I hesitate to even make this post, lest it should activate sleeping evil elsewhere, but this is something that’s been annoying me for a while. I was just reading SlashGear’s post on the Archos 13 ultraportable and amongst the things they’re not pleased about is the lack of HDMI port. This is something Laptop Mag dings devices for, too. And it drives me up the wall. Because not everyone has a television that accepts HDMI input. What I miss is the S-Video port, which everyone seems to have abandoned.
Remember back in February when people were busy crowing about the fact that some study claimed two-thirds of Americans had an HDTV and those who didn’t were likely to buy one soon? I didn’t believe the study, and I was happy to see someone else disagreeing with it, too1. The main reason why I didn’t believe that study is simply that HDTVs are expensive. Yes, plenty of people buy crap they don’t need simply because it’s newer, bigger, better. But plenty of people –especially now — aren’t buying crap they don’t need if their current device works perfectly fine.
You can still get non HDTVs with big screens for less money. And people who have cable or satellite are still doing fine with their older models. The people who buy new laptops or phones or other media devices are not automatically the people who buy HDTVs. I’m not. I have no reason to. Except none of these damned devices will output with anything but HDMI, therefore I can’t use them with my TV. That’s just wonderful2.
How many tech journalists and bloggers consider this? I haven’t seen many do so. I’ve seen so many journalists write off technology because they think it’s not useful when compared to better stuff, but they’re not taking into account that not everyone can afford new, expensive things all the time. Like MP3 players. How many times have I heard: “well, you don’t need one because you can play music on your phone.” Hello! Some phones. Not all. And can I point out that the non-smartphone market is way, way bigger than the smartphone market? And that smartphones don’t tend to have as much memory as MP3 players? And that not every device is made for the over-connected, spendthrift adult?
I realize that the view from the tech world is that everyone has, should have, wants, or should want the newest, bestest things. Not everyone does and not everyone can afford them. And thus the magazines and blogs and sites we produce end up just catering to a narrow audience who, by the way, is overly filled with the kind of jerks that populate the Gizmodo comment threads and not, say, thoughtful consumers who have to take a wider range of factors into consideration, including price and need.
It’s getting to the point where every time I hear someone mention the lack of HDMI a a negative or any other similar sentiment I want to shake them by the collar. Which is not good and professional behavior. So, I won’t do it. But still. Stop it, people.
- Research Rants points out that non-tech savvy people probably don’t understand that just because the TV station tells them that they’re broadcasting in HD that doesn’t mean they actually have an HD set. This strikes me as very possible. [↩]
- In the end I just use my desktop, which has a handy S-Video port. Yes, if I want to output audio I have to run a separate cable. Um, who cares? it’s not as if cables are like creeping death or something. [↩]