Chesapeake Home Theatre & Hi-Fi

Larry Dent is the owner of Chesapeake Home Theatre & Hi-Fi.

These articles were written for the Islander Weekly.

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Larry's Tech Talk

Coming to Your Senses

Entertainment content these days is offered to us in many ways. The internet changed the music, video, and even book business forever. Companies like Blockbuster and Tower Records that didn’t adapt soon enough are now history. Entertainment distribution is now just a click away. I remember one of my first lessons in business, “make it easy for the customer to buy”. Well if you want to watch a movie, purchase the right to listen to music, or even read a book, just log on, point and click.

The entertainment business is so successful that services like Pandora can afford to offer music for free. Sure, there is a “pay for premium” service, but advertising revenue is the real lifeblood of many online services. That’s good news for consumers, because free is nice! If we use Pandora as an example, while you listen to the music if you look closely there will also be a window that asks if you want to purchase the song. That’s what I call making it easy for the customer to buy! Just point and click. Don’t know what to get someone for their birthday? How about an ITunes card? It’s really pretty cool when I hear a song that I want and all I have to do is log into my account and the song downloads to my laptop.

By entertainment I am talking about intellectual content that reaches out to 3 of our 5 senses. Three? Are you kidding me dude? Yeah, there’s sight (video), sound (hearing), and feeling. OK, maybe the sense of touch (feeling) is a stretch, but with upscale home theater systems you will actually feel the music and movie effects.

OK, so what do we have here? There’s ppv movies, downloadable movies, online music, downloadable music (for purchase), online radio (listen to many radio broadcasts from anywhere in the world), downloadable art, and even downloadable books. As much as I love the latest home theater electronics, sometimes a good book is just awesome. Devices like the Kindle and even IPad make reading a book nice. You don’t have to carry that paperback, and they even included graphics that look like a page turning.

Is there anything else dude? Well yes there is! Remember good ole FM radio? Actually AM radio is still alive, but I don’t anyone that still listens to AM (hey, that’s just me). Otherwise known as “terrestrial radio”, FM is doing just fine. Since most of us drive to work, FM still has a large marketplace. If you can handle or support the FCC regulations that govern communications, FM is still a great free broadcast service. And then we have Satellite Radio. Sirius XM is also competing for our attention and entertainment dollar. The FCC has no control over this service’s content, so “adult” content is aired on certain channels. There are many music channels (by category), talk shows (i.e. Howard Stern, Martha Stewart, and even Oprah), comedy shows, Sports, BBC, Playboy Radio, and more. Satellite radio is very cool, but how much stuff can we digest? Ever hear the expression, “drinking from a firehose!” And let’s not forget Cable TV, Satellite TV, and the 4 major networks that bradcast in Hi-Definition.

Sometimes I picture a scene from the1920s where a rural midwest family is sitting around a tube AM radio listening to a weekly broadcast. The father probably turned the set on 15 minutes early to let it warm up and everybody looked forward to the show. And then I think of my college days when 7 guys would be in my friend’s dorm room huddled around a 15 inch black and white TV watching “The Fonz”, Richie and Potsie on “Happy Days’.

We’ve come a long way Charlie Brown! Whether you prefer books, radio, TV, internet streaming, or whatever I missed, entertainment is COMING TO YOUR SENSES!