It happened again just last week. A client that swore up and down that he didn't want a dedicated remote because, "Why would I spend $700 for a remote when I can just use this old iPhone that I have lying around and only pay $100 for the license?"decided a month later that he needed me to come to his house to program and provide a new wand-style remote.
I can't think of a single client who has gone entirely app-based with their control system. Yes, for automation it makes complete sense (well, it actually makes more sense to do a dedicated touchpanel, but we discussed that a few months ago). But for controlling an AV system, nothing beats the benefits of a wand remote.
Clients don’t want to be sold to, but they do want to understand the pros and cons of different decisions. It is our role as the expert to advise them and give our best recommendations. Here are the top reasons that I give every client to convince them a dedicated remote is so important:
1. It is dedicated. No one is going to take it out of the room to read a quick email or put it in their pocket by mistake because they thought it was their phone
2. Hard buttons. There's nothing worse than being nice and cozy under the blankets during a movie or your favorite TV show and having to pull out your phone or tablet, swipe it open, enter the unlock code, and find the app just to adjust the volume
3. Speed. Similar to #2 above. If the phone rings or I have to quickly turn the volume down (maybe my baby boy is asleep and a huge action scene started that is very loud), I can't do that quickly with a tablet if I have to unlock it and find the app. With a handheld remote, it's one button push—mute or volume down
4. No distractions. Inevitably, I'm watching TV and take out my iPad to change the channel or adjust volume and I see I have a new text. Now I'm responding to the text or email instead of relaxing with my family. Even worse, if it is work-related, now I'm thinking about something I can't do anything about until the morning. Good-bye relaxing evening
5. Too bright. When I'm in a darkened room (the living room or my bedroom), I don't want the bright light of a touchscreen lighting up the room when I’m adjusting the volume on my TV. I'd rather have the muted screen of a handheld remote.
6. Durability. I often fall asleep in bed with the TV on. Typically the remote is on my stomach and it almost always ends up on the floor. It can handle repeated drops on the floor. The iPad can't.
While I was upgrading my system, my family and I lived with just tablets and dedicated touchpanels. I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal. It was, for all of the reasons and even some more that are more personal (like not having room on my end table for the iPad when I was ready to fall asleep, but definitely would have been enough room for the wand remote.)
This is something I’m sure almost all of you run into. What are some of the key benefits of a dedicated remote that you discuss with your clients?
+Todd Anthony Pumais president of The Source Home Theater Installation, Powered by Fregosa Design, in New York City.