Weighing The Costs Of Budget A/V Installs
Audio-visual technology can sometimes feel like a rabbit-hole of expense, especially for those investing in it for the first time. We've had situations at Buchan Consulting in which we've suggested high-performance systems to budget-conscious clients and had them ask if we could put together a network of cheaper, widely-available components instead. That's a very natural response to receiving recommendations that might lie just outside your initial budget, but if you read on, you'll find some of the reasons that Buchan Consulting tends to recommend industry-leading A/V solutions rather than relying on cheaper, DIY-focused installations.
Future Performance DemandsMany of our clients set out to find A/V technology with particular criteria in mind – they're basketball fans, say, and so they'd like to project a large, quality image but the sound, streaming and DVR capabilities of their entertainment system aren't as important.
These basketball-watching needs might be met with a very basic projector set-up, and the client might be put off by the suggestion of a more complicated control system from brands like Crestron or Control4. To someone with a clear idea of their entertainment needs, adding more capability than strictly necessary seems like a good way to drive the bill up without increasing the use or enjoyment of their system.
What the basic, DIY approach doesn't take into account is potential future alteration in entertainment needs. We've worked with customers that built out bare-bones entertainment systems only to be frustrated later when their system can't accommodate unexpected demands: friends or family frustrated by poor-quality sound during movies, children that are interested in expanded gaming capabilities, or new entertainment formats that are incompatible with their system.
As professional integrators, we've found time and time again that initial investment in a high-grade control system offers significantly greater likelihood of long-term satisfaction, while budget-cutting DIY measures often result in frustration at what the system lacks.
Customer Service RealitiesThe savings of stripped-down DIY solutions often come at a high price: the client must become deeply knowledgeable about each piece of hardware installed, since there's no overall integration and the pieces of the system weren't necessarily designed to work together. Over their lifespan, budget installs also require more visits from consultants than installations that are backed by a high-grade control system.
As we grow at Buchan Consulting, we prioritize building a customer base that trusts and relies on us for their A/V needs. A system that requires regular visits from us after the initial install is going to be frustrating in the long run, even if it saves a bit of money up front. There are contractors that have opted to go the route of cheaper, DIY-focused solutions and found themselves unable to service the volume of follow-up visits to keep those systems in working order.
We're interested in outfitting you with solutions that can accommodate years of use, and using our expertise to anticipate future demands on your system. We will always work within our client's budget, but if our suggestions sometimes include pricier control elements, it's with an eye towards the total lifespan and future enjoyment of your system.