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Discussion in 'Home Theater Forum Meets' started by JohnS, Jan 19, 2018.
Missing those meets....
I didn't know this thread existed until it popped up on my RSS feed.
I apologize it took this long for any of us to respond.
I am going to blunt -- and I am certainly only speaking for myself and not the rest of the ownership -- but I think our days of doing the meets are probably over. I know I have personally made a decision (at least at this point) not to be involved.
I know that for many of you, the meets have been a lot of fun. I can tell because we see the same people and families year after year -- and that's very encouraging to us that we are helping to provide an experience that all of you enjoy.
I must say, I look forward to seeing you guys. Many of you I still keep in touch with on Facebook. Some of you I have become even closer to. People always look at me funny when I say that my best friends are those I met on the Internet. And why not? HTF has provided me the opportunity to meet people who share my personal interests.
Many people have no clue or can relate to my hobby. You guys can.
That being said, I just don't enjoy the meets anymore. They have been cumbersome to put together. Los Angeles is such a horrible place to drive in. The daily schedule is so frantic and there is always such a race to get from one event to the other, that by the time its all over, you need a vacation from the vacation.
We should have done a grand meet for our 20th anniversary in 2017. A decision was made to do it a year prior, which I didn't personally agree with. We kind of botched the launch of that meet with exorbitant pricing hoping to cover costs, and when we saw nobody was signing up, we cut the price of the meet at the last minute but it was far too late to get the number of people we wanted. It really was a bad mistake on our part. I think that was the year we also (not knowing) timed the event while CEDIA was occurring which resulted in hardware representatives not being available.
Additionally, one of our attendees slipped on the stairs during the Jeopardy tour at Sony. That resulted in having to take her to the hospital. I think the lady may have had a bone broken. It was very upsetting. It made me realize that moving forward, we could be held responsible for accidents that happen to attendees that may not be directly our fault. In other words, now we have to think about insurance which only raises the overall costs.
Another unfortunate incident involved one of the car groups getting the address to Disney studios mixed up. That very well could have been my fault when mapping out the directions. They ended up going completely in the wrong direction and had to backtrack. The rest of us just hung out waiting for them to show up to start the tour. When they did show up, they were rightfully aggravated by the whole misdirection. I felt very bad for them.
For me, the 2016 meet was a revelation that perhaps we should just stop doing these events. Behind the scenes, everything about it just didn't fall into place very well.
And then there is the changing environment of the studios...
In the early days, the studios embraced the Internet. We were very valuable to them. HTF was social media and a pipeline for which we could visit, look at emerging formats and technology, and talk about it on the forum.
The whole dynamics of that relationship seems to have changed. While the studios read feedback from forums like ours, they are pushing their own interactive groups on Facebook and Twitter. Those social media giants are killing forums.
It's also becoming ever more increasingly difficult to ask the studios to roll out the carpet for us. That costs them thousands of dollars to put together. Our end of the deal was to have our members write about the things they saw in hopes of spreading valuable information about the new technologies we had the chance to view first. However, less and fewer attendees over the years committed to writing feedback and as thus, it made things increasingly more difficult for us to convince the studios to entertain our group.
We were very fortunate to have made many friends at the studios who supported and recognized the value of Home Theater Forum. However, as all of you have seen, there have been so many changes in personnel in the past few years. Some of our biggest supporters no longer work at the studios. Disney just took over Fox and everyone we knew and loved has moved on. I don't even think I can get access to the lot anymore if I were to go out to Los Angeles for a visit.
The rest of the owners have occasionally talked about possibly doing a meet in the future again, but nobody has really committed to the idea and I have it made it clear that I don't want to be involved. It's really difficult to put these meets together. It's always a guessing game for us as to who we could actually schedule. There's pressure on us to make all of you happy, and sometimes we end up having to deal with complaints from the vocal minority that we didn't schedule things to their expectations. We try hard to make these meets a memorable experience for everyone, and it just becomes discouraging when a few aren't completely happy.
Perhaps a meet will be in the cards again one day. Right now, there's nothing going on. The last time we went out to Los Angeles 4k was on the horizon. At this time, the studios aren't even contemplating 8k. They have nothing to promote.
Sorry for the length of this reply. I wanted to be very honest with all of you from my perspective.
Bummer to hear but totally makes sense!
This is the first I've even heard of these "meets" which is my own fault for being disconnected for a long period of time after getting married. Guys like @Ronald Epstein and [I'm sure] many others have put in so much work and taken the risks over the years. It sounds like the events were comprehensive and more akin to what I would call an HTF Trade Show. I'm wondering if the meets could possibly be scaled back to just HTF members getting together to discuss our hobby and whatever else we prefer? If we did that in [for example, Las Vegas] there are plenty of other attractions for us to pursue in our alone time.
I'm confused. I clearly remember the last meet as being in 2015. In fact, I have photos from that meet dated October 2015.
Maybe it was 2015.
I only had vague notions of most these meets in the past and couldn't really consider attending for various reasons (mostly because of young family and finances back then).
But if there are future scaled back(?) meets/events perhaps, I would certainly be interested in the forseeable future...
But yeah, as Ron indicates, the state of the industry and consumer relations probably aren't nearly as conducive to such nowadays... at least for the kind of events that these meets used to be anyway...
Woops, just now catching up with this thread, myself.
Thank you, Ron, for taking the time to write such a thoughtful explanation of the past vs. where we are now. As sad as it is to reflect on the enormous differences between the present time and how things were less than a decade ago, it all makes total sense, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate hearing your thoughts and feelings on it.
I'm happy and grateful to have been able to attend the 2012 meet. I'm sorry I didn't get involved earlier, and that I had conflicts that prevented my joining again later, but I'll always treasure the memories of the people and events of that trip.
I wonder how many HTF members in various regions take a little time occasionally to get together on their own. Being located in the metro NYC area, I'm fortunate to have a fair number of such opportunities, but I could still do better at keeping up with everyone. At any rate, long live HTF, and thanks again to Ron for everything.
I was never able to attend previous HTF meets due to lack of funds or scheduling conflicts at the time. They always seemed like great fun and I appreciate that the members who did attend have always been so gracious in sharing their memories of the experiences.
As another person in the NYC area, I'd love to arrange something smaller scale in the future for people who are either in this area, or who could easily travel to it without breaking the bank. Although we wouldn't have all the studios tours to go on, it would be nice to hang out more in person (it was great meeting you, Charles, at one of the 3D-related activities here). And if there were enough of us and perhaps at a non-peak time, it might not be out of the realm of possibility to pool resources and rent out a screen at a theater to see a particular film if something like that was of interest. I also enjoy cooking as a hobby, so I'd potentially be up for some kind of home dinner gathering - a few of us getting together, sharing a good meal, and throwing a movie on in the background and chatting away the night sounds like a good time to me. Of course, my schedule these days is so wacky that I can't commit to anything just yet - but I love the idea and when my life gets a little less hectic, I'd love to contribute in some way.
A NYC area event would be very easy for me.
Years ago, we all met in Times Square and went to the DVD shop where we were granted a group discount.
Of course, such stores are long gone now.
Would be a pleasure to see you again, Ron!
I can't offer you discount DVDs, but I can make a pretty awesome pork chop
I just want to thank HTF for the great memories.
A day at Disneyland. Had a great time!
Trying out the Sony VR headset
Revere speakers company and small party afterwards at one of the owners house
Meets with Twilight Time staff
All our studio tours
Meeting the HTF owners and members.
And many more that I can't remember right now,
You know what would be fun, at least for me and maybe a few others? Have a meeting with the 3D Film Archive staff. I have met Bob and Greg but it would be cool to see how they do what they do for 3D and stereo sound.
Like the Scootapaloozas, if you build it, they (ie me) will come.
Sam. You make a great point. I didn't get to participate in the earlier events but they were clearly amazing. I think the momentum established by our forefathers [ @Ronald Epstein - is that too much? ]] should continue in whatever form today's times dictate.
For those interested, I would be willing to helm a meet with interested parties here in ATL. Perhaps some are near and could make it with minimal expense. Others would be welcome no matter where they live.
Be warned, there would be no "itinerary" except we all love Home Theater. We would meet at a restaurant or bar and then discuss what we want to do from there.
If you can take a raincheck for 2020, I'd be interested in taking a trip
I don't think I'll be able to host anything in NYC this year, but the Museum of the Moving Image is going to be hosting a special exhibit on "2001: A Space Odyssey" from January to June of 2020 -- if there's anyone interested in coming to the NY area to see the exhibit, maybe we can figure out a date for some of us to meet up and go together, and figure out some kind of dinner plan for afterwards.
I haven't been to NYC in a few years so I could foresee a trip there in the near future as well. I'm going to call what we've done so far a new "grass roots" effort. There are probably enough HTF'ers in most major cities to support "mini" meets which could then be shared with the total membership via You Tube, etc. Thoughts?
Yeah, I'm in, I think it's a good idea.
I'm not a big travel guy. My wife loves traveling and I've definitely gotten better at it, but I'm the kind of guy where, if I can get an extra day off, I generally like to use it to relax at home. (Shocking, I know.) The idea of smaller, more informal meets is interesting to me because instead of using all of my vacation time for the year to participate in a meet (which, granted, sounds like a great trip), I personally would probably have more fun taking a trip that was only for a day or two and then heading home, and then it could be something that I could potentially do more frequently.
LOL - Once upon a time I wasn't a big travel guy either but then I joined the US Navy. I had my first airplane ride when I flew from California to Florida for Boot Camp at age 18. From there I was sent back to California for a couple of years and then to Japan. I lived there for a year and visited places like Korea while in the region. From then on I've been a travel junkie but, as I age, I'm trying to slow down.
When I met my wife she hadn't been much further than the Caribbean. I introduced her to more serious travel with a trip to China and she was initially afraid. Since then we've traveled the world together. As I said above, now I'm trying to slow down and enjoy my home. She's not ready to do that just yet. We leave for Switzerland in just over a month.
Part of my travel issue is that I get a very limited number of vacation days from my employer, and there is no option to take unpaid vacation time. Because I work an unusual, off-hours schedule, I must already use some of those vacation days if I want to see a concert or if I want to do things that most people can simply do on the weekends or after their work day has finished; I don't have those options.
So if I book a big trip, not only does that use up my vacation for the year, but then it also means that if a band comes to town that I want to see, if there's a play I want to go to, any other special event, or just a gathering of friends or family, I won't be able to go.
If I worked a more traditional work schedule where I didn't have to use vacation time to do ordinary, non-vacation activities, I'd feel differently about it.
You can count me in for one or more visits to the exhibit. In fact, I can easily see getting there a few times in the service (or with the excuse) of accompanying a few friends at different times.