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More from Terry Paullin

Events & Tradeshows

One Installer's Opinion: The Perfect Storm

By Terry Paullin • Feb 9 2013, 4:00am

Ahh ... C.E.S. (Consumer Electronics Show) - That immutable bastion of ultra-hype for what's happening sometime next year - maybe .... set in the perfect confluence of fantasy, caprice and wishful thinking ... Las Vegas.

As I stood in the Central Hall of the L.V. Convention Center, I found myself in front of a scene that made me laugh out loud, and was remindful of the ever increasing spin all around us. The displays in front of me had signage that heralded "The future of TV" (4K of course) coming soon (2nd qtr.) - and up and to the left was an even bigger sign from a different manufacturer that informed "8K - The future of TV". We have obsoleted ourselves before we even hit the street. God bless the Marketing Department.

I wish I could put a finger on it, but I can't. It has happened with such regularity that it can't be coincidence. Every time the next new thing comes along...

General Interest

One Installer's Opinion: Times, They are a Changin' - Part Deux

By Terry Paullin • Feb 5 2013, 3:20pm

Some time ago, maybe three or four years back, I penned the first of the above titled reviews - something about "digital is in/analog is out", I think. To no one's surprise, things continue to change in our amusing little A/V world and in my opinion (see Column Title) at an ever increasing rate. Here's an update, as I see it...

General Interest

One Installer's Opinion: What?! ... Better than Home Theater?

By Terry Paullin • Feb 4 2013, 3:15pm

From time-to-time most of us get confronted with an allegation from this direction or that, from one manufacturer or another proclaiming "This changes everything ..." or "Sets a new standard for ..." or "An experience like never before ..." - each hoping to keep our attention just long enough to finish the paragraph. Lucky me, as a journalist, I get piles of press releases, even from companies who can't spell Home Theatre (... that IS how you spell Home Theatre, isn't it?) claiming this uber status for their latest and greatest. Most can be quickly discounted as someone trying to reinvent the wheel and call it "visionary". The thought that a few of these might actually be something new under the sun can similarly be dispelled with a Google search or two.

But on that odd, rare occasion, the real deal comes along. This month's column is about one such game changer...

High-End Audio

One Installer's Opinion: Subtraction as a Means of Addition

By Terry Paullin • Jan 28 2013, 3:08pm

No, I haven't invented yet another "New Math". I think there are many examples in life where Less is More. This time I'm talking about one relatively new case that's close to our home (theatre) - or, at least half of our home, the audio half.

I was thinking lately about how Audio has been getting a short shrift in recent H.T. print. A scan of contemporary periodicals dedicated to Home Theatre reveals more inch/columns aimed at; "4K", "streaming video", "edge lit", Big Screen", "black levels", "2.35 aspect ratio" ...... all video fair.

So why the Aural snub?

General Interest

One Installer's Opinion: Searching for the Truth...

By Terry Paullin • Jan 24 2013, 3:33pm

It's that time of year again when H.T. pundits, ivory tower consultants and I-got-nothin'-better-to-do bloggers put pen to paper - O.K., fingers to keyboards and make all kinds of predictions, forecasts and wild speculations based on the last "customer survey" they saw regarding the future of Home Theatre.

I wish just once I could hear...

Events & Tradeshows

One Installer's Opinion: CES, by the Numbers.....

By Terry Paullin • Feb 13 2012, 3:43pm

On the odd chance your TV was disabled during the second week of January and you missed the evening news during that half-fortnight, C.E.S. is the Consumer Electronics Show held annually in the city of conspicuous power consumption, Las Vegas, Nevada.

General Interest

One Installer's Opinion: A Belated Christmas Wish...

By Terry Paullin • Jan 16 2012, 3:38pm

I subscribe to almost every publication targeted at the Home Theatre arena, both on-line and hardcopies. The objective, obviously, is to try to stay current with new developments and maybe spot a trend or two, before the next guy. As I peruse late November material I can't help but spot an annual and apparently immutable trend to offer Christmas gift ideas to Home Theaterites (yes, I'm licensed to make up new words whenever I feel like it).

Ever the contrarian, and aware that this issue won't land on your coffee table or appear magically next to the ... uh, "throne" until after Christmas, I am pleased to offer -


Here we go, low hanging fruit first...


One Installer's Opinion: A Tale of Two Vendors

By Terry Paullin • Dec 6 2011, 3:33pm

Readers with a strand or two of grey hair will recall a time, somewhere in the late 80's I think, when Quality meant something in America. We heard terms like "zero defects", "Six Sigma", TQM (total quality management), and companies, trying to do the right thing by customers, formed things called "Quality Circles" and the like to get employees invested in the notion. The Ring Leader of the movement in the U.S. was a fellow named W. Edwards Deming and when his preaching's eventually fell out of favor (short-fused management found it too hard to bend the culture) he took his message to Japan where they used it to capture the Auto Industry, apparently forever...

General Interest

One Installer's Opinion: Encouragement/Discouragement ...... and other matters

By Terry Paullin • Sep 6 2011, 2:48pm

I love my job. Have I mentioned that before? If you'll excuse the mixed metaphors, I have my fingers in enough pies that I get to look out over the landscape of our amusing little avocation and see Engineering genius stacked up next to Marketing faux pas (uh, let's call them mis-directions, unclear as to legitimate intent or not) on a regular basis. Sometimes it boggles the mind.

Things to like as I look around are...

General Interest

One Installer's Opinion: Road Trip

By Terry Paullin • Jul 5 2011, 2:18pm

It's a rare and fortunate "find" when you encounter a client who is willing (actually, more like insistent) to have you build three theaters for him. I've been favored with a few such patrons, but none so exacting, erudite and insightful as LD. Let's call him LD, as he is a private man and will appreciate the alias. Save to say, the demographic of this readership likely uses his product in some way, everyday. What follows is the saga of LD's theaters for which, by the time I am done with #3, I will have driven over 10,000 road miles to complete.

LD initially found me through...

General Interest

One Installer's Opinion - A VERY Good Question

By Terry Paullin • May 5 2011, 2:41pm

A couple weeks ago I got an E-mail from a regular WSR reader, Shawn, wanting to ask me a "quick question" ... It seems Shawn and his wife are building a new home down South, and were looking for a home theatre tip or two. His "quick" question really distilled down to three, which I will paraphrase here...

General Interest

One Installer's Opinion - An Admission, an Excuse and Yet Another List

By Terry Paullin • May 3 2011, 2:31pm

Some time ago in this space, I predicted that the post-2010 Christmas season we would see the demise of our beloved DVD as a video format. I cited economies of scale for the Studios and the sheer perceived (and actual) value for the consumer, in the form of clearly obvious performance superiority in both audio and video as the drivers. It didn't happen. Here's why I think it didn't.

The long overstayed stinko economy has taken a toll on almost everything, including...

Events & Tradeshows

One Installer's Opinion - The Boys are Back in Town (The 2011 CES Report)

By Terry Paullin • Apr 28 2011, 2:12pm

Regular readers know that we (several from this publication and hundreds from others), flock in the first week of January to that mother-of-all-things-that-light-up, the Consumer Electronics Show held in the city that is never un-lit, Las Vegas, Nevada.

The big news in Las Vegas this year wasn't a new app. for the next i-Trinket that prints money in eleventeen different languages, nor was it a 175 in. flat panel, or even the announcement of Smell-o-Vision as a 3D accessory - although there's a joke in there somewhere. It was, in fact, the attendance itself. By some counts...


One Installer's Opinion - 3D..isappointment, Chicken Little is screaming ...and other matters

By Terry Paullin • Apr 26 2011, 2:50pm

No, this isn't the I-told-ya-so column ... yet. Events have moved much faster than I predicted when I wrote a column on this topic about a year ago, but it seems we are headed for the same forecasted result. In that column I pointed to lack of standards, lack of content, the glasses nuisance and the problematic usage model in the home as probable deterrents to wide (or any) adoption of 3D in your living room. Press releases received over the past few months from various independent surveys have "leaked" reports of disappointing sales from even the most conservative manufacturers estimates. Last week, an article in reuters.com confirmed "3DTV hasn't caught the imagination of consumers". Reasons cited later in the article were ... uhh ... lack of standards, lack of content and, yup, those pesky glasses. To make matters even worse, in an almost unbelievably inept marketing move, studios partnered with specific manufacturers to offer "exclusive" content packages - as if wanting to spend a ...

Service & Repair

One Installer's Opinion - You Want It To Last HOW LONG?

By Terry Paullin • Apr 21 2011, 2:34pm

I recently got an E-mail from a regular WSR reader (Greg) who, apparently satisfied with our product reviews in other areas, complained that we fell short in commenting on "serviceable life expectancy". Although Greg's comments were aimed at front projectors, I want to expand his Q and attempt to answer for all display devices.

So on these "service" topics, here's the thing...

General Interest

One Installer's Opinion - (another) Terry's Top Ten

By Terry Paullin • Apr 19 2011, 2:23pm

Before we get to the meat, let me first thank this readership for putting up with my rants and occasional insight all this time. It's been a genuine labor of love, I promise you.

Over the years I've offered "TOP TEN reasons to invest in a Home Theatre", "TOP TEN mistakes made by DIY theatre installers", "TOP TEN things that tick me off about this business", "TOP TEN pieces of mis-information likely to be heard from Sparky down at Big Barn A/V" and more recently, "TOP TEN Blu-Ray concert videos". Having completed my 1,000th theatre installation this year, allow me to offer what I think have been the TOP TEN contributions to our collective enjoyment of our various theatre experiences.
As they say on DWTS, "In no particular order...


One Installer's Opinion - This Changes Everything ... (About Calibration)

By Terry Paullin • Apr 14 2011, 2:14pm

Readers of this magazine have long been about examining the best of audio and video ... ... if not for their own consumption, then just to better understand how various Home Theatre products get to be "the best that they can be". Regular readers of video product reviews in these pages have come to understand that NO display product can fully realize its potential until it has been calibrated in the environment in which it lives - perhaps your living room.

Clearly, not all display devices calibrate equally well. There are several factors that impact the end result...

General Interest

One Installer's Opinion - A Half Dozen Reflections on a Thousand Theaters

By Terry Paullin • May 6 2010, 3:06pm

O.K. Truth is, I don't know EXACTLY how many theatres I've actually done. When I started Front Row Cinema in 1988, general accounting was not the top priority. A few years later the IRS convinced me it should be higher on the list. Since then, two hard disc crashes have also taken a toll on the precision of the count. Still, as of April, 2009, the number of installations could conservatively be pegged at somewhere north of 900. Now add another year and something called "editorial license" (a term journalists hide behind when they want to make stuff up) and I've got to be very close to 1,000 installs, plus or minus.

The only systems I count are the ones I have designed (hardware), sourced, installed and calibrated myself, which means I have...

3D HDTVBlu-rayInternet HD Video

One Installer's Opinion - Equine Brutality, The Wisdom of the Doors ... ... and Other Matters.

By Terry Paullin • Apr 7 2010, 4:05pm

Look, I hate to beat a dead horse, ...well, maybe occasionally I ... O.K., O.K., I love to milk a topic that deserves it, and this horse ain't runnin' off into the sunset anytime soon. Yup, I'm talking about the NEW stallion on the block, 3D. While most periodicals are still gushing "2010 is the year of 3D", I'm more convinced than ever that it won't be. Clearly, the hype will be excruciatingly loud and constant for the remainder of the year, but the substance will remain elusive.

Here's the thing...

Environment / GreenPolitics & Policy

Green Nonsense

By Terry Paullin • Dec 14 2009, 4:46pm

We did it again! Yup, my very own State of California has once again been the first to ring the Stupid-Bell in an attempt to lead the Nation into yet another set of ill-advised legislations destined to cost its population jobs, cash and freedom of choice.

Undoubtedly you have read about our most recent embarrassment, the enactment into law of “Standards” that will require most flat panel televisions sold in the State to be 33% “more efficient” by 2011 and 50% more-so by 2013.

Consider for a moment...