Home theaters are practically a must have in every new home that is built. They were once seen as luxuries, but now if you don’t have one your home is almost seen as somehow incomplete. You can spend any amount of money you want on a serious home theater installation says Scott A. of Innovative Sight & Sound.
They range in price from DIY type systems costing $500 to upwards of $1,000,000. Obviously there are some serious performance differences when it comes to this type of price disparity. But just because you went the budget route, doesn’t mean you wont’ be able to enjoy your system.
In fact independent of the money they spent, most homeowners rate their enjoyment based upon how easy the system is to use. Companies that ensure their clients are capable of quickly turning on and off their system record the highest levels of client satisfaction. This may sound pretty basic. However, basic control is anything but basic.
Designing an Interface
Plenty of home theater contractors spend countless hours trying to come up with a decent GUI (graphical user interface) for their clients remote controls. But coming up with a design that is intuitive and efficient is hard work. On top of that it needs to aesthetically pleasing to the eye. And while it can be challenging and fun to design these sorts of graphics and interfaces yourself, you’re time and money is much better spent on using graphics that were created professionally.
Many of the all-in-one remotes on the market come with their own sets of graphics. They range from pretty to completely ugly. Often times they are just unusable. This is when it helps to go with a company that has pre-configured sets of graphics for specific remotes. One such company is GuiFx. They have a range of graphics for remotes from AMX, Crestron, RTI, and more. It makes sense to leave the difficult and expensive work of designing these interfaces to the professionals. Otherwise you could end up with a custom interface that costs you a fortune, but is difficult to use and just plain ugly.
Implementing the Control System
Whether you are going with a full blown home automation system or just a basic theater, the method of control used to operate your system is of the utmost importance. Most A/V dealers understand this since if something is difficult to you use, you are likely to get constant service calls from your clients. It behooves you to find a control and an interface design that consistently works. One press operation is key. If a client has to push multiple buttons just to get their system to turn on this is a recipe for complete frustration.
You should NEVER have to leave a set of instructions on how to use a system. When someone picks up a remote there should be a set of choices for what they want to watch. That’s it. When they’re done there should be a ‘System Off’ button that handles the entire shutdown operation. Good interface design makes this process totally intuitive.
This Policy in Action
Innovative Sight & Sound is a home theater installation and technology integrator in the Tampa, FL area. They are the perfect example of a company that has been through this entire process. They originally attempted to create graphics in-house, but eventually decided it made more sense to outsource this side of their business.
Since then their installations have gone much more smoothly. The attribute the ease of controlling their systems to their high levels of customer satisfaction. And when you’re installing systems that range upwards of $500k having happy clients is key. Most systems require no more than a basic walk-through with the client to acquaint them with the operation of everything in their home. This is how it should be done. You can see many of their projects on their website and on the Innovative Sight & Sound Facebook page.
Innovative Sight & Sound
5060 Coosaw Creek Blvd
North Charleston, SC 29420