Originally Posted by ElJimador
I'd like to take on this argument I keep seeing in this and other threads that the cost of storage is cheap vs. the cost of content, therefore whatever you pay for storage is a bargain and you shouldn't even think twice about constantly buying more. I'll admit the logic is impeccable if you're stinking rich but on behalf of those of us who aren't, I'd like to offer a few counterpoints:
1) Chicken and egg. Are you really buying more storage because you need more space for all the content you just have to have, or are you are acquiring new content (often of more middling or worse quality than you would have before) because you already have the solution for storing and organizing more than you ever thought you'd own?
2) Justifying the purchase of one item based on its relative cost to another isn't really a practical exercise for those of us who are actually on a budget. ie. Whatever I may have invested in all of my movies and TV shows, my wife isn't going to buy that $100 spent on another 3TB hard drive is cheap (relatively or otherwise) if we've got other bills to pay.
There's really two big parts to this "argument" or whatever and I think you're combining them.
The first one is do you want your collected media "online" (ie available electronically, not on the internet) at all or not? If I were on a budget such that I had to choose between storing my content "online" and buying content at all, well I'd choose the content. A media server, or storage for media is 100% optional and something that's just cool convenient. The reason this is the first question is because the infrastructure to electronically store media is the "expensive" part, what I mean is the motherboard, case, CPU, etc are a fixed cost, not related to the media.
Now if you've decided that you can fit mass media storage in your budget, then the question becomes how much. Well I suppose there's two parts to this and they have dramatically different realities. First is the "fixed" cost of just obtaining storage for your media, this sort of falls into your 2, it can be very costly up front if you've got a large library. But as to this, I say see my first part.
But what most here mean when they say it's cheap, they're talking incremental cost. And it's just a fact that incremental cost of storage is miniscule compared to the cost of media. Just as an example, say you buy a new release on Blu-ray. That's going to run about $20, and be about say 50GB. Storage is about $0.03/GB today ($100/3000GB), so that means the storage for one Blu-ray cost at most, $1.50.
What I would say to your budget argument is, if you want to store your movies digitally, surely you can budget to save $1.50 each time you spend $20 on a movie.
$100 spent every 60-100 Blu-rays is cheap. And if it's important to have your BDs "online" surely you can figure something out, like skip buying 5 BDs and put that money in a jar or something for that HDD you want to store the other 55+ BDs.
To be clear I know I'm not saying storage is so cheap that everyone should have media servers and store all their movies "online". What I am saying is if you've decided to do that, the (incremental) cost to store a BD is trivial compared to the cost of the BD itself.
3) Is there any other expense in your HTPC hobby that this same logic could not be extended to also? If you should be comfortable spending whatever on storage because you've already invested a lot more in the content then shouldn't you be just as comfortable spending whatever on your display, your HTPC, your AV receiver, your speakers, and on and on?
Not really, no other cost/component in your HTPC is directly related to your media. It doesn't matter how many BDs you have, it only requires One BD player to watch them.
If you have 10 BDs it requires a lot less storage to hold them than if you have 100 BDs. Every BD you buy has, if you want them stored "online" a storage cost associated with them.
4) Now that you've rationalized spending without limits on every other aspect of your HTPC hobby, go back to step 1.
No one is rationalizing spending without limits, but you have to put things in perspective. Universal remotes are much the same way. I've balk at spending $100 on a good universal remote that can significantly improve the ease of use of a system after spending several thousand on the rest of the equipment.