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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My friend and I decided to go to CES this year for the first time, after being told that it was now open to the public. We find out after trying to enter the building that it is still only for people in the business. We were so mad that we wasted the whole trip to Vegas and spent all that money and not be able to see anything. Luckily I came up with the idea of going to Kinko's and making some fake business cards which got us into the show. But we were asked repeatedly what we do and such, to which the usual reply was installers of mobile audio, since that is something I am familiar with. We talked to lots of people there, all of whom really are in the business, but we couldn't let them know we weren't, so I will ask my questions on here. I am a bartender with quite a bit of knowledge about car audio, and learning a lot more about home theater since I have been building my own speakers and doing lots of research. My friend is in the management department of a local hospital. Neither of us have any formal training or work experience in home theater, but we both want to get into that field. We looked at the Cedia booth at the CES, but you need 1 year experience to go to that. So the question is where do we go to get training/experience in this kind of work, and what do we look for? I know I could take electronics courses at a local school, but what about real home theater stuff? I would like to become a designer/installer of theaters, he wants to become a HDTV calibrator. The only answer we get out of anybody is to go work at Magnolia's or Best Buy, and go from there. But that is just sales, which we don't want. Sorry for the long post, any help is greatly appreciated, we both hate our jobs and want to get into our hobby.
 

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The fastest way to get in the industry is just go to your Department of Revenue (IRS) and buy a tax ID number (tax resale number and business license). It is less than $100 in most places. Then fax it to CES a year before the show and you get in free.


For calibration training visit www.imagingscience.com (ISF).


For designer and installer training visit www.cedia.net


For acoustics training visit www.thx.com and get a slot for Skywalker Ranch (a one year waiting period).

www.lsdinc.com is the ultimate installer training site, all the specialty tools, all the training videos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the response HTguy, I signed up for the THX class, and checked out the other sites. I suppose I will have to start calling some of the guys linked on the imaging science site and ask them how they got started in the business. As for talking to the guys at Magnolia and such, they are jerks, always talk to us like we are idiots. I wish there was a site that had everything you wanted to know about getting into the business such as school courses to take, where to get training and who will give you experience so I may some day open my own home theater installation/calibration business.
 

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Some Best Buys are replacing their car audio sections with home theater sections - they are looking for installers to hang out there and hook people up. Could be a good way to start - especially if you have hobby experience. Circuit City also offers installation services - of the basic plug your TV/RCVR/DVD together.


Bring money if you want to train if you did all of ISF/HAA/CEDIA/THX - you are getting up towards $10K. Becoming a calibrator is even more expensive considering the price of calibration equipment - that can set you back another $10K. Then you have all the conferences you need to go to (travel budget). Want to become a CEDIA member - pony up the money for $1M in insurance. Starting as a calibrator is a good way to go - you can learn your craft on friends sets, do it as a side job, then leverage that experience into a full time home theater gig. You can get into these training with little experience - even enthusiasts with no business plans take the ISF classes. Spendy way to improve your own picture - but isn't that what this hobby is about ;-)


You are also in Washington - installers that pull AV wires have to be licensed low voltage electricians, which can only be obtained once you have apprenticed for two years under someone elses license. Don't think you will get WA state to pay for any training - AV installs is a declining demand field.


Getting a business license is cheap - but actually running a business is not. No manufacturer or distributor will take you seriously without that business license, and they want to know what your business plan is. They just want to be sure they are not selling at cost to a couple kids looking to get AV deals for their friends.


Not trying to discourage you - I was in your same shoes last year! Call it a mid life crisis - but after two month honeymoon in the Carribbean I decided I had it with corporate america, and I quit. Running your own business is the true American way - go for it!


But reality check - how bad do you want to get in? Are you willing to sell all your AV gear to afford to start a business? Do you own a home and willing to put in on the line for a business? If not you may want to bite the bullet and work for those sucky AV salesguys and hook up systems. At least you get to keep your gear - and maybe you will even get to buy stuff at cost!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the response Kras, so if I understand it correctly I need to:

1. get a degree in interior design to design home theaters.

2. Get 2 years experience with an electrician.

3. Get a business license.

4. Buy calibration equipment so that I can calibrate the things I install.

5. probably work for awhile with a carpenter?

6. sell both my kidneys and a lung to afford the equipment.


I know anything worth doing is going to be hard work, and I am ready for it, I just need to know what direction or steps to take to get there and nobody I know knows what to do. I am only 29 so I still have time, but I want to get into it ASAP, so that in a few years when you go to CES you can come talk to me at my booth, or call me up to design your theater in a theme from the 50's or Egyptian style. I'm tired of drooling over the pictures of the theaters in my Audio Video Interiors magazines, I want to make those rooms a reality for myself and others.

Thanks again for the info, I am glad to find a place where people actually have answers to my questions.
 

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You got it!


But take #1 off your list. Take the CEDIA home theater design and acoustics training track instead. Interior designers are taught things like windows and light colors are good, big screens and speakers and dark colors are bad. You just need to learn to tolerate being in the same room as those hideous creatures.


#6 is optional....


I am also getting a masters in acoustic engineering - but maybe that is going a little bit overboard ;-).....you see I am that hobbyist that already had all that calibration equipment and the showcase theater to go with it. But I am selling the house it goes with so I can afford to do this....


Feel free to PM/email me - I can pass on my WA state and personal pointers.


Personally I already scratched wire installation of my list of things I want to do - I figured if I was sending my brother into the crawlspace while I shined the flashlite in the hole ......maybe wire puller should not be on my career path ;-) Saved me from #2 (and I already have an electrical engineering masters degree - does not count - you still have to do #2)
 

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THX TRAINING at Lucasfilm's Skywlalker Ranch in Northern, California is $3000 for three days. This does not include airfare nor accommodation's. Although bank, it is worth it and the certification never expires.


I agree with KRAZ, get all the CEDIA training you can get. CEDIA offers classes in small A/V/HT business start-up, business law, licensing and insurance, billing, advertising etc.


It rocks working for yourself, especially doing your hobby.
 
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