Is older tech more reliable than new?

 

Yet another DVD player of ours craped out in less than four months! This one, we bought from Amazon, so thankfully they’re giving me a refund. But it just re-enforces my opinion that electronics today are total and utter garbage no matter what name-brand you buy and that you’re better off with older technology, if you can find it.

We’ve gone through so many DVD players over the past 20 years that I’ve lost count. We’ve owned many different brand names at a wide range of prices (Sony, Sylvania, Panasonic, Impecca, and Zenith to name a few) and out of all of them, the only one that’s shown any reliability is our LG portable DVD player. We bought this one when portable DVD players (with the built in LCD screen) first came on the market and it’s the only still-functional DVD console player we own. All the rest have died or developed playback problems of some sort.

But, let’s take a minute and talk about our VCR and LaserDisc player. I bought my first Pioneer LD player, the CLD-1090, in 1991 and it played thousands of hours of Laserdics for about twenty years (ultimately dying on me in 2011). I bought a second-hand LD player, my CLD-S201, in 2012. It’s been playing Laserdiscs for nine years now, not taking into account how many hours it was used before I got it. Now that’s some pretty good engineering, if you ask me. It’s certainly a heck of a lot better than the crap these companies are obviously producing today.

And let’s not forget our RCA VCR. We bought that thing in either 2001 or 2002 and it’s still playing our VHS tapes just fine; and it has to be the most (mechanically) complicated video playing device in our collection. It takes more intricate machinery to play VHS tapes than DVDs, yet these newly made DVD players can’t seem to do even the most basic things for very long.

Rather than getting burned from buying yet another DVD console player, I decided to approach the problem from another angle. I went and purchased a Raspberry Pi 3 mini computer kit and installed the LibreElec OS onto it. I combined this with my external LG DVD R/W external USB drive, which I bought for our home PC way back in 2007. This DVD drive has burned thousands of DVDs and CDs over the years, yet still functions without any issues. So now, not only do I have a reliable DVD player, but with LibreElec and the KODI multi-media software suite, I can also play every digital video and audio file I have in my collection.

Although the Raspberry Pi mini computer is the second most recent piece of technology in my new media setup (my mini projector being the most recent), I specifically bought a model that’s been around for a few years already. So, there’s some hope for it to remain functional for several years. I certainly think it will out perform any new console device I could buy today.

I just don’t think anything “new” is worth investing in; you’re much better off to look for older technology and devices if you can find them. I’m left with the impression that any electronics manufactured after 2010 should simply be avoided if possible, no matter what brand name it carries. These days, everything seems to be manufactured by the same two or three Chinese companies, and it’s all just utter crap.  I just seem to have better luck with devices and electronics I’ve purchased before 2010.

 


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  1. My MacPro 2010 cheese grater is still going strong. I agree, the newer stuff is designed to break, be thrown away and replaced – weekly. And, you can’t fix it either. I have a Samsung Galaxy S5, it still works and does not upgrade anymore, however I have noticed that it takes longer and longer to boot up and open applications as time goes on. I think they build into the OS code to make it slow down and then just stop. I had to get another phone because my now, seemingly must have to ID your purchases, banking software wouldn’t work on it. Unfortunately, if stuff lasts it all goes the way of Myford lathes and Scammel trucks – oblivion.

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