A Pioneering Purchase

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After realizing that the one home theater system I could find for less than $500 was about to disappear into the black hole of discontinued products that were well-designed but horribly marketed, I plunked down my credit card with the last authorized dealer (online or otherwise) that still had the HTB-540DV in stock.

Barely. Because today when I visted the product page, I discovered the magic words “low stock” in a prominent location, confirming that the first Pioneer Electronics service rep I talked to a few weeks ago was correct about its impending demise, and the second one was just clueless.

All I wanted was to find a nice, basic HTIB that would let me listen to surround sound coming from any likely source—whether it be from my analog TV, DVDs, Super Audio CDs, or DVD-Audio discs.

The fact that I had to spend a month researching the audio disc formats and visiting both online and brick-and-mortar stores just to snag one of the last decent models left with these basic capabilities proves how screwed up the consumer electronics industry is.

And my fears that the situation is about to get worse were confirmed when an audiophile friend pointed out the DualDisc “innovation≵ to me during our last music shopping outing.

Author: Peter Sheerin

Peter Sheerin is best known for the decade he spent as the Technical Editor of CADENCE magazine, where he was the acknowledged expert in Computer-Aided Design hardware and software. He has a long-standing passion for improving usability of software, hardware, and everyday objects that is always interwoven in his articles. Peter is available for freelance technical writing and product reviews, and is exploring career opportunities in interaction design. His pet personal project is exploring the best ways to harmonize visual, tactile, and audible symbols for improving the effectiveness of alerting systems.

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