Electronics going belly-up

My receiver/amplifier has been acting strange for the last few months.  Sometimes, if it’s been on for awhile, the sound just cuts out completely and we have to turn it off and then back on in order to fix the problem.  Sometimes, it seems like the volume just randomly changes, though I can’t tell if that problem is related to the receiver or the crappiness of MIT cable (which has been out all week!).  So, a replacement is in our future but I’ve been holding off because once I graduate we’ll have more money with which to buy a proper A/V setup and I don’t want to buy something now only to find that it won’t work with the other components we plan to upgrade.

To exacerbate our A/V woes, this morning I awoke to the annoying news that our DVD player wasn’t working.  Heather thought she had just pressed some button or something and that maybe I could fix it easily.  I fiddled with it for awhile and I’m now pretty sure that it’s busted.  Bear in mind, this isn’t some cheap $50 no-name DVD player.  This is a $200+ Sony 5-disc changer.  We got it in 2003 as an anniversary present, so I suppose it’s had a good run.  It replaced a Sony 5-disc CD changer which had gone belly-up for the 2nd time (my parents had paid for repairs on it after it died the first time).  Looking back, I think my CD player had an initial life of about 5 years, which was stretched another 2-3 years with the repair.  So, maybe 5 years is a reasonable life expectancy for one of these things.  I don’t know.

Anyway, I looked into getting it repaired.  Rather than having me bring it in somewhere to get a quote, they told me I could just get a replacement.  I give them my busted one and they give me a new or refurbished one and it costs me about $105.  That seemed reasonable.  Then I decided to look at what that $105 would buy me if I bought new.  It turns out that Sony has a single disc HD (1080p) upconverting DVD player with component and HDMI outputs for $80 or a 1080p upconverting 5-disc changer (also with component and HDMI outs) for $130.  So, for $25 less than the replacement cost, I can get a single-disc upconverting player and for $25 over the replacement cost, I can get an upconverting 5-disc changer with HD outs.  I’m pretty sure I’m not going to pay for the replacement.  I just have to decide if it’s worth $50 to get the 5-disc changer.  In any case, I hate the idea of this thing just going into a landfill.  So, I may see if I can just give it back to Sony so they can refurbish it and give it to someone else.  If they won’t take it, I’ll try to give it away at MIT.  Perhaps someone here can fix it, or, failing that, use some of the components that still work for some awesome project that may get them arrested at gunpoint at the airport.

5 Responses to “Electronics going belly-up”

  1. 1 Jeff H.
    June 28, 2008 at 1:29 am

    Nice – I would go with the upconverting dvd player. I got almost that exact same one you mentioned last fall for around the same price, and I’m pretty sure the dvd’s do get upconverted and look “near-HD” on my tv. In fact, mine looks exactly the same, but the model # is slightly different. Plus, considering how expensive blu-ray dvd’s are, not to mention the players, and the fact that general rental “things”/places like redbox carry normal dvd’s, I think the upconversion is a pretty good investment, especially if you own some dvd’s to watch.

    I hope to call y’all soon to chat!!! :)

  2. June 28, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Yeah, it’s been a while since repair has been a cost-effective option for consumer electronics. Things just aren’t designed to be repaired.

  3. 3 Colin
    June 30, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    I ended up buying a Sony single-disc non-upconverting DVD player for $50 at Best Buy. This is really a stop-gap measure until I graduate. Once that happens, I expect that I’ll gradually add decent A/V components to our living room bit by bit. This will involve a new TV, a new receiver, and probably a Blu-Ray player or some kind of video download box. If I do decide to get a Blu-Ray player, I’ll probably get a PlayStation 3, which, right now, is the same price as the cheapest Blu-Ray player but does much much more. We’ll see.

  4. 4 Jeff H.
    July 1, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Nice. Btw, if you’re looking for some cheap HDMI cables, check out http://www.firefold.com. I bought a couple HDMI cables for like $3-4 each a while ago when they had some “hotcakes” deal or whatever. Certainly beats paying $50 or whatever for “high quality” Monster cables from best buy and whatnot, especially if you only need the cables to go a short distance, like from some very-close-to-TV device to the TV.

  5. 5 Colin
    July 1, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Yeah, there’s no way I would buy any kind of cables in a brick and mortar store. I’ve bought a few things from GovConnection (6 ft USB extension cable for $2, and 10ft audio/composite video cable for $4). Otherwise, monoprice.com is where it’s at. They have really cheap A/V cables, ethernet cables, etc. I’ve heard lots of good things about them.

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June 2008

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