You Can’t Swim or Cook in Your Home Theater
As the owner of an audio/video company, I’m constantly reminded that I am not just competing against other A/V companies, but also against other uses of my clients’ disposable income. Let’s face it, most of us can’t buy everything we want all the time, so we have to make choices. In my world, the choices are frequently between three things: an A/V system upgrade, a kitchen remodel, or a new swimming pool. Now don’t get me wrong, I totally support pools and have owned one at pretty much every house I’ve ever lived. Similarly, I definitely appreciate a nice, new kitchen with modern appliances. But, although I’m obviously biased, I’m here to tell you that upgrading your A/V system is absolutely the way to go, and here’s why…
As I mentioned, I’ve always had pools where I’ve lived, and I probably would never be without one. But if someone told me I had to either give up my pool or my media room, the choice is not even close. First of all, the pool, even in sunny Tucson, can only be used about four or five months out of the year. If you have a nice solar heater and a solar blanket, you may even stretch that to six or seven. But that still leaves half a year where you can’t use it at all. A nice A/V system, on the other hand, will literally be used every day of the year. For the price of a pool you should be able to get a very nice, fully automated system that covers multiple rooms of your home. The lifestyle and convenience improvements of the automation are probably worth it by themselves, but the pleasure of listening to music or watching a movie in a well-designed media room system is second to none, in my opinion. Our family has enjoyed several hundred wonderful “movie nights” over the last 12 years in our current house. Over that same time period we’ve probably enjoyed maybe a few dozen pool events.
I must admit, one of the first things we did when we moved in our current house was upgrade all of the kitchen appliances. I think we spent about $15,000, and it was definitely money well spent. (Fortunately the cabinets and countertops were already very high grade, otherwise we probably would have had to spend $40,000 to $50,000.) But, just like pool scenario above, if I had $40-50K to spend on one and only one upgrade, the A/V system would win, hands-down, once again. Yes, the kitchen is the focal point of the house and the spot where everyone gathers for most events. In that respect I would say that it is probably the equal of the A/V system – it gets used and appreciated pretty much every day of the year. But the kitchen upgrade tends to be more aesthetic than functional. Sure, some modern appliances have touch screens and other cool features. But the cabinets and countertops and most everything else pretty much function the same way they always have for 50 years or more. With a modern A/V and automation system, you get new lifestyle enhancements and capabilities that you’ve never experienced before. Your life is improved significantly.
There are lots of different ways we can all spend our hard-earned and very limited disposable income. Things like a new pool or a kitchen remodel are certainly viable options in this department, and they will all almost certainly improve your life. But investing the same $25,000 to $50,000 in a quality home automation and A/V system will, in my humble opinion, improve your life by a significant margin over the other options. If you’ve got the money, do it all. But if you can only do one thing – I say go for the automation and A/V system!