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Neat-O: Retrofitting 'Horrible' Home Theater

By Arlen Schweiger
Replacing four outdoor TVs leads to a home theater and distributed audio makeover.

Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Central Coast Audio Visual was originally brought into this project to replace four outdoor televisions, and its Neat-O work and professional work ethic led to a whole-house retrofit project.

Regarding the outdoor TVs, the original integrator had installed standard TVs, and over a year's span in the sunny Southern California climate every one of them had failed, says CCAV owner Chris Wilson. So the seed of this project was their replacement with SunBriteTV all-weather displays.

At this point we thought our project was over, Wilson notes. But the homeowner asked if the installer could also look at his six-zone distributed audio system, which wasn't working either. After checking it out, the installer confirmed that the amplifier would overload and shut down within one minute of use.

With the wheels now churning, the owner also asked what CCAV thought of his home theater. In more polite terms to this high-profile client, we mentioned that it was horrible, says Wilson. His projector was only outputting 720p, his front-channel LCR speakers were in-ceilings that were not angled, and his equipment rack was a rat's nest of wiring that a professional installer should be ashamed of.

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