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Moving? Cancel your Electronics subscriptions

When we move we know to cancel our gas and electric, cable and Internet service. But, what about your home electronics tied to your name?

If you are conveying your TV, sound devices such as Sonos, or a Universal remote control, you need to be sure to cancel the plans tied to them.

TVs: Be sure to log out of your apps such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. Otherwise, the channels that will come up will be from your account, risking charges and privacy issues.

Wireless devices: Sonos is one product that allows you to use an app from your smart device. If you are conveying Sonos, you want to be sure to logout of all services that you are subscribed too and remove the device from your Sonos account via the Sonos App. It doesn’t hurt to do a factory reset of the device(s) too.

Universal remote control: If you are leaving a remote control that controls multiple devices, even if you take one of the devices, the remote will allow the new owner to login to some/all of the apps that you used, so best to log out and let them get it reconfigured to work with their electronics.

TiVo: TiVo is a subscription service, so you need to cancel it even if you are selling the system to the new owners.

Ring doorbell and Nest products: Cancel the subscription that you are paying monthly. Resetting the devices to factory defaults is also recommended The new owner needs to then configure the devices and set up service.

The best thing to do is just think about any apps paid or not, within your home and any subscriptions, and cancel all of them before moving. Informing the new owners what they will need to take over or set up would be a very neighborly thing to do before they move in.

DIY Troubleshooting Techniques

Before you schedule a service call, we encourage you to attempt to resolve the problem yourself. Here are some basic ways to troubleshoot your problem. If the problem cannot be resolved, please call our office to schedule an appointment for a service call.

1) Check that the power plug is plugged in. Yes, this sounds common sense, but if you know you didn’t unplug the electronic device, you may assume it is plugged in, when in fact a cleaning person, child or other member of the family may have unplugged it. A lot of components have power cords with multiple connection points. It starts with a power cord that is plugged into the wall outlet. That cord plugs into an external power supply. A separate cord from the power supply plugs into the device. Check the entire connection chain.

2) Check that the cables are tightly secured. Reseating (unplugging and plugging back in) the cables can resolve the problem. If components were moved even slightly, a cable could have come loose, especially HDMI video cables. Obviously, if a cable is lying on the floor, it most likely came fully out and needs to be re-attached. Otherwise, just push each cable gently into the component to ensure it is secure.

3) Reset electronics. To reset any electronic device, you need to turn it off completely, i.e. power it down either by unplugging it or turning off your surge protector, not just hitting the power button of the remote or on the device. Wait 30-45 seconds & turn on or plug back in. This can resolve problems caused by power sags/ surges & updates that did not restart the device properly.

4) Reset your router. If your communications carrier had even a short blip in their service, your router may have been impacted. Go to the router, find the power source and turn it off. Wait 30-45 seconds & turn it back on.

5) Testing to see if your TV is broken. If it doesn’t come on at all and is plugged in, it is dead. If it comes on but the picture is not normal, it may be broken. It could be a loose cable or a problem with your cable/satellite service. Check to be sure you have cable/satellite service at other TVs, as you don’t want to consider it broken if cable is down or your cable box is broken. If you can’t get your channels to change with the remote, use the buttons on the front of the cable/satellite box. The problem may be with the remote.

6) Testing to see if your component is broken. Most components either work or they don’t. Try the power reset described above. If you are using a universal remote control try using the specific remote that came with the device to see if it functions correctly. For example; for a Blu-ray DVD player, use the Blu-ray/DVD remote, turn it on & off, open the disk tray.

7) Testing to see if your remote control is broken. The number one thing to check is that the batteries are fresh/charged and that they are seated properly in the remote. Remotes take a lot of abuse. If it gets dropped on the floor the batteries could have come loose or unseated just enough to cause the remote to act strangely. If the equipment is being operated behind closed cabinet doors then there is a secondary device that facilitates that function. It could be either a separate electronic device that talks specifically to the remote or a universal IR relay system. Both use little “emitters” that are attached to the devices that they are controlling like the cable box. These emitters sometimes get knocked off or the adhesive holding it on has failed. Just placing the emitter back on the unit may fix the problem. Additionally there is an IR sensor that is usually attached to the front of the TV. This also may fall off and needs to be reattached.

8) Reset network. If you have more than a single network device resetting your network when it isn’t operating correctly can take more than just resetting the router. All devices such as network switches, wireless network extenders, etc. need to be reset. As a general rule of thumb turn everything off first and leave it off. Start with the cable modem (router if you have Fios) and power it on. Wait 1-2 minutes then power on the router. (already done if you have Fios) Wait about 1-2 minutes then start powering on the network switches and wireless extenders. If you follow that sequence then all of the settings will be exchanged properly between devices and the network will have a clean start.
We highly suggest you print this article out and keep it somewhere handy so that you have it should you need to troubleshoot.

Note: We have a new Virtual/phone troubleshooting option that allows you to DIY the problem with the assistance of our tech. It is far less expensive than an in-person visit. Ask about this when calling for a service call.

Will Trade War with China impact Electronics?

Most of the components of cellphones, computers, and other electronic products are now manufactured in China. So, tariffs against China will result in increased costs of these components to come to the US, and passed on to American consumers. Even if China doesn’t raise the tariffs on electronics being imported here, they will raise the price of other products that will reduce the ability to buy electronics. “The latest tariffs will add another $500 a year in costs for the average U.S. household,” Katheryn Russ, an economics professor at the University of California at Davis, told NPR.

“Companies won’t immediately increase their prices”, said Jon Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation. “Retailers will try to endure as much of the costs as possible but 25%, they can’t absorb all of that,” he said. “Products currently shipping to the U.S. for sale won’t see hiked prices, but some products may become more expensive in the summer, such as back-to-school items”, he added.

Electronics are among the hottest holiday toys and birthday gifts and, as such, analysts say this could impact retailers including Walmart, Home Depot and Best Buy.
As far as products that are part of our installations…U.S.-levied tariffs on steel and aluminum have manifested in rising prices of racks and enclosures, which are largely made of these materials.

The steel and aluminum tariffs may also affect coaxial cables (which use copper-cladded steel conductors and aluminum for shielding/braiding/armoring)
Tariffs on plastic molded parts can affect wall plates, connectors, and patch cords.

While some of the larger companies may try to absorb some of the tariff costs into their profits, as a small business near the end of the product chain, these increases will need to be passed on to customers.

Using Technology to Save You a Service Call

Service calls are expensive, both to the business and to the customer. Unless the business operates where trucks are out on the road all day, every day, putting a vehicle and person specifically on the road to perform a short service call is a large business expense. Many AV companies won’t even perform service calls, unless it is part of a maintenance plan with an existing customer.

We will perform service calls for both customers and non-customers and while we must roll a truck for a homeowner or business that we’ve never done work for, we are trying our best to avoid some trips with existing customers.

By using the customer’s video phone, we attempt to troubleshoot a problem with a customer who is willing to use FaceTime or Facebook Video. The customer schedules a call with our technician and is directed to show various things that could be causing the problems. This type of Virtual troubleshooting isn’t as effective as an in-person visit, but it is faster and depending on the problem, can result in the customer fixing the problem with the virtual assistance of the tech. The cost is the same hourly rate as a service call, except that there is no minimum 1 hour fee and no travel fee.

For more information or to see if your existing problem qualifies for a virtual service call visit, contact Bonnie by phone or email.

Tips for Packing Electronics for a Move

Televisions, amps, subwoofers, receivers, speakers are all high-dollar investments, and you want to make sure those investments are not damaged when moving. Here are 10 tips to consider when packing electronics for your big move.

1. Follow the product manual
Follow manufacturers’ advice for packing electronics and storing them as well. They know the most about what it takes to protect the product. Consult the owner’s manual or manufacturer’s Web site for details.

2. Save boxes for repacking
If possible, save the original boxes and packing materials for repacking. Otherwise, you won’t find packing materials that fit as well.

3. Essential packing materials
If the original packing is not available, start with these essentials: sturdy cartons, bubble wrap for wrapping things up, tape, scissors and felt-tip markers to number and label each box.

4. Use color stickers for cables and take pictures
When you disassemble electronics such as computers, stereos and other devices with numerous cables, place small colored stickers on each cable and the same color sticker where the cable connects to the device. You can also take pictures of the existing set up so that you know what goes with what, and how to set it up the same as you had it.

5. Check the temperature in storage
Sensitive electronics such as computers and TVs may need to be stored in climate-controlled units. Seek advice from the manufacturer or your storage facility.

6. Valuable items
To reduce the chance of attracting unwanted attention from potential thieves, place small, expensive items such as stereo equipment, TVs and camcorders in unmarked boxes. At your storage facility, you can place these items out of view toward the back of the storage unit.

7. Wrap your electronics
To minimize damage caused by dust inside electronic devices, wrap electronics in linen or bubble wrap.

8. Use packing tape
Seal boxes completely with packing tape to keep out the dust.

9. Extra protection
For further protection, cover electronics with moving pads, sheets or light blankets.

10. Moving inventory list
Make a list of the components in each box. With luck you’ll be putting all this back together — make sure you’ve got all the parts (including both sides of the TV mount) before you start assembling.