Established in 1991, ET Home Cinema in Doncaster, South Yorkshire specialises in custom cinema room and smart home design and installations.
Taking the installer focus Q&A this week is ET Home Cinema’s Colin Scott, who reveals his proudest moment and discusses problems with consumers wanting the team to rectify poorly designed and installed projects.
What are you up to today?
Today I am working on the acoustic design and specification for a Dolby Atmos 7.2.4 cinema room for an existing client.
How and why did you pursue a career in the AV/install industry?
I have always had an interest for home cinema, hi-fi and anything techy and after leaving the RAF where I worked as an avionics engineer it seemed a natural choice to get involved in the AV/IT industry. I feel privileged to work in an industry that I am genuinely passionate about.
What project are you most proud of in your career and why?
We have been fortunate enough to have been involved in some fantastic award winning projects over the past decade, but there is clearly one project that stands out amongst the rest.
After responding to a CEDIA-led initiative, we volunteered to project manage and install a cinema room for Bluebell Hospice in Sheffield to support terminally ill children and their families.
The generosity from the AV manufacturers involved made me especially proud to be part of this industry and the reaction from the families and the staff at the end of the project was priceless.
What is the worst thing (outside of your control) that has ever gone wrong on a project?
We recently took on a ‘smart home’ project where the client who was an electrician had already pre-wired the property.
On closer inspection and testing we discovered the Cat5e cable was in fact Cat3 cable and was not suitable for HDBaseT distribution.
Fortunately the project was still at a stage where we were able to salvage the situation without too much internal disruption.
As an installer, what is one thing you’re tired of hearing either on the job, or about your job?
“It’s only running a few cables, how hard can it be?” These are customers who don’t understand the training we undertake and hence don’t appreciate the value in what we do.
What advice would you give new installers breaking into the industry?
The best advice I could give would be to ensure that training is a priority, especially anything ‘IP’ related; we owe it to the clients trusting us in their homes.
I have seen a lot of high specification systems broken because of a poorly designed network.
When it comes to an installation, what would you say is the biggest hurdle?
Retrofit installations can be a challenge, but usually convincing clients they require more than one subwoofer.
With the IoT (Internet of Things) increasing day by day, where would you like to see the industry in five years?
Smart home technology adopted as standard by the building industry and manufacturers ensuring interoperability between products.
However we need to play our part too; I would like to see more regulation within our industry – we are increasingly receiving enquires from consumers wanting us to rectify poorly designed and installed projects.
This is creating a negative impression on our industry and could result in potential customers shying away from the services our industry can offer.
You have a magic wand; what are the first three things you would change about technology?
Reliable superfast broadband available everywhere; fibre adopted as mainstream connection medium by all manufacturers and a teleporter device would be nice to avoid the traffic!
Which emerging technologies most intrigue you right now?
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X AV receivers. Object-based surround format systems – if installed correctly – and providing there is sufficient material available could be a game changer for the home cinema market.
What concepts do you think will be the next big thing in the industry?
I have read several articles recently regarding the emerging virtual reality technology. I would love to have some of this kit in our cinema demo rooms when available.
Best reaction from a client?
On a recently completed cinema room the client was almost in tears with emotion when we demonstrated the system to him for the first time.
What’s the best thing about life as an installer?
When we get a reaction from a client like the one previously described, it reminds me why I love this industry so much.
You can invite three people living or dead out for a pint or over for dinner (not including family and friends!) Who are they and why?
Johnny Depp and John Travolta; I am a massive fan of both and think they would be entertaining.
Dr Floyd Toole: audio guru and a legend in our industry.
You can only listen to one album and watch one film for the rest of your life, what are they?
Robbie Williams’ Swing When You’re Winning – Robbie at his best.
Pulp Fiction: I’ve watched this many times – don’t fully understand it – but I love it anyway!
What’s a common pet peeve during a project?
Turning up on site to find the original rack area space has been considerably reduced by the architect or client.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I used to work part-time as a snowboard instructor and still like to think I can master the slopes.