Finding qualified home automation, home cinema, and A/V installation experts in Central Indiana can sometimes be a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be. In our previous article, we talked about deciding whether to use a professional installation expert (a/v integrator) or simply to go DiY. By this stage in your home-/office-improvement project, you may have come to the conclusion that hiring an expert is the right solution for you. That’s great! But it leaves you with an even more important question:
How do you find the right AV company?
Not long ago finding a company that specialized in stereos and TVs was as simple as looking for brick and mortar stores located near you. In the past 10-15 years there has been a major shift away from brick and mortar stores. With rare exceptions, knowledgeable A/V and Smart-Tech companies cannot afford to have big showrooms anymore.
You could certainly go buy electronics at a big box store, like Best Buy, or even online, but the employees of these stores often don’t know how these electronics act together. At best, they oversell; at worst, they provide misinformation that derails your project.
If you’ve opted to hire professional a/v installation experts, there are several ways to find the best one for your project.
Securing the Perfect Home Theater Installation Expert
A tried-and-true method! Whom have your friends and colleagues used? What were their experiences with the company they chose? Would they recommend them? Has the work held up over time? What about customer service before, during, and after the work was completed?
The modern-day Yellow Pages! This will get you a listing of companies but not necessarily a listing of all companies. And it might not give you any idea as to their skill or their reputation.
• Did the representative from the company truly take the time to understand the application and functionality that you are looking for?
• Do they have the technological expertise and experience to meet the needs of your project. In your interviews with potential AV companies pay close attention to their answers and how they carry themselves in your home or business.
Start with a Simple Conversation
The process of working with an AV Integrator should start with a simple conversation — or “discovery” session — where you talk about what you want to accomplish. During this first contact, the consultant should mostly listen in this first meeting.
(One of the best ways to make sure you’re hiring the best possible professional is if they let you do most of the talking. After all, they can’t hear you if they’re too busy talking over you.)
Meet with the expert on-site, if possible. If the site is still under construction or in the planning process, meeting while looking at prints is the ideal place to start. By explaining your needs and wants an experienced AV consultant can then design a system that will perform and often exceed your expectations. A simple system may be controlled with a single remote control while a more elaborate system may be controlled with several “local” remotes or smart phones and smart tablets. Often the best answer is a melding of the old with the new.
The key to a successful outcome is open communication between the client and the AV company.
Keeping It Simple
The types of systems an a/v installation expert might work on varies with each client — indeed, with each project! Some systems are simple one-room setups with nothing more than a TV with a cable or satellite box, a BluRay player, and perhaps a media streaming device.
From there the complexity goes up. Hiding equipment in cabinets or closets; embedding speakers in walls and ceilings; integrating Lutron® Lighting controls and motorized shades; and integrating security and surveillance can all add multiple layers of integration that if done properly can provide a wonderful experience. A good AV company will know how to wire and hide everything to make all of these little boxes disappear into the background.
Highly skilled A/V installation experts know how to make simple even the most complex projects. Your initial discovery session with your
Achieving a system which is seamless to you the consumer often takes a lot of behind the scenes work to get all to operate as you want. Look carefully and don’t be afraid to express your expectations up front.