Recently, I had to look up my actual start day back in 2002. Here I am 15 years later. It had me thinking of how much the world of AV has changed in that time. Like being the class that first required papers to be printed instead of written, our “graduating class” of the AV world has experienced the analog-to-digital transition.
Here are seven reasons that your AV life is easier today than 15 years ago.
7. The Weight of TVs
If you follow me, then you know that my father is the founder of my company, and that I purchased it from him in 2014. When I first started working retail, daddy-o felt safe leaving me in charge of the store when he wasn’t around, which always seemed to coincide with the arrival of the TV delivery truck. If the picture tube on the Sony WEGA was larger than 27 inches, I couldn’t even push it off the truck, let alone pick it up. I would have to ask the driver if he could come back, which of course thrilled him! Once these monstrous boxes were loaded into our storage room, we could hardly walk around them. Today, bring on that 80-inch flat panel TV, no problem!
6. Cell Phones
Back when I started out, there was no texting, so no updates from your team. Installers left, and you may or may not see them again that day. An afternoon appointment may call with expected time of arrival, and there was no way for you to know. Cell phones have changed everything from the phone call itself to the ability to take payments, to mapping programming, (#7) and beyond.
To this day I remember my father’s desk and clipboard where he would write down orders until he could make freight, at which time he would place the order with the manufacturer. Certainly, computers have changed everything, and it is hard to imagine the world before them—especially a business running before that time. Who else remembers their first e-mail address? How about your first work e-mail address? Today, we take for granted all things that can be done, and of time it takes.
When I started working at the company in 2002, there was a large map of our town hung up in the office. When a road call came in, installers would have to plan their route. Trucks were stocked with other maps, and if they ended up lost, there wasn’t much they could do. There was certainly no turn-by-turn directions app!
Stuck on an odd glitch at a client’s house? Why don’t you google it? Installers today have the world’s knowledge at their fingertips. Today, we can take that a step further with the CEDIA community where you can post to a member of the association and receive responses.
Last week I had an older client who brought me his old DVD player complete with the component connections. I explained to him that his new Blu-ray player I was selling him only needed one wire connection and this connection would send both audio and video. He did not believe us. He made sure he took down my name because he wanted to call me when he arrived home, connected the cable, and confirmed that it would not work. I am, of course, still waiting for the call. Before HDMI, I remember having to figure out what components had what connection to make sure everything would work together. Today, even with some HDMI issues, we have a much easier time installing.
1. TV Stations
Sure, cutting the cord is not yet as simple as it should be, but who else remembers the days of installing satellite dishes before local channels were available? Who remembers when the only way to pull in off-the-air stations was with an antenna and a router? Today, our problem is that there’s too many places to find our favorite shows versus, no way to get them.
Veterans, what over the last 15 years has turned the tables for you, making life a bit easier?