By Maggie Millar
I defy anyone to tell me they have no interests which others would consider square, naff or just plain dull.
And that’s where my confession comes in, because I’ve a dark, dirty secret hitherto revealed to just a select few confidants – and dedicated salespeople – until today.
Yup, below this ultra-cool feminine exterior (who’s she kidding?) lies the heart of a committed and rather obsessed tech-geek.
It all started back in 1982 when I got my mitts on a Commodore 64. It was beige, it was boxy, it took half an hour to load a game, but I have to say I became rather good at playing Daley Thomson’s Decathlon.
Then it was the teenage years and music, with the Stone Roses, the La’s and the odd smattering of Edie Brickell thrown in for hippy lightness.
But ultimately, to me, what really mattered was what it was played on – and it was around this time that, thanks to dedicated research through What Hi-fi?, I’d start blowing my student grant on Technics amplifiers, Denon this, Marantz that. Linn was but a distant dream...
However, the point of this ramble (yes, there is one) is that I was recently plunged into a state of technological angst which was in danger of becoming all-consuming.
Older readers might recall the great video tape war waged between VHS and Betamax back in the ‘80s.
Despite being of inferior quality, VHS won because it was more popular among a certain genre of filmmakers (ahem...) and that commercial tsunami squeezed Betamax out of the water.
Well, the masses have only gone and mucked things up again, because Panasonic did the unthinkable and pulled the plug on plasma TVs in 2013.
No!! These TVs were considered the best in the world! Why? Why? Why?
The problem for me was immediate. I already had a plasma TV, albeit an older Samsung model, which still worked perfectly.
I’d stare at it every day and will the ruddy thing to breakdown so I could justifiably rush to the store and buy the Panasonic.
I did this every day for over a year...but to no avail.
Meanwhile, many a lunchtime I’d calm myself down by browsing plasmas on the net. They were dwindling in number but they were available... just.
And, on shopping trips, I’d chew the fat with TV salespeople who agreed with me that the masses were, quite frankly, daft as brushes.
You see, plasma was ditched only because nine out of 10 buyers bought LED.
Well, I’ll let you into a little secret – LED is rubbish.
Yes, it’s cheaper to produce, cheaper to run, lighter, brighter and (crucially for manufacturers) easier to blow up into ridiculously huge screens – but anybody of taste knows it’s performance, not size that counts.
As for 4k, people are already returning them because teeny tiny micro-detail hurts their eyes. Serves them right.
Two weeks ago, I finally bit the bullet and drove to Newcastle, kids in the back, to buy a second-hand Panasonic from a seller crazy enough to let it go.
I’m glad to say the world looks right again – until OLED comes down in price.