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One Installers Opinion - Home Theatre Print E-mail
Written by Terry Paullin   
Saturday, 22 December 2012
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One Installers Opinion - Home Theatre
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It's that time of year again when H.T. pundits, ivory tower consultants and I-got-nothin'-better-to-do bloggers put pen to paper - O.K., fingers to keyboards and make all kinds of predictions, forecasts and wild speculations based on the last "customer survey" they saw regarding the future of Home Theatre.  

I wish just once I could hear from someone who actually worked where the "truth" lies - that is, the junction of product and end user.


In a different life I managed large sales organizations. We would constantly talk about the need to stay close to the truth. We would drag development engineers and other company execs out to the important (read that large with money) client sites to hear firsthand what they thought of our products, what they would like to see in the next generation and what they hoped we were working on for the longer future. In other words, come out and meet the truth. Inexplicably, too many companies skip this step. A smart guy once told me "A company can only survive by building products people want to buy" - a simple, but ultimate truth in itself.


It's not so different in our world. For products targeted at Home Theatre, the best truth can be unearthed not by reading what some analyst inferred by looking at real (or not) trended data, but by simply talking to a significant sample size of Custom Installers. These are the guys who talk to end users every day, generate proposals that mate available products with the needs expressed and then fine tune the final configuration to fit a practical usage model. In other words, THEY know the irrefutable truth and deal with it on a daily basis.


I have been lucky enough to sit on a couple of Advisory committees of companies who clearly understood the merit of seeking the truth. One company was Fortune 500 and the other is fast approaching. So it is with a bit of a leg up, I contend, that I offer my take on what's happening now and in the process (sorry, I can't help it) throw a bit of cold water on some of the things I've seen in print recently.


Firstly, let me agree with the preponderance of opinion that 3D is not what many had hoped for on either side of the cash register. Said differently, it hasn't generated the incremental revenue that boardrooms across Japan and Korea had bet development dollars on. Never mind the dearth of content, annoying and expensive glasses, images that are dimmer and difficult to calibrate, the bottom line deliverable is still more gimmicky than convincing. It simply isn't "cooked" yet. What advocates point to is the growth in sales of 3DTVs. I can tell you, that at least to the segment I sell to, it is purely an attempt at future proofing ( I say attempt, because when the real deal comes along, it will, of course, require all new hardware) if it is intentional at all. Anyone truly interested in (2D) image quality and is willing to pay a premium for it, can't avoid buying a 3D monitor - it's simply part of the feature set the marketing department insisted on for the upscale models. So yes, sales of 3DTVs are up, but it has little to do with 3D.


Next, to kill two forecasts with one "truth", if you can stand the butchered metaphor, I've read that both plasma TVs and projectors are on their way out. Really? I beg to differ. A less aggressive nay-sayer might say "Well, at least the numbers are getting smaller". I'm thinkin' that dog don't hunt either. Indeed, a case may be made for both categories to point north next year over 2012. Here's why.


Last Updated ( Sunday, 23 December 2012 )
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