Roku or Make Do

Emergency preppers are often faced with a dilemma now and again.  Spending our money to prepare on what may happen or spending our money on what is happening now.  A recent small windfall activated immediate mental agony over what action to take to convert this worthless fiat currency into something that will have instant value.  Let me give you a brief history of our “entertainment” system:

Many years ago, sometime in the 90’s, we purchased an ultra-modern 42 inch t.v. that weighs approximately 400 lbs.  To add to our listening pleasure, we also eventually purchased a home theater system consisting of a receiver and five speakers (very LARGE speakers).  We already possessed a VCR deck and added a DVD player once they came down in price.  It took me literally days to figure out how to hook up every system and still have working cable.  The wire and cable mess in the back of the t.v. was a nightmare.  When we purchased our newest location six years ago, I was careful to label each cable and wire before we moved the system.  Still, it took me literally days to get it re-hooked back up.  Then, broadcasting switched from analog to digital transmissions.  Okay, I had cable, it wasn’t going to affect me.  However, when I was waiting for disibility and cut my budget to the bone, we dropped cable and purchased a digital converter and antenna.  Somehow, no matter how we hook everything up, we still cannot get the VCR to play anymore.  Since most of our VHS tapes have been replaced by DVD’s, this wasn’t the end of the world.  Now we get Netflix movies to make up for the deficit.  We also watch streaming instant movies on the computer, but that is difficult to do with more than one person and you really have to watch as many streaming movies as you can in order to get your money’s worth while you are waiting for your next shipment in the mail.  So here we are and here is my dilemma.  Netflix is changing their accounts so we will have to pay for streaming movies or mailed movies separately.  I can’t afford both and since they will eventually change over to all streaming, I need to upgrade my technology as cheaply as possible.  Can’t afford to buy a new HDTV, or a blueray DVD player and all new DVD’s so a new streaming system may be our savior.

After browsing around the internet and discovering what devices will and won’t work for our purposes (we do not own any gaming systems or Wii), I decided on the updated version of the old Roku which was originally made just for streaming Netflix movies, but which can also be used to stream Hulu movies and tv shows, Amazon movies to rent and other entertainment options.  Many reviews claim that the system is simple to hook up and use even if you have an old t.v. system like mine.  I was so excited, I jumped right to the order page and pushed the button.  Soon, we would all be able to sit around the t.v. and watch streaming TEOTWAWKI entertainment at will.  Utopia!

Instantly, I was sick to my stomach.  What had I done!  What if the lights go out.  All that money could have been used to purchase board games and Future Essentials snacks which have a shelf life of 15+ years.  I could have purchased more propane cannisters for my Mr Heater to keep toasty when it gets cold and more lantern oil to see the games we could be playing together as a family unit (all two of us).

I did regret my decision, but what is done, is done.  Will it be worth it even for a short  period of time since the Aztec Calendar will supposedly end on October 28, 2011 more than a year before the Mayan Calendar?  Maybe.  It depends on if it is going to take days or weeks to get it hooked up without losing any of my other components.