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Answers for Common Home Theater and AV Questions

If you’ve ever been at a gathering or dinner party, and it is revealed that you are “into” home theater, you will inevitably get questions. You will be tempted to answer honestly. Don’t. People never want the honest answer, they want the right one. What’s the right answer for common home theater and AV questions? The ones they want to hear!

Which TV is the Best?

If you’ve been interested in home theater or AV for any length of time, you know that the answer is an OLED. This is probably the most common home theater question. You’ll be tempted to give the correct answer. Usually some model of OLED (or maybe an LCD if they are in a high-light environment), but don’t. People don’t want the right answer for this common home theater and AV question.

The correct answer is a question. “What TV do you have?” No matter what they answer (even if it is complete crap), you then nod and say, “That’s a great TV. How do you like it?” Because what they really want is validation for their purchase. They want to tell you how great their TV is. And they don’t want to hear that there are better options out there. So, let them talk. Because, as you’ll soon see, these questions aren’t about gaining knowledge. They are about them talking.

OLED…or whatever you have. They are basically the same.

What Speakers Should I Buy?

You’ve probably got your back pocket speaker recommendations. You have a soundbar, a powered pair of bookshelf speakers, and full surround sound options ready to go. Forget all that. They aren’t interested. The vast majority o the time, they’re not shopping for speakers. They have no intention of doing so. You are wasting your breath talking about what makes a speaker great and why your choices make sense.

Instead, ask them about what they have. Most of the time, they’ve got some big box store open box crap or hand-me-downs from the age before CDs. You are either going to praise their luck for finding such a great deal (open box crap) or opine on how “they don’t make them like they used to.” Of course they don’t. They make them better. But whatever. They aren’t really shopping anyhow.

How do I get Sound to my Porch or Deck?

No one, in the history of ever, has willfully added wired speakers outside their home. Yes, there are great options. You could probably do the wiring and set them up for them. But you don’t want to, do you? Of course not! Crawling through someone’s attic to hook up speakers for some dude you just met? No thanks! Instead, the best answer for this common home theater or AV question is the simplest – something they already have.

See, wired outdoor speakers get used very, very rarely. Even those that have them don’t use them very often. But what they do use is portable wireless speakers. We’ve reviewed a few here (link, link, link). They probably have a few at home. Tell them to use one of these. They can use them inside, outside, at the beach…the uses are endless. And if they break, they don’t have to crawl back through the attic or climb a ladder. They just toss it out and get another. Simple!

I Went Shopping for Speakers and They Told Me To Buy…

I hate this common home theater and AV question because they don’t really want to listen to your answer. There is something about the stupid polo the staff wears at the audio shops. It somehow makes them experts. You may think this has something to do with the fact that you are “just” an enthusiast. I can assure you, that is not the case. I’ve been in this industry for nearly 20 years and no one believes me either.

So, just ask what they were recommended and hope that it isn’t total trash. Most of the time, it is. Trash along with overpriced cables that do nothing to improve the sound. The best you can do is hint (subtly) that there might be better options out there. If they genuinely seem interested, then you can expound (slowly, carefully). But be ready to abandon the conversation at the first sign of resistance. They’re going to buy what the employee told them. They are going to love it. Don’t waste your time trying to convince them otherwise.


Why Should I Spend More than $500 on a TV?

What they are really saying is:

“I’ve never spent more than $500 on a TV and my whole self-worth is tied up in this fact. Nothing you’ll ever say will convince me that a TV will be worth more than $500. Never mind that TVs have gotten infinitely more complex and have more features. I’ll always find a way to buy one that is a couple of generations old off a back of a truck from a shady guy that smells of fish and you’ll never convince me it is any worse than that OLED you keep talking about.”

The obvious answer to this home theater or AV question is, “You shouldn’t. Where’s the bathroom?”

2 Comments on Answers for Common Home Theater and AV Questions

  1. Caliloo

    This is a great article, Tom.

    Unfortunately, after many interactions with these kinds of people, you are absolutely right about the required responses.

    Even if you are legitimately happy about something you just bought (my first new TV in 13 years) and would like to talk about it, you’re better off not doing so as they turn the conversation into a competition.

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