I never realized how much I loved my home
theater until it was gone… For the past seven
years, there had been a magical space in my
basement for watching movies on the big
screen, catching the big game as big as life, or
escaping the noise of raising young daughters.
And just like that, it was gone. How I got it back
up and running took far too long and cost much
more money than it should have.
Shortly after I moved from New York
City to Indiana and into my first non-rental
home in 2006, I began building a dedicated
home theater filled with high-end electronics.
Thanks to generous gifts from industry friends,
accommodation pricing, and donated labor
from family, the project cost me very little
money out of pocket.
I had mostly been successful at going it alone
and was very proud of the results, until late last
year when I finally met my match. Right before
the holidays–when I would need my projector
the most–it simply stopped working.
I first consulted with the manufacturer,
then with a locally based veteran calibrator,
and finally a local dealer, who offered to run
a diagnostic report but surmised that it might
just be a lamp problem. The dealer, sensing my
reluctance to spend much money, provided the
contact information for an after-market lamp
supplier. Amazed at the relatively inexpensive
price, I ordered a lamp, installed it myself,
fired up the projector, and…nothing. I bit
the bullet and hired the local dealer to run an
RS232 error report. It was inconclusive, so
he recommended that I ship the projector to
an out-of-state repair center. The diagnosis?
The lamp was installed incorrectly. I’m still
reluctant to believe that I could have made a
mistake during such as simple process, but the
repair center got the projector working, and I
have to trust their conclusions.
The upshot is that throughout the entire life
of my home theater, I have avoided hiring an
integrator. That sounds really bad I realize,
but I guess I’ve always wanted to learn to do
what CIs do by doing it myself. That mentality,
which has helped me understand and write
about our industry through my own hands-on
experience, finally caught up with me, and, in
the end, my value-oriented approach actually
cost me more money and time.
Had I simply hired a custom integrator
from the start, I would have saved a little bit
of money and wouldn’t have missed out on all
of that big-screen fun over the holidays. Then
again, I also would not have learned how easy
replacing a projector lamp is if you don’t screw
it up (or screw it in the wrong way, as it were).