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Rant

Yearly Tech Needs An Upgrade Path

I was watching a video today about Nvidia’s new updated Shield TV Pro. The Shield TV Pro first came out in May of 2015. Then a new Model in 2017, now a new one at the end of 2019. So presumably we can expect a new model in 2021 as well.

I bought a Shield TV back in 2017 right after the new one came out. I debated on which one to buy, the original or the new 2017 model, then on top of that which version, the stock or the upgraded PRO version. Since I’ve owned a lot of tech, wasting my money on a ton of hardware that rarely ever got used, and now has fallen victim of yearly upgrades, I have so many countless phones, settop boxes and other older consoles and devices that do various functions that just are thrown into boxes and collecting dust underneath my house.

I bought the 2017 Shield TV Pro because I new I was going to be traveling on the road a lot for work. Spending a ton of time in hotels with crappy internet, so I splurged for the Pro so I could have a nice large hard drive and throw all my emulators and roms on there with also the added functionality of using Kodi and Plex and Netflix and Spotify and YouTube and Prime Video…. It really is an all in one settop box that can do most of anything I can throw at it. It’s also pretty small and portable that allows me to travel with it and not have it take up a ton of room in my bag. 

After a year and a half or so, I saw each update bring the system to a crawl. The 500GB HDD was just too slow, making each update take 30 to 45 minutes and startup and restart times were slowly becoming more than 4 or 5 minutes each time I plugged it in. Swapping out the HDD for an SSD was a piece of cake and also makes the thing nice and light, quiet and just so much easier to use. The startup is almost instantaneous and the menu responds much more quickly. 

So, now the new model is out, and it has a better processor, more ram, and just overal a better product that comes with a couple years of hardware progress… but, the thing was kinda expensive, and it works perfectly fine now. But I have that bug in my brain of wanting the newest latest and greatest thing. It’s part of why I got into IT back in the early 2000’s, I like being an early adopter, getting things right when the get released, playing around with new tech is a hobby and part of who I am in a sense. But, I can’t justify the purchase of a new product when the other one works perfectly fine, and if I did get the new one, the other Shield TV would just go into another box under the house, wasting away with all my iphones and Amazon Fire TVs.

Why can’t I just trade my old product in for the new one and save a good chunk of money? Why can’t I upgrade my Shield TV for the new model at a discounted price. Because hardware is basically worthless in this day and age. Yes there is a certain subset of people who like to still run old Commodore computers or older video game systems…. But now that tech is so much more mass produced and hardware is just so much more limiting in factors, and the software side of things is emulated everywhere, the hardware is just redundant and pointless. No one is going to want an iphone 3G, but a lot of people will want the nostalgia of playing an original NES. That hardware is a means of getting to the software.

So, here I am, watching a video on how much better the 2019 version of the Shield TV Pro is than mine for emulation and other things. I could go out and buy it now, but I’d be wasting so much money on something that is only slightly better. If there is no way for me to easily order the new one online, with an upgrade path, where I send mine in a week before it’s released and I get a discount on the new model, I would do it in a heartbeat. It’s insane that this isn’t really a thing mostly. Sure EVGA does this with a video card, but it’s only that specific manufacture, and it’s only within a small timeframe of the purchase from old to new. If I bought a EVGA 1080ti today, and a new model was announced tomorrow, I’d be able to send in the card I just bought for the new one… But why wouldn’t I just return the card for my full money and just buy the new one and save? Again, it’s such a stupid way of going about things. There needs to be upgrade paths for tech, or it’s just going to overpopulate landfills with useless junk. Either we slowdown on hardware or we are going to waste money on expensive products that have less and less shelf life than anything else in the world. Our tech is going to become as worthless as Organic fruits.