Hard to keep up with tech advances

For you “24″ fans, above is “24: The Unaired 1994 Pilot” from CollegeHumor.com.

Traci Rylands remembers the first time she saw “Mystery Science Theater 3000” in the 1990s — and was hooked.

“I had to depend on when it came on TV,” she said. “When I saw you could buy it on tapes, I thought, ‘Whoo-hoo!’”

The Tucker resident built up a collection of MST3K store-bought VHS tapes, plus additional episodes recorded straight from TV. Now Rylands, 44, is considering rebuying all the episodes on DVD — or possibly digitally — along with her movies that still survive in the older format.

“Some things you cannot get on DVD, that they didn’t bother to make the DVD of,” she said. “So I do hold on to those. I still have the tape from my sister’s wedding and the things that you made, that your parents filmed, when you were young. And I still haven’t converted those because it can be expensive.”

Music formats have similarly evolved, from vinyl records and eight-track and cassette tapes, to CDs and then MP3s.

The latest way to store your media is via “cloud” technology — available from Apple, Amazon, Google and others — by uploading music, movies and other files to a system of servers.

A sure sign of the cloud’s acceptance is Wal-Mart last week unveiling its new “Disc to Digital” program, powered by video streaming company Vudu. You can upload any DVD movie you purchase, or have previously purchased, for $2 a pop ($5 if you want to upgrade to a high-def version).

With server storage, you can access your media from any location on any device at any time. Plus, if your computer, smartphone or tablet breaks or is lost, you won’t have to worry about replacing your lifelong media collection.

But any tech upgrade prompts us to ask: Do I hold on to my older, clunkier version I’ve already paid for? Or do I convert to a new, more-seamless media experience?

“I can’t keep up anymore,” Rylands said. “We just switched over from VHS to DVD, and now we’re going to dump DVD. It gets frustrating because it’s a balancing act, because you say to yourself, ‘Do I want to shell out the dough for this, or is it going to stick around?’ ”

On the other hand, vinyl records were never fully phased out as people had expected after cassettes and CDs were introduced. In fact, vinyl remains revered as the best quality of sound you can find in the recording world.

Sooner or later, most of us will embrace, and invest money in, innovations as they come our way. When you should update your media is a matter of personal preference, budget and tech savvy.

“You like to know that technology’s moving ahead, and you’ve got better functionality, better accessibility,” Rylands said. “But then you’ve got the minus of, ‘Well, gotta chunk what I got. There goes that money.’”

How difficult is it to keep up with new technology? How quickly do you change your media to a new format?

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

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3 comments Add your comment


April 24th, 2012
7:14 am

“Just switched from vhs to dvd”. That’s not ‘keeping up with technology’ that’s well…dragged kicking and screaming into the 1990’s. This article is embarrassing.


April 24th, 2012
7:58 am

Stating the obvious here…..why didn’t she buy a vhs to dvd converter and burn dvds instead of repurchasing all of those shows/films? Then she just has to upload the dvds to the cloud……

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