Home Entertainment Equipment Complexity Pushing Consumers to Specialty Stores
Lewisville, Tex., Dec. 11, 2008 – Home entertainment systems expert Keith Prather is preparing for a landslide of business December 26, when thousands of people who bought home audio and video equipment for Christmas realize they need help to make it work right.
Prather, president of Doctor Sound Home theater, Inc., says the growing complexity of consumer electronics equipment has caught most consumers off guard and left them as ill-prepared to work on home entertainment systems as they are to repair their automobiles. He says throughout the United States owners of specialty stores such as his report a developing trend, as more and more consumers are turning to specialists for help – including those who have already bought equipment from big retailers.
Prather left employment with a big box store more than a decade ago to start Doctor Sound because customers kept coming back to the store to ask him for help making the pieces work together. The big retailers since have added extra-cost installation services, but Prather says they often lag behind consumer needs.
“Today’s systems can store thousands of audio and video files, sending them to screens and speakers throughout a house,” Prather said. “The industry is evolving. Today, we’re not just coordinating the functions of TVs and stereo components, but computers, lighting and security systems, too.”
Specialty store owners say experience doing custom installations every day enables them to get to the bottom of integration problems quickly.
“Companies such as ours are entertainment system specialists whose work includes computer networking; we are not computer geeks who do an occasional theater system,” Prather said. “Consumers are discovering the meaning of that difference. All of our technicians are highly trained audio and video specialists, and we are corporate members of the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA).”
While the trend clearly is toward more complexity, Prather says Doctor Sound still works with customers whose needs are less demanding. Often his technicians are asked to trouble shoot simple boxed systems that a homeowner – or big box store – has set up.