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Why You Won’t Make Your Home Theater the Best It Can Be – Sunk Cost Fallacy

You’ve bought a new TV, you’ve set it up, and you hate it. Maybe it isn’t big enough, maybe you can’t understand the dialogue. It doesn’t matter. You’ve decided you need to do something. The problem is…what? You’ve researched online (maybe even here) and every piece of advice is something that will take a lot of money and work. Maybe the money isn’t the big thing. You don’t mind spending it if it will make a difference. But reconfiguring your whole room? Surely there is something you can do to get a better home theater experience without having to change EVERYTHING. It’s time to talk about the sunk cost fallacy and your home theater experience.

Welcome to the Sunk Cost Fallacy

You’ve probably heard of the sunk cost fallacy before, but maybe not connected to home theater. Many times it is used when talking about gambling. The more money you’ve spent without winning, the more likely you are to spend more money in hopes of making your money back. But this happens in other aspects of life as well. In home theater, we often see the sunk cost fallacy come up when it comes to choosing speakers, picking the right-sized TV, and painting our rooms. But how?

People look around their rooms and state, with confidence, that nothing can be moved. Even if moving a couch a few inches off a wall will make a big difference, they’ll say it can’t be done. Acoustic panels are proven to be one of the best ways to achieve better sound in your home theater. But they can’t be used. Why? Because.

Every Object has Weight

As people look around their room, each item has a weight. Not physically, but emotionally. This is where the sunk cost fallacy creeps into our home theaters. As people look around their rooms, they don’t see the one or two (or ten) things that need to change to get the experience they want. They don’t calculate how much time and effort it will take (usually very little). Instead, all they “see” is how much effort they already put into the objects in the room.

By moving a thing, they aren’t just expending effort, they are throwing away (emotionally) the effort they already spent. On top of that, what if it doesn’t work? Or if it works, what if they hate the new configuration so much that they want to put it back? They aren’t seeing the work they must do, but the work wasted on the original layout plus the extra work they might do if the new layout doesn’t satisfy for any reason. It’s a lot.

Fear Is The Mindkiller

The root of the sunk cost fallacy (in home theater or elsewhere) is fear. We all, on some level, fear change. Change includes risk. Your room, as it is, works. Sure, it may not be the best, but it could certainly be worse. Trying to get better performance might just make it worse…right?

You know that isn’t true. You know that you’ve done your research and that you’ve got a good plan. You know that it really isn’t that much money or time and that you’ll really enjoy (and be proud of) the results. You must fight the fear and just make the changes. Realize what your brain is doing with the sunk cost fallacy and just make your home theater the best it can be! You won’t regret it.

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