Ramble 05 – Life in 4K

Last week was pretty odd. Friday before last, this happened. As a result I unwavered my wavering and stalked the shops of Loughborough town looking for a black PlayStation Pro. You would think the shop assistants would bite my hand off to make a sale during the post-Christmas, post-Sales, lull right? Well maybe so, but if you don’t have one in stock that’s pretty hard. I wanted it then and there – so no ordering it in or buying online for me, oh no siree.

First stop Currys PC World – box-shifters extraordinaire – Siggy and I found a little area dedicated to showing photos of games consoles that they didn’t have in stock. We left. Next stop Tesco – simply because on foot it is the next nearest store that might sell one – lots of bright colours, lots of stickers saying TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK. No dice. So Argos – literally five minutes walk if that – find the page on the catalogue, type in the number on the funny little computer screen, find out they have some at their store in Leicester. No thanks. Finally, and why I didn’t think of this first, we find ourselves in Game.

‘I’ll go and check,’ says the sales assistant promisingly. He returns empty-handed a few minutes later with a frown on his face. They don’t have any. ‘But I’ll bring out what we do have…’ Strange. I wait. He comes back with three boxes. They are all themed PlayStation Pros with free games included. Two are white (one is for the new FIFA game – no thanks) and one is black. It’s Star Wars themed for Battlefront II. I hear a voice in head –

‘Fulfil your destiny…’

So I buy it. I didn’t realise it had Star Wars emblazoned on the front – even for me that’s a bit much. But anyhow, I got what I wanted. I traded in the game, which I obviously already have, for a decent amount of money.

PS-Pro

Cue the inevitable 4K snowball…

The next day, while I’m lying in bed wondering who the fuck I am, I order a Denon AVR-X3400H 7.2 Channel AV surround receiver. It’s pretty much the direct replacement for the Denon AV receiver I already own, but that can’t handle 4K. It’s a no-brainer since I need to be able to plug in all my audio cable’s banana plugs and HDMI devices, and I worship Denon kit. The room isn’t big enough to accommodate 7.2, but I have 5.1 working a treat – no need for any rewiring.

It’s next day delivery, but it arrives on Tuesday. Also it doesn’t fit into the wooden cabinet – it seems slightly deeper than my original receiver. So Wednesday is DIY day – well actually watching Siggy’s dad do some DIY on my behalf day. he cuts a bigger hole in the back of the wooden cabinet I house all this stuff in.

During the week I have a chat with a few people and get a recommendation on what 4K television to buy. It’s actually just confirmation of what I was thinking of getting anyway and that’s a Sony Bravia KD49XE8004 49-inch TV – we measured out the 55-inch version and it was just too big for the room. I schedule delivery for Friday. It arrives on Thursday.

When I see what the Bravia can do, I realise that the Amazon Fire TV and the Apple TV (which I only really used for Netflix and YouTube) are history. I unhook them and find buyers quicker than I expected. So there’s less clutter in the cabinet, less cables around the back and more room for cooling. There’s some issues and a bit of fudge to get the wall-mount bracket to accommodate the new television but given that it’s size corner-to-corner is actually identical to my previous Panasonic plasma it fits fine in the room.

Then I change my settings on the PS4 Pro and load up Star Wars Battlefront II. What the fuck? It looks like total washed-out dog shit. I Google it. Everyone says it looks like dog shit. Talk about pale fire! So I download Assassin’s Creed Origins to see the full benefit of the new setup. It looks sweet.

The Bravia has Netflix and Amazon Video built into it. As soon as I put my details in and open Netflix I realise the cunning bar stewards have already seen me coming and they offer to upgrade my subscription at a small extra monthly stipend. Stupid question. I watch a bit of Breaking Bad in 4K and a little bit of excited wee comes out. Later Siggy and I watch an episode of Peaky Blinders Season 3 and I complain incessantly about the new director. It’s like watching an episode of Coronation Street.

I also discover that the Bravia has voice search. I open YouTube and I see the icon flash up – so my first search is ‘Christ it’s got voice control’. Not exactly what I had in mind, but impressive none the less. And the real kicker to all this is that the Pro, the amp and the Bravia all told cost me less than my old Panasonic plasma television. Now that’s progress!

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