Rich Warren | It's a shame that CDs are fading away

Rich Warren | It's a shame that CDs are fading away

Billboard magazine, a trade journal of the music industry, reported that Best Buy will cease selling CDs this summer, while Target will severely limit its CD inventory. Ironically, Best Buy will continue selling LPs. I plan to open a store selling 78 rpm discs.

According to a WCIA Channel 3 poll, 52 percent of the people surveyed continue collecting and listening to CDs. When a political candidate wins 52 percent of the vote, he or she is elected into office. Thus, Best Buy, Target and probably others plan to disenfranchise the majority of local music listeners.

Admittedly, listening to streaming music grows easier by the day, fostered by new Wi-Fi-enabled, voice-activated internet devices from Amazon, Google and Apple. Yet the MP3 sound quality falls far short of a well-recorded CD.

The first portable CD player resembled a car battery. By the apex of CD, portables weighed a few ounces, fit easily in a small purse and could survive mild shocks without skipping. However, CD portables lacked ultimate portability, and you still had to carry around a wallet of CDs. In contrast, streaming music accompanies you anywhere, anytime, under any conditions, whether you're lounging in Urbana or operating a jackhammer in Danville.

There remains a place for each music delivery system. They can exist side by side. Which makes it all the stranger and upsetting that most automobile manufacturers refuse to offer CD players as options in new cars. Once upon a time, if you wanted a particular option, you could pay for it or install it aftermarket. Now the car companies deny either possibility.

Speaking of Best Buy, this column has taken the big box store to task on occasion. Thus, it's only fair we share this reader's positive experience:

"You may remember I emailed you about my Toshiba TV turning itself off and on. Could not get information from Toshiba about why that was happening. Finally went to customer service at Best Buy, where I bought the item. The customer service rep gave me the 800 number for the Best Buy Geek Squad. I called them, explained my problem and the person said someone would be getting in touch with me. The next day, Alex from the Geek Squad called. He got information from me and said he would order the part from Toshiba and it would be at my house in four days and then he would come out to install the part. Well, the part never did get here. I called Alex, and he checked it out and called me back, explaining that Toshiba would not or could not supply the needed part. He said he would talk to the boss to see where we could go from there. The next day, he called back and said Best Buy would exchange the Toshiba. He gave me a return confirmation number. I went to Best Buy on Friday morning, walked up to the customer service desk and was treated like a king. I was escorted to the TV department, turned over to Tim and together we picked out a replacement (a Sharp TV). I went back up to customer service, and after they did some paperwork, I got some money back (the Sharp was cheaper than the Toshiba, because it was on sale). We set up a delivery date and got it four days later. Best Buy did take care of me and in a professional and friendly manner."

We received a variety of reader emails over the past two weeks documenting positive and negative experiences concerning electronics service. Next week, we'll share a nightmare scenario of trying to get Apple to replace an iPhone battery and a favorable experience in fixing an LG TV, via Advance Electronic in Bloomington.

For out-of-warranty gear, try Glenn Poor's TV Service and ProTech Electronic Service on Springfield in Urbana. They can repair nearly any electronics device, even if it's 40 years old, assuming parts remain available (glennpoorstvservice.com).

Rich Warren, who lives in the Champaign area, is a longtime reviewer of consumer electronics. Email him at hifiguy@mchsi.com.

Topics (2):Music, Television
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