Saturday, October 1, 2011

Race to the Bottom

I am all for saving money, but I think as a throw away society we have reached the bottom in  our race to the bottom, price wise, for our electronic goods, at the cost of quality. The average DVD, BluRay, CD players only last 12 months if you are lucky. That's ok, I hear some of you say, but it is not only the life of the product that has been compromised, but also the performance of the product.

With all the JB Hifi's, WOW sight and sounds, Harvey Normans, Joyce Maine's, The Good Guys and the list goes on, it is easy to get a 'bargain' on price, but what about the correct advice that comes with the product, or the advice on how to use, connect, maintain and get the most out of the product?

Being in the the 'Boutique' AV industry, we are constantly seeing clients spend a lot of money on 'cheap' items and being conned that all they need to achieve top-end quality are some expensive cables, such as the monster cables. Yes, cabling is important, but why have expensive cabling on equipment that doesn't perform? It is a false economy and gives a very disappointing outcome in picture, audio and overall experience.

A bargain is not getting something 'cheap', but getting something of quality for a fair price and having that product work to its intended performance level, having the product positioned  and calibrated correctly. When  a system has been incorrectly matched, incorrectly cabled and poorly maintained, even us professionals are limited in how we can fix the probem. It is not the fault of the person/company trying to fix the problem that the client needs to spend more money than it would have cost to do the project correctly the first time, but the responsibility of the client to get the correct advice first.

Whilst most of the people I rub shoulders with in the professional AV industry like to help where possible, they should not be expected to be out of pocket because the client tried to save money.

My advice - consult a professional at the start, but make sure they have the credentials behind them. A professional is not your commission-based sales person at one of the 'chain stores' whose goal is to get product out the door at any price - not much of a sales technique. We have seen time and time again, a lot of money being spent on componentry and cabling that is not even required to get the system working. That is money that could have been spent on securing a product of better quality.

During the design period of your new house, consult a professional, having the correct cables run before the walls are up will make a big difference to the end products' cost and performance and make having a home theatre that much more enjoyable.