Why Do Mass-Market Brands Have to Make Things So Hard?

11/7/2017 7:35:00 AM
Last week we had a very easy project that should have been in and out in half a day. The client moved into a new apartment that was pre-wired for five zones of audio and just wanted a simple music solution. And, “Oh, while you’re doing it, give me a quote for mounting the TV.” I went back to the office, put the quote together, and had a quick approval. It was a small, $3,500 project, but it would be decently profitably due to the half-day turnaround. Of course, that's not the way it played out. 
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Once all of the equipment came in, we installed all of the audio, it was working beautifully, and the Samsung TV looked great on the wall.

I did my walk-through checking everything, and when I turned on the TV, I got the dreaded “no-signal” message. The cable box was on, all wires were connected properly, and things looked good. But I couldn’t get a signal from anything FiOS, AppleTV or game system all of the inputs were grayed out. I then used the Samsung remote to manually select an input, and the message, “One-Connect Mini not connected.”

Crap, stupid One-Connect. I hate those things. We tried everything we could and even got on the phone with Samsung tech support who remoted into the TV and confirmed it was an issue with the One-Connect. While all my installer did was unplug everything, mount the TV, and plug everything back in, of course this was our fault since “t worked before we got there.”

So, to keep everyone happy, on our dime, I ordered a new One-Connect Mini and went back today to install it. Same thing. No inputs showing, and same error message. All I can think of now is that it is a bad port or board in the TV. Had this been any other brand of TV, chances are one HDMI port might go bad, but the TV would still be usable. Now all the client has are the Smart TV functions. We had to call a Samsung Authorized Repair center and are having a technician sent out to take a look (side note: who knew there were still TV repairmen?!)

So, this easy, small, profitable job is turning into a major headache and profit drain because Samsung uses this ridiculous One-Connect. Needless to say, a new policy is that if there is a Samsung TV involved, we will be getting the client’s written acknowledgement that we are not responsible for the One-Connect or its ports if something goes wrong with it before, during, or after the install. We stopped selling Samsung TVs long ago because of the One-Connect and have become a dedicated Sony shop.

There are other big name players making things difficult. Apple is going to drive me into the Android camp. Not being forward thinking enough to white-list apps to give access to the ARP table now means that I must carry around a cheap Android tablet to run Fing and other network analysis tools. But guess what? The tablet is almost always out of battery when I need it, because it sits in my bag all the time. I am seriously considering an Android phone for my next upgrade because Fing is one of the most important tools in my arsenal, and Apple has crippled it on iOS.

And don’t get me started on the cable companies and ISPs. There is nothing they do that makes our lives easy!

What are you all doing to overcome these issues? Have you had issues with the One-Connect? What are you using for network discovery if you carry an iPhone in your pocket? For the ISPs, at least we do everything we can do eliminate their hardware in the network, but most of the time we still have to deal with the set-top boxes. I’m just not sold on TiVo as a solution as I have to reboot it and deal with random issues frequently on the Bolt+ I have at home. What are your experiences?

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