Why Not to Buy Your Home Entertainment System Online

It’s the day your surround system that you purchased online is to arrive, “somewhere between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.” At 5:30, the delivery guy finally drops your system off and bolts, leaving you to find the box cutter. As you begin unpacking, you ponder where to best place your speakers and how on earth you are going to hide the speaker wires that run from each speaker to the receiver. A little overwhelmed, you open the last box and are shocked to find the subwoofer is punctured. Did you read the return and service policy from your online retailer? Who is going to pay to ship this 95-pound behemoth back to the manufacturer, and who will pay to have a new one shipped to you? Using a reputable independent retailer or custom installer allows you to sidestep all these headaches and more. Here, you’ll find our top reasons to buy from a brick-and-mortar retailer versus an online electronics retailer. See. Feel. Touch. Walking into an electronics showroom, you instantly “get it,”—seeing all of the components in one place—eliminating the uncertainty of what an A/V experience might be like. Shopping online doesn’t offer the true demonstration experience you should have before deciding on what products to buy for your space. For example, with an independent A/V retailer, you can compare TVs firsthand, demo a speaker system, or decide which projector you like best. You wouldn’t purchase a car without a test drive; why should it be any different for an electronics purchase? Leave the research to the experts If you have ever shopped online, you know that a considerable...
Apple iPad Mini Literally has a World of Home Control Possibilities

Apple iPad Mini Literally has a World of Home Control Possibilities

Apple’s new iPad Mini, the newest worst-kept secret in the company’s history, has finally been officially announced. In comparison to its larger siblings, the Mini features a 7.9-inch screen, is a mere 7.2 mm thick, and weighs less than seven-tenths of a pound. But perhaps most importantly, it can be held in one hand, and costs a mere $329. And if you’re not already controlling your home from the palm of your hand, you really have no excuse left. Just as the original iPad made touchscreens commonplace in the home two years ago (has it really only been two years?) due to its features, apps, and yes it’s price, the iPad Mini’s reduced barrier to entry will almost certainly lead to a new boom in the proliferation of touchscreens in the home. Before the iPad, home touchscreens were generally only sold as part of much larger home automation systems. They were the remote control interfaces for advanced home theater, lighting, climate, and security control. And yes, they made it easy to see at a glance what was going on around the home, as well as activate sophisticated, complicated home control scenarios at the touch of a button, but at upwards of $1500 apiece, they were also a significant investment, especially when you consider that home control and monitoring (and maybe rudimentary web browsing) were all they could do. The iPad changed all of that, putting touchscreens in the hands of a much larger audience, who naturally wanted to control their lights and security and home entertainment systems, too. It still required a custom installer to configure all of the...