Acronym Online Update (04/09/07)

Note: The April 2007 print edition of The Acronym is now online. Please see the previous post dated 04/01/07. Feel free to share this website, http://theacronym.com, with your loved ones, friends , and colleagues. Thanks for your support!
April 9, 2007

Today’s Topic: BUILDING YOUR MOVIE & MUSIC COLLECTION

Hey, we all need time to entertain our eyes and ears. So how can we do it without breaking the bank?

I don’t know if you’re like me, but if I only catch part of a good movie on TV or catch the whole film, I’m the type who wants to buy it on DVD so I can watch it again and share it with others. I also love listening to many different genres of music and if I hear a song I like, I usually buy it that song from the iTunes Music or order the CD album if there are other tracks that I like.

A Sampling Of Your Options:

1) Support a local business and buy your entertainment media from CDUniverse.com. CD Universe is located right in Wallingford, CT. All products ship from that location. They are online and do not have a walk-in store. My cousin has bought $1000’s worth of CD’s from them and has been very satisfied. They do provide excellent phone and e-mail based customer service. They have competitive prices on CD’s, DVD’s, and video games. Pay special attention to the unique boxed CD sets that they carry and hard to find albums. If you are into legends of yesterday, such as, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett (aka. Mr. Benedetto), or Jo Stafford – you will be buying from CDUniverse.com frequently!!!

2) BMG Music Club. People who are 40 years and older may remember this club from their youth as the “RCA Music Club” (back in the days of 45’s and 78’s). Sony BMG is now one of the largest labels in the industry today, representing a significant percentage of today’s commercial recording artists. Yes, there may be some customer service horror stories you’ve heard in the past. They are known for that 12 CDs for the price of 1 offer, but their depth as a music service goes way beyond gimmicks. I have been a “member” for about 2 years now and delight in the value that I’ve gotten out of it. One of the marvelous aspects of the BMG Music Club these days is that you can now do all of your business online. Initially, I believe they let you order 6 or 7 CDs for FREE (you pay shipping only). Shipping is about $2.79 per CD. The retail price of a CD album these days is in the $15 to $20 range. You have the option of paying for your order at checkout (recommended) or getting a bill in the mail. You can order 4 more CDs, FREE at any time, and are simply required to only buy one CD at full retail ($15 or more) within 12 months to fulfill your membership commitment. When all is said an done, the price of your CDs averages out to about $7 and after you have satisfied the initial requirements, they usually give you a permanent offer of unlimited $6.99 CDs and free shipping if you buy 4 at a time. This is hard to beat.

3) Amazon.com has decent pricing on CDs and DVDs and they offer free shipping on orders over $25.

4) iTunes Music Store is still a great option for iPod owners and non-iPod owners alike. 99 cents per song, discounted full albums, $1.99 episodes of TV shows, and a select # of movies available from $9.99 and up. Even for those of you who do not tote an iPod with you everywhere, songs and albums can easily be burned onto CD for sharing or playing with your car or home audio system.

5) Tivo/DVR. I’ve never personally used Tivo, but I am eager to try one out sometime, so I can do a full length article on them. Basically, Tivo is the leading brand of DVR (digital video recorder) and the names Tivo and DVR have become synonymous. A DVR is basically a box with a large hard drive with software on it and remote. You would record off of your DVR like you used to do off of a VCR before you threw it out the window because it frustrated you to no end. People who have Tivo swear buy it. They say it is so simple to use and takes TV to a new realm. Tivo struggled along for a couple of years but they won a large legal battle over DISH Network last year who illegally copied their DVR technology. They now have a Series 3 DVR box that will record off of High Definition (HD) or standard cable and serve as your digital cable box. Pricing is $12.95 per month with 3 year contract or possibly less if you pre-pay. There is one catch however, the series 3 Tivo is $799.99 for the box alone. Currently, this is the only digital cable box, widely available, that you can buy on your own. Most people rent theirs from the cable company at a rate of $6 to $20 a month depending if you have HD and DVR options. Some people have legitimately purchased the Motorola or Scientific Atlanta (for example) boxes that their cable co. offers because they didn’t want to rent it. Typically they paid $300 to $600 for it. $799 is a lot of money for a home entertainment device. If you only subscribe to standard cable (without a digital package) there is a standard series 2 Tivo that is under $100 and offers the same capabilities without the cable box technology. If you like to record your favorite programs and want your hand held all the way, this may be the way to go. The monthly pricing for this is the same. There are also stand alone DVR’s that do not come with a subscription. I do not know what companies make these models, but I am going to investigate this for you.
Your Computer Evangelist,

Kevin