Home > Podcast > AV Rant #178: DVRetard

AV Rant #178: DVRetard

Tom starts off on the wrong foot this podcast – and Dina catches him on it. Why does Amazon mock Tom so? Dina liked a movie that Tom liked. That’s probably one of the signs of the apocalypse. What’s the deal with California and video games? Takes a lawyer to figure it out. Hulu is looking for cash, YouTube looking for more. Are two subs a panacea? Will Gizmodo break even? What’s new with Denon and what Tom thinks about it. Why integrated amps are more expensive than similarly configured receivers. Thanks for listening and don’t forget to vote for us at Podcast Alley. To see our (mostly) complete collection of show videos, click here. To get our iPhone app, visit the iTunes store.


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  1. Rob
    May 2nd, 2010 at 21:52 | #1

    Sorry, Tom, but I have to side with Dina; I do not think it is correct to say that you “attended” the Denon press event. However, there is room for debate. It really comes down to the relatively recently expanded notion of what it means to be “present”.

    If four people are all physically in a room together and they are holding a meeting, would we consider a fifth person who is on a speaker phone to be “present” at that meeting? What about 3 people who all hold a video-conference with one another? Are they all “present” at a single meeting?

    These sorts of situations have given rise to new terms such as “remote attendance” or “remote presence”, which seem like obvious contradictions. We might also hear phrases like, “he attended the meeting via telephone” or “he was present at the conference via video chat”.

    But in Tom’s specific case with the Denon press event, I do not believe he was “present” or “attended” the event in even these sorts of “grey area” ways. Tom was not able to speak directly to any of the people holding the event. Instead, any messages from Tom were relayed through a moderator who was monitoring incoming chat messages via the internet. At most, one might say that Tom attended via proxy, but I would argue that such a statement stretches the definition of “attendance” beyond its extreme.

    Did Tom attend the Denon press event? No. But he did watch a live broadcast of the event and he was able to participate by asking questions via proxy. If a person were to watch a live sporting event on television, we would not ever say that person “attended” the sporting event or was “present” at the sporting event. Tom is arguing for the use of the word “attend” because he was able to interact with the people who were physically at the event via internet chat. But again, we could use the sporting event analogy to demonstrate that Tom could send messages and receive replies (in many ways) from people who are physically at the sporting event, but this would not mean that Tom is actually “present” at the sporting event, which also means that he is not “attending” the sporting event.

    So Tom, you watched a live broadcast and you had limited interaction with the people at the event via the internet, but you did not “attend” the event. You did not even have a video representation of yourself at the event or an electronic device that was dedicated (and I stress the word “dedicated”) to representing you, specifically, at the event. Thus, your use of the word “attend” stretches beyond even the “grey area” of the notion of “presence” or “attendance” and I side with Dina on this one 😀

  2. May 3rd, 2010 at 06:06 | #2

    I win.

  3. jfalk
    May 3rd, 2010 at 10:53 | #3

    I’m with Tom. Was it an event? If it was, then who were the attendees? (I’m assuming that all the attendees were present via the internet and that only Denon presenters were there.) You cannot have an event with only presenters. So if it was an event, Tom must have been an attendee, since otherwise you have the logical contradiction of an event with no attendees. As to interaction, ehat difference does it make whether you have to raise your hand to speak or your question comes through a moderator? If you had to whisper your question to someone before you could ask it (as essentially happens at some shareholders’ meetings, are you not there? Are people who haven’t registered to speak not there? Suppose the room was filled to overflowing and some people had to watch in another room? How ar they any less at the even than the people in the room? What if the people in the room have bad eyesight and are sitting far away versus a guy outside the room sitting 5 feet from a 80 inch screen?

  4. Rob
    May 4th, 2010 at 02:39 | #4


    As I said, there’s room for debate. Personally, I’m a stickler for literal word use. The stickler, literal definition of “attending and event” is to be physically present at the event. In your example of people of people who might have to watch from another room because of a lack of space, my stickler definition would mean that they would have to say that they tried to attend the event, but were unable to do so because there was not enough space.

    It is entirely possible to hold an event without any attendees. I could throw a party and have nobody show up!


    In any case, I can fully understand the argument for the opposing view. As a stickler, I would actually go so far as to say that a person on speaker phone is not actually attending a meeting. They are not physically present and therefore, they are not attending: simple as that. But, at the same time, it would not be correct to say that they had no involvement in the meeting what-so-ever. If I were taking the minutes for that meeting, I would indicate that the person on speaker phone did not attend, but did participate via telephone.

    So, with that stickler viewpoint, Tom did not attend the Denon press event, but he did watch a live broadcast and he participated via internet chat. I can totally appreciate the argument that an electronic presence at an event is still a form of attendance, but my stickler sensibilities have me sticking to the definitions of attendance as being physically present 🙂

  5. Rob
    May 4th, 2010 at 02:53 | #5

    Please forgive the many typos in my last post. I typed it rather quickly on my iPhone…it did not turn out so well.


    Anyways, I thought of a potentially better way of explaining my viewpoint: a date.

    Let’s say that you go to a restaurant for a date, but rather than your date showing up in person, he or she is just able to see you on a webcam and you are only able to receive text messages from him or her on your computer. Would you really say that you had a date? Would you really say the he or she “attended” your date?


    As I’ve said, we get terms like, “remote attendance” or “attendance via proxy” or “electronic attendance” because we seem to agree that there is some sort of presence, but it just isn’t physical. Substitute a meeting or an event for a date though and it seems to me that anything other than being physically present really doesn’t feel like “attendance”, does it?


  6. Jason
    May 4th, 2010 at 03:14 | #6

    I’m not going to debate the attendance thing, to me it can go either way. It’s a brave new world.

    What I wanted to bring up was the issue of i-Pod docks. While I agree with Tom in regards to USB connectivity being the way foward for the average user. Docks, such as Onkyo’s ND-S1, still have their place for those more serious about getting decent stereo sound from their i-Pods.

  7. jfalk
    May 4th, 2010 at 08:39 | #7

    I don’t think it has anything to do with “literal” word use. It simply has to do with what we mean by “presence” in an internet-based world. The phrase “attend a virtual meeting” on Google gets 3,400 hits. The phrase “attend via the internet” gets 13,300. The phrase “my last post was as badly mistyped as yours” gets none, but it’s true.

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