that convergence box that plays what I want, when I want, without taking up much space. That's why I'm so interested in those flat TVs that hang like picture frames.

While game fans may find other reasons, I think one of the downfalls of the Nintendo GameCube is its inability to play DVDs. Even at the new $99 price ($80 below PlayStation 2 and Xbox) it doesn't offer the same value as competing consoles that can play DVDs as well.

While electronics geeks may salivate over the myriad digital devices on the market, piling box upon box with cords hanging down like snakes, I'd really prefer something simple, elegant and utilitarian in my hardware –- like the classic black dress, a box that can go anywhere and fit in.

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