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Moving Is A Great Time to Review Your Electronics Needs

After almost 38 years of marriage and 34 years living at our wonderful two-family home in Brooklyn, my wife Marion and I embarked on a new adventure a month ago. We moved to our new home on the northeast coast of Florida, near Daytona Beach. When anyone moves there are tough choices about which items will come with you and which ones you should toss or replace, and the same is true for your electronics.

Our home in Florida is brand new and built to our specifications based on the selection of options the developer offered. That is a far cry from our 118-year-old home in Brooklyn, which was built when gaslights were the norm. While it felt wonderfully nostalgic, it meant we were constantly trying to adapt our old house to new technology.

In Brooklyn, we had our TV and video components on one side of the living room, with the audio components and receiver located in a built-in bookcase on the other side. The struggle was always trying to discretely hide cables behind century-old moldings and furniture to connect the video and audio components to have a functional home theater system.

So when we had a chance to install a five-channel speaker system in the ceiling of our Floridian living room, we jumped on it. The installation was not from a conventional custom installer but a subcontractor that did all the electrical work. When it came to connecting the various audio and video components into a system, we called them.

Why wouldn’t I, a so-called electronics expert, do the installation myself? Well, here’s the items that had to be connected: a 55-inch 4K TV; AV receiver; subwoofer; a DVD recorder/VCR that languished in our closet in Brooklyn for several years; Bluetooth vinyl turntable; and a 4K Roku device. The decision was easy – playing with hundreds of feet of black cable behind a new wall unit is not my idea of fun anymore. Plus, my back is not what it once was. Two guys came over to connect everything in about an hour which left us with plenty of time to try and get the rest of the house settled.

At least for baby boomers, it should be simple to understand why we kept all those components. Even though we sold, donated or dumped a lot of “content” – LPs, 45s, VHS cassettes, CDs, DVDs – there are still plenty of special items, especially family videos and pictures, that can’t be replaced and are not downloadable.

Thanks to the 4K Roku device, we cut the cord and no longer have either satellite or cable TV service. Back in Brooklyn we tested Roku on one TV for a couple of months and kept our satellite service on until we moved. We got a lower-end Roku device for our TV in the den and signed up with Hulu. In our experience, cutting the cord and signing up for Hulu, Netflix and MLB.TV (to watch our Yankee games) is far more economical than cable or satellite. And the audio and video quality are superior too.

Thanks to the consolidation of the cable industry, our provider in Florida is the same one we had in Brooklyn: Spectrum. We opted to get the fastest broadband service for our needs, plus a home phone. Yes, we realize that it is redundant in the smartphone era. But based on our knowledge of this area, where cell coverage can sometimes be spotty, and our experience in Brooklyn with natural disasters and man-made ones like blackouts and Sept. 11, we believe the backup of a home phone is needed.

To keep everything running, especially during a hurricane or other power outage, we bought a propane generator. Our friends suggested that it would be better and easier to put the tank underground now during construction rather than waiting. It has been tested and so far, so good.

And finally, I haven’t mentioned a home security system and that is because we haven’t settled on a service provider yet. Again, the developer installed basic hardware and we are in the process of seeing which service provider best fits our needs.

Moving is all about new beginnings and adventures. And it is a perfect time to look at your electronics hardware, content and service providers, and make the changes that match your new lifestyle.

Steve Smith was the former editor-in-chief of TWICE and a member of the CT Hall of Fame.

Steve Smith