Who Should Install Your Home Theater System?

Over the years, I have had the honour of seeing and installing some of this country's best residential and commercial audio video systems. On the flip side I have also had the distinct displeasure of seeing and hearing about this country's worst installs. This, I guess is why I feel a deep need to write this article to inform the general public about the "Do's" and "Don'ts" in the AV industry. Similarly there are some notable myths in the industry that give me a chuckle when they are brought up in a sales meeting or when I visit a local AV box store.

Myth 1 - The store where I bought my equipment is going to install it cheap

True: You can count on a cheap install from a retailer. Generally speaking, retailers are product oriented. Their knowledge base and training is focused on product specs, features and industry buzz words. They have very little knowledge of residential and commercial construction. A good audio video installation firm will have a thorough knowledge of how your home or commercial property is built and will be able to advise you on potential installation problems and wire routing techniques. Equally as important, a good installation firm will have a much better knowledge of system set up, programming and calibration. The best part about using a custom installer is that they will actually come out to have a look at the property before they quote your project. I could never understand how the box stores could actually have the audacity to quote an installation without seeing the environment.

Myth 2 - My electrician should be able to wire my system

False: Firstly, I have a great respect for electricians as they are experts in their technology and have solved many problems for me on issues related to their field of expertise. The fact of the matter is that Audio Video installation is a completely different animal. It's High Voltage vs. Low Voltage. A good AV installer is trained to route wiring properly, trained in speaker placement and trained in system set up, programming and calibration. A big difference between plugs and receptacles. On many occasions, we have been hired to troubleshoot system problems and 90% of the time it is a wiring problem. There are 4 or 5 different methods to wiring an audio system and most electricians are not versed enough in this to consult you on the best wiring method for your property. It does make sense to think that " An electrician is into wire....therefore, he should be able to do this" Not true.....Good custom installers and integrators have years and years of training in this industry. Yes, an electrician can learn it over time, but do you really want to be paying for his learning curve... Probably not... I wouldn't...

Myth 3 - My brother-in-law knows this stuff: He can set it up

True: But only if he is a trained custom installer. This one makes me laugh the most. I get calls about this every week. The call usually starts with: "Can you send someone over to fix this mess... and please don't tell anyone because I don't want it to get back to him". Once again, this may seem to be cheap and effective in theory but as I have stated before, AV is a completely different animal. Unless, you have a thorough knowledge of construction, setup and programming, the likelihood of having a system that operates optimally is slim. If it works at all...

Keep checking back to see similar articles... Do yourself a favour and consult with a local AV installation firm!