I didn't read all the replies, so excuse me if I am repeating what someone else has said. The fact is if you’re in the car with all the road noise, in the back yard with guests at a party, or roaming around the house while listening to music, hi-rez isn't going to make the least bit of difference. I don't have any 8-tracks any more (my '72 GTO had an 8-Track player), but I do have vinyl, cassettes, reel-to-reel, Laser Discs, CDs, SACDs, DVD Audio discs, Beta tapes, VHS tapes (you can make quite good recordings because of the helical scan if they track well, the Beta machine has the ability to record digital bitstreams), and probably something else I'm forgetting. The guests in the back yard aren't going to give hoot what format is being played as long as they are having a good time.
On the other hand, if I'm gonna plop down in the sweet spot of my Marantz/Klipsch 7.2.4 system, of course I want to listen to the highest rez available.
That being said, I can think of 10s of situations where "inferior" quality recordings would be just fine. How about background music at work? Are you going to take your 40K system to the beach? I think not! A cassette would be just fine with all the noise going on. Even if you had a hi-rez portable player, unless you are listening to it with great headphones, no one else can enjoy it without some "cheapo" battery operated speakers.
So stick that in your pipe… ; - )