Seven years of being in the install business and selling the home theater systems and now the shoe is on the other foot. For the first time, I am the customer trying to decipher my own home theater needs... and I have to admit that I'm stumped.
With so much experience with each product line, I thought picking out a home theater system for my own home would be a piece of cake, but it turned out to be just the opposite. Every day I spend hours looking through price book after price book and talking to reps about their product lines, making lists of what I want in my house. I have a notepad filled with rewrites of what I want to install and what it's going to cost.
There are pluses and minuses to every system, of course. Some are completely user friendly but don't incorporate all of the components necessary for complete home automation. On the other hand, there are systems that will do everything under the sun but require days of code to be written.
Systems that I never gave a second thought to now just blow my mind as I take the time to really look into them. Then it dawned on me...is this what my customers think when I throw five different systems at them to pick from?
This journey became a huge learning experience for me. It opened my eyes to the fact that I might actually be biased. (I can't believe I just wrote those words.) There are systems that I feel a certain loyalty to that, without a question, I know I'm going to put in my clients’ homes. But in my own home, I am thinking twice. It’s not because I lack confidence in the systems that I love, but because I want to make sure I look under every rock and make sure I missed nothing before making my final decision.
I have come to realize that I rely so much on just a few product lines, while there are many other ones out there that I never gave half a chance. Identifying the perfect system is all about the individual... the family. I’m learning that I need to keep my personal feelings out it and outfit a home based on the best integration for each individual client.
Between my discoveries at CEDIA and all the new revelations I have been unraveling, it's going to take me forever to finalize my personal home theater system. Here's an idea... how about you guys help me out?
If I was your customer, what systems would YOU recommend for me? And if it was you, which one would you put in your house? Is it different than the one you would offer me, the customer, or is it the same?
Think about it and let me know.
Todd Anthony Puma is president of The Source Home Theater Installation in New York City.