Every January, I make a resolution to lose weight. The yearly recurrence of this resolution is a testament to my lack of success at acheiving my goal. I’m not terribly overweight - I just need to shed 10 or 15 pounds. But I hate dieting and get terribly bored working out! Along with the resolution, I concoct a new scheme each year to help make the process easier. The scheme usually involves buying something - an online subscription to Weight Watchers last year, a Polar heart monitor watch that downloads and tracks your workout stats to a computer the year before, my very own spin cycle the year before that. The Weight Watchers subscription expired with barely any use. I sold the spin cycle on eBay last year. I still use the Polar watch, though its novelty wore off and it doesn’t get me into the gym frequently enough.
This year, I used the same logic to buy a Sony TX690 computer - a subnotebook that easily rests on an elliptical machine or treadmill. It comes with a built-in DVD player, a wireless card, and access to Cingular’s EDGE network (a new technology that lets you connect at broadband speed from anywhere, including an unwired gym). My new computer should help numb my brain while I run so I don’t get bored.
So how will I use it? To surf the Internet and watch movies while I’m working out, of course!
At my brother’s recommendation, I just purchased the first season of a television show called ‘24‘. This show, which is now in its fifth year, uses an entire season (24 episodes) to track a single 24 hour period (hence the title). Because the episodes are tied in so closely together, the show is extremely addicting and makes for perfect workout material. I keep the DVD locked in the computer so that I can’t watch it unless I am working out. I’m on the seventh episode and it’s working. I can’t wait for my next session on the elliptical!
I have never purchased a television series on DVD before this. In fact, I never really understood why people buy DVDs in the first place, since most movies are only viewed once. And with the advent of the digital video recorder (DVR), extended cable channels and Video on Demand (VOD), it puzzled me even more.
Well, I now understand. The convenience of being able to watch what you want, where you want, when you want is extremely valuable - so much so, that people are willing to pay around $45 for the package when they could have otherwise watched it for free. Of course, “free” assumes that you don’t assign a cost to the time you lose watching commercials. Each one hour episode clocks in at around 40 minutes, which means that over the course of a season, you are spending 480 minutes or eight hours watching commercials. How much do you value your free time? At $20 per hour, it would have cost you $160 to watch the first season of ‘24′on TV, making the $45, or around $2 an episode, a bargain.
The bargain gets even better if you resell the DVD box-set when you have finished watching it. The first season of ‘24′ is trading online for around $27 used. After reselling the DVD, your net cost of watching the series is $18.
But since there are transaction costs in selling online, I recommend that you wait until you have accumulated all four seasons and sell them as a package.