Day 169 the one with some rain and some Northern Exposure

2018: Day 169 the one with some rain and some Northern Exposure

Dear Reader,

Today has been a day of rain in Denver. It has been a welcome change in the weather. Being inside tonight has been ok. My adventure into watching Northern Exposure DVDs this summer has officially moved from season one to season two. Overall the show holds up well enough for being a creative output of the early 1990’s. Having to suspend my disbelief to a point in time before smartphones became ubiquitous really dates the show. Technology was not at the center of the particular television based drama. For better or worse the show was primarily driven by interpersonal relationships and commentary. That is probably has pulled me back into watching the episodes this summer. Streaming Northern Exposure is challenging enough so it seemed like a good idea to just order a full set of the season DVDs. Somebody on eBay sold me every season in a nicely shrink wrapped package. The disks were flawless and they have played well enough on my Xbox One S paired with my Sony Bravia television.

At some point, we are going to upgrade to either a 4K short-throw laser based projector or a television. One of the benefits of going to a short-throw project is that when it is not in use we would have no screens larger than a computer monitor in the house. While that might not seem like a victory it really does seem to be on in my mind. Curiously we have tried to limit television watching and at this point we do not even have a cable television subscription. One of the things that I have started doing recently is watching some of the cable news channel shorts on YouTube. We do not have enough bandwidth to stream 4K content on a television or short-throw projector. Our cable subscription has a bandwidth limit and it is draconian enough to limit my usage of 4K on a monthly basis.

One of the other factors that is limiting my ability to get a short-throw projector is price. The one that caught my attention was from Dell. Specifically the Dell Advanced 4K Laser Projector model S718QL which costs about five thousand dollars. Writing the number out makes it feel less daunting. Seeing the $4,999.99 in print just reminds me that is not something I’m going to buy any time soon. My best guess is that by this time next year the price will have come down substantially or competitors will have entered the market. Based on the YouTube review videos I watched it looks like a pretty fantastic piece of technology. A host of projects exist at much lower price points. This one just happened to catch my eye and make me wonder how it worked and what it was truly capable of displaying. Given that my Northern Exposure disks are DVD quality trying to upscale to 4K seems unlikely. Based on a few internet searches it does appear that a Blu-ray version of the show does exist out in the wild.

We still buy physical media. The merits and intrinsic value of my vinyl record collection aside. I still purchase movies when they come out. Based on every indicator I have seen online sales of physical media are diminished. I was looking at Blu-ray sales data for 2018 year to date and the top 10 movies are not over 1,000,000 units. Just the top 5 movies in the list solid more than 1,000,000 units. People are not going to Blockbuster anymore. I guess those Redbox movie rental kiosks are kind of like a very compact Blockbuster. Aside from that interesting observation it is entirely possible that the distribution pattern of movies has fundamentally changed. Back in 2017 the top 17 movies has passed the 1,000,000 unit mark. The year 2016 included 17 movies in that sales category and 2015 had 19. Seriously, I almost started to make a series of infographics. That is probably not needed at this point. I have spent enough of my night wondering about the future of physical media. A lot of folks do not have the bandwidth to stream 4K movies on a regular basis. That probably means that movies with a resolution of 4K and above are easier to access via physical media.

It seemed like a good idea to use a discount code Google provided to buy an audiobook today. I now own the first 4 books in the Dune series by Frank Herbert and can access them from my Google Play Books application. At some point, in what seems like the distant past I read the fourth book in the series. Now that I’m listening to the start of the book tonight I do not entirely remember reading it. My memories of reading those books really falls off after the first couple of books. Given that the audiobook includes more than 15 hours of audio I will probably not be able to finish the book before the NBA draft on June 21, 2018. I’m not sure what channel the draft will be on this year, but we probably will not be able to watch it unless it is streaming online. It does appear that CBS will have a free live stream of the event. That is probably how I’ll end up watching it this year. We do not have any subscributions to ESPN video content. Sure I don’t really need to watch the NBA draft, but for some reason that really seems like what I want to do.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

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