How to Become a Home Theater Expert: Video Displays
Contributed by the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association. To learn more about CEDIA membership visit www.cedia.org/join.
When you work with technology — be it security systems, computers, or even cable installations — you get those questions. Questions from clients that start with “So, do you know anything about…” These questions can range from how to keep their neighbor from leeching onto their Wi-Fi to what type of TV they should get. You work with “these types of things,” so clients assume you have a wealth of knowledge. You are already working in their home so wouldn’t it be great to secure some additional business?
LCD and plasma displays account for 76 percent of displays installed in the home, according to CEDIA’s annual market research report, Size and Scope of the Residential Electronic Systems Market in the US©. Helping a client decide on a TV may be a very accessible place to start honing some additional technology skills.
‘So, what do I buy?’
The LED/LCD versus plasma debate is one that we all have heard. It is important for home technology professionals to note neither one is objectively superior in all respects. When shopping for a new TV, it is important to select the type of TV that is right for where and how your clients watch TV in their home. However, here are some helpful tips to help clients decide what route they should go.
As a rule of thumb, an LED or LCD display may be the better choice if:
• you watch TV during the day with the shades open;
• you’re looking for a very small or very large TV;
• energy efficiency is one of your primary concerns; or
• you’re wooed by ultra-thin cabinets and stylish bezels.
Plasma may be your display of choice if:
• deep blacks and richer contrasts are critically important to you;
• you watch TV in a light-controlled environment;
• your family tends to spread out around the room while watching TV; or
• your eyes are particularly sensitive to the slower response time and motion issues inherent to LCD/LED (or the newer processing technologies designed to ameliorate them).
‘I should just buy the biggest one, right?’
While many consumers believe the bigger the better, it is important for you to be able to explain how different display sizes can enhance the overall user experience. Display size can make or break a room, especially in a multi-purpose space. It is important not only to calculate the appropriate size display for the room, but the layout of the room and the positioning of the seats also plays a role in how satisfied a customer will be with the final result.
If you are going to start to dip into this side of the business, then you will need to be able to explain recommendations to your client. With this in mind, CEDIA created a white paper, Selecting Display Size based on Room Size and Seating. This white paper discusses recommended methodologies for determining the ideal display size for multi-purpose areas based on room size and seating location.
The white paper is available free of charge for CEDIA members or priced at $9.99 for non-members in the CEDIA Marketplace at www.cedia.net/marketplace. If you are interested in learning more about dedicated home theaters, those recommendations are addressed in CEA/CEDIA-CEB23: Home Theater Recommended Practices: Video Design, which is also available in the CEDIA Marketplace.
Another tool for calculating the measurements of any display is the video calculator tool, available inside the CEDIA app. The CEDIA app is available for Apple, Android and Blackberry devices.
The recommendations outlined in the white paper are for displays with 1080p resolution and an aspect ratio of 16:9. Recently, 4K displays have become available for theaters and consumers; we will discuss this new technology in next month’s installment of Home Technology Now.