Category Archives: Residential

JD Powers “2016 TV Satisfaction Report”

This annual report measures satisfaction with TVs among customers who purchased one in the past 12 months. The 1,000-point satisfaction score takes the following factors into account: performance/reliability, features, price, ease of operation, built-in online capabilities, customer service and warranty. Eligible brands included Samsung, LG, Hisense, Emerson, Sharp, Sony and Vizio.
Samsung once again ranked highest in the 50-inch or larger TV segment with a score of 859. Sony, meanwhile, displaced Samsung from its 2015 position as the highest ranking brand in the smaller than 50-inch TV segment, with a score of 843.

Among the findings:

Consumers with a TV 50 inches or larger were more satisfied than those with a smaller TV (845 points vs. 812).
Price was top of mind for all consumers. Sixty-seven percent of those with a TV smaller than 50 inches cited price as the primary reason for the selection, while 55 percent of those who purchased a larger one said the same.

Both sets of consumers said the in-store display was a primary source of information during the shopping process, with 22 percent saying they relied primarily on the in-store displays. Last year, about half of consumers said the same.

Smart TVs: 80 percent of TVs 50 inches or larger, and 59 percent of the smaller TVs, were smart.

Curved: 27 percent of those who purchased a TV 50 inches or larger chose one with a curved screen, while 17 percent did the same for a smaller TV.

4K Ultra HD: 52 percent for the larger TVs; 25 percent for smaller models.

Most common TV problems cited by consumers:
*Glare and/or reflection (25 percent)
*TV doesn’t connect to Wi-Fi (18 percent)
*Remote control doesn’t work properly (13 percent)
*Sound is distorted, low or missing (13 percent)

Source: Lisa Johnson, TWICE online magazine.

Summertime is a Great Time for…

…Going to the pool, vacations, visiting family and friends, cook-outs, and festivals. It is also a good time to prepare your home’s network infrastructure for the coming of fall.

When September rolls around, if you have children you will be busy getting them back to school and to after school sports, clubs, etc. If you don’t have children, work will most likely pick up (it always seems to slow a bit during the summer due to colleagues and clients vacationing) so you may be staying later or bringing work home.

In addition, you may be considering some additional electronics or new electronics in your home come the holidays. Waiting until you already have that new 4K TV to ensure your wiring is set up for it will delay that immediate gratification when you bring it home.

So, do an analysis of your home’s network capabilities now. Are there rooms that are not getting strong internet? If you got a new TV, would you put it where the last one is located or elsewhere in the room. And, what about the old one…if it still works where will it go? Upstairs in the guest room perhaps. Is that room wired for a TV?

Plan and schedule network and electronic changes before the rush starts in the fall.

Most Frequently Asked Questions Answered

Q: Why do I have dead spots or slow bandwidth in my home, when I pay for high bandwidth from my carrier?

A: The high speed bandwidth your carrier gives you is what comes into your home. From that point, it can disintegrate depending on your network infrastructure. For devices hard wired (directly connected to your router) to your carrier, you should still be able to get that bandwidth. However, for wireless devices, you are depending on your routers ability to function as an Access Point. Where your router is located, the construction of your home and the # of devices you use can impact your speed and availability. To correct “no and slow” internet, the only solutions are either replacement of the router, hard-wiring, adding additional Access Points or a combination of these solutions.

Q: Why did I get good Internet speed in the past and now I don’t. I haven’t changed carriers?

A: In the past, we only used our Internet for our computers. Now, it connects to TVs, Audio, gaming and mobile devices. So, while your network may have worked well in the past, you have now added more traffic to it, therefore it may no longer be able to handle your new needs.

Q: Can I upgrade my speakers for my audio and my surround sound and still use my existing receiver which is working fine.

A: Maybe. While older receivers may still work, they may not be compatible to newer TVs and speakers.

Q: I bought a new TV seven years ago. Why has it stopped working?

A: The lifespan of electronics is getting shorter due to the complexity of its operating system and the increased usage by consumers. You should plan a maximum of 7 years for replacing a TV (based on a 2014 study), though most are replaced earlier due to incompatibility issues when replacing other electronics.

Q: My TV isn’t working and it is out of warranty. Do I repair it or get a new one?

A: This is by far the hardest question and we can’t really answer it. Consider the age of the TV and the cost to repair (which will include a troubleshooting cost & repair cost), and time to get it repaired. Compare that to the cost of a “most likely” better TV. Also, if you do decide to get it fixed, be sure to ask about a warranty on the repair. If it breaks again within 6 months, will that be free of charge. Note: We do not repair electronics. Contact the manufacturer to be directed to a repair company.

Get to Know your AV contractor

Just as many businesses specialize in a type of food; Italian, French, fast food, etc., those working in the audio/visual industry also specialize. Why is this important to know? While we would love to be the “go to” for all residential and commercial AV needs, just like our colleagues we have our own specialization. We encourage you to identify your needs based on the information below and seek out the best contractor for the job.

Not all AV companies service homes. Some, such as ours, service homes & businesses. But, each contractor has their own specialization for both residential and commercial customers. I will focus solely on residential AV work.

Large home theater and whole house AV – These companies specialize in building large home theaters and/or designing & setting up video & audio experiences in the entire home. Theaters include projection and sound systems, seating, a sophisticated control system and even the construction needs, such as platforms, acoustical walls and such. Most home theaters start at $30,000 and go up from there. Most of these companies need a multi-man crew to work on these jobs and may only do 1-2 theaters at a time depending on the size of their company and the size of the theater. When a customer wants an entire home set up with AV, these companies are the best to use. Most of these companies stay away from jobs that can be done in a day or two, since their crew is usually tied up on large projects. They also generally do not perform service calls for anyone other than their past customers.

Basic AV installations – There are companies that focus primarily on what we call “plain vanilla” TV wall mounts. This involves running cable within the wall, mounting the TV and setting up the cable company remote control. They also may be able to run wires for speakers. Many of these companies price per package rather than on an hourly rate. They are great for simplistic needs that don’t involve any design work or more complex work that requires senior level technicians. These companies generally do not perform service calls because they do not have the needed expertise on staff to troubleshoot and repair.

Custom installations (mid size) – These companies fit between the large & small AV contractor. They have the expertise to create a custom AV experience. However, medium sized AV companies vary greatly in services, products recommended & level of experience. Just as we specialize in networking infrastructure, others may not have a networking specialist on staff. However, they may sell & install sophisticated control systems that we don’t such as Crestron or Control 4, motorized blinds, vacuum systems and outdoor cameras. The best way to identify between these contractors is to visit their website and read what they offer. There is more to a custom installation than a picture, so go beyond the gallery to really understand what they offer…or don’t.

Independent contractors – There are AV people who can be found on places such as Craig’s list. While they may be able to inexpensively set up an AV system, most of these people are not licensed, do not offer warranties and don’t carry insurance. Most of these contractors work as subcontractors to licensed AV contractors, but take on their own work as well. They are also going to use inexpensive materials so that they can make more money since they don’t have relationships with distributors, so be wary of brands.

We encourage you to visit our website to see more about what Home & Office Network Solutions specializes in. If you are unsure whether we are the right fit for your next project, just call and we will let you know if we are a good fit. We would rather turn away business to those who would do a better job than take on something that is not in our wheelhouse.

What is considered a “Custom” Home Technology project?

The definition of custom is “made or done to order for a particular customer.” Since all home technology installations are not “off the rack” by definition alone they are custom made. Even the most basic TV mounting on a wall is generally custom made. One customer may want just the TV mounted, wires hanging down to connect to the cable outlet. Another may want the wires run through the walls to their cable connection & components. A third customer may want the TV mounted, and wires run to components within another room, utilizing an IR relay set up to manipulate the components. Then there are a variety of mount types to choose from; flat, tilt, articulating, down & out, that can be selected to customize just the TV mounting.

Add speakers or a sound bar, a universal remote control and networking for streaming and you’ve got an even more custom made entertainment system.

How about audio? In-ceiling or in-wall speakers, wireless speakers, multiple zones with separate controls by room and outdoor speakers with weatherproof wiring & casements, all connected to a central amplifier inside the home.
Head spinning yet? How about accessing all the video & audio components with your iPad or smart phone? Trading out the 5 remotes for a universal remote that is custom set for your audio & video needs.

It can get even more complex. Add lighting, a central control system, racks, a large home theater with projection and sophisticated sound & acoustics.

The possibilities are nearly endless with home technology these days. Don’t shortchange your needs with package deals. Get a true “custom” designed system that fits “your” needs now & in the future.