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There was an anecdote retold on TWIT a few weeks back that went something like this...

A man saw Salvador Dali, approached him, and asked him if he would create a quick sketch. Dali took a napkin, sketched out a quick, yet artful rendition, and handed it to the man.

"That will be $1 million," Dali said.

"What!?", the man exclaimed. "It only took you 30 seconds to draw that!"

Dali responded, "Yes, 30 seconds to create the sketch, but a lifetime to learn how to draw like that."

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I'm not saying that the complexity of programing a remote warrants the charge, I'm saying that the programmer has knowledge that the client does not, can put that knowledge into practice, and has every right to charge for the practice of that knowledge whatever the market will support. There is no moral imperative to charge less.

If you want to save a little money, see if Monet will work for less, or if you are willing, save a lot by learning to paint yourself.
I certainly agree with your point, I prefer an old comic strip where someone got a tv repairman in who fixed the set by smacking it, the conversatoin went "I guess you won't be charging much for just thumping it with a screwdriver," "No just 2 quid... and another fifty for knowing where to thump it!"

I'm ok with that, except that the individuals I'm talking about were openly admitting they themselves thought they were gouging and taking advantage of their customers...

i find attitudes like that disgusting. But that's another thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
The guy didn't mention anything about the $85 per hour including the remote or the cabling. All I am saying is that it is a LOT of money per hour for a 3 day job. If it set up was .5 to 1 day I can understand but $600 per day seems excessive.
Also, if it takes a certified pro that long to do it right then how could I ever even conceive of doing it myself? The next question that pops into my empty head is - How much better will the experience be if I paid the guy? Would a novice like me even notice?
 

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Well, I've been to some training classes that pros attend, and frankly I'm apalled at how much they charge to program remotes.
Generally, the Harmony remotes work great, and are very easy for an owner to program.
for strictly a video calibration, I would expect someone to be able to give you a flat rate based on what they're going to do, not an hourly rate. A good one will walk you through what can/should be done, and will gladly have you sit next to him as he's explaining everything he's going and why.

It's possible the one guy you contacted happens to be a custom installer who's used to doing high-end and/or whole house systems. There's no way a video cal by an experienced pro should take all day, let alone multiple days. Yes, if you do it yourself, it will take longer as you'll be posting questions which might not get answered for an hour or two, but yes, it IS something you can do yourself, with our help.

If you prefer to hire a pro, I suggest giving/getting more details from this person, as well as calling a few others. As I said in a previous post, treat this as you would hiring any contractor, never get just one quote.



That being said, it's not uncommon for a COMPLETE calibration, including video, audio, bias lighting, remote programming, etc, to take 2 days and $2k. But the preliminary sections such as hookup are almost certainly within your abilities, again with our help

I have to take issue with some of this. Flat rates are problematic for some services, but work for others. I have been doing service, design, installation, programming, and calibration since before Home Theater was even a term that was used, and the issue of charges is complex. There are pros and cons to flat rates, but I find that they don't work for calibration. There are too many different conditions and different capabilities for the many brands and models to make it practical to charge a flat rate. Most pros do, but I do not. My rates end up being about the same or less for most calibrations, but when I run into a client with a particularly complex system, or who wants more hand-holding through the process, it works better for me and the client to charge hourly.

Some calibrations can take multiple days. It depends on what is being done. For someone who just does the routine stuff, it may not, but when providing a more complete service, as I do, it may involve decisions and modifications that go far beyond the norm. Some sets just don't cooperate, and some clients want every last bit of performance that they can get. While it is true that most calibrations can be rather routine, some can be very complex, involving multiple sources or processors.

As for charges for programming, unless you are in the business, you really have a hard time understanding all of the costs that go into providing a service like these. Training, travel, equipment, and all of the overhead make charges seem high, but few are getting rich with these services. I would be loathe to judge what one charges. If it is not worth the price to you or anyone else, then that is the market. Obviously, one charges what the market will bear, and what it takes to stay in business.

There are certainly those who take pride in getting every dollar out of a client that they can and rip people off who don't know any better, and those who provide less than professional service. I see that all the time. Many, however, are just trying to make a living, and what may seem pricey to the DIYer has a very different context for someone trying to run a business.
 

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Without taking us too much further down the rabbit hole, I know a few installers, and none of them drive luxury cars. Can't say the same at the bank down the street, who offers me free checking.
 

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Again, not to delve on this, but Leonard, I did qualify that with video calibration only, and rates based on what has to be done. Multiple inputs shold get more money, multiple sources as well, etc. Statement of Work is just as important in this as in any contracting. I agree that the individual Max contacted may be thinking about one type of job, while I may be thinking another.

Back to Max.
I'm not clear on exactly what the contractor was quoting you for. Perhaps he isn't either. Perhaps even, you may not be quite clear on what needs to be done. So perhaps it would pay to start at the beginning, with a list of your equipment, and what state of assembly (or not) it's in now.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Again, not to delve on this, but Leonard, I did qualify that with video calibration only, and rates based on what has to be done. Multiple inputs shold get more money, multiple sources as well, etc. Statement of Work is just as important in this as in any contracting. I agree that the individual Max contacted may be thinking about one type of job, while I may be thinking another.

Back to Max.
I'm not clear on exactly what the contractor was quoting you for. Perhaps he isn't either. Perhaps even, you may not be quite clear on what needs to be done. So perhaps it would pay to start at the beginning, with a list of your equipment, and what state of assembly (or not) it's in now.
Gents,
I appreciate the lively debate. And I agree with a free market capitalistic system where prices are set by the market. I made two mistakes as I sent the original e-mail from the contractor which was brought up more than once by you guys....I never told him what I had, what I wanted or what I needed. I live in a pricey town (but on the poor side of it). He said he did some really nice set ups here and my thought is that he was referring to a complete install. Also, I should have factored in that my knowledge of this industry is virtually zero.
The bottom line is...that I am a simple and frugal guy. I spent $1k on the SVS surround system, $1500 on the 1080p projector, $1k on the receiver etc. Not a lot of dough. There is no in wall speaker or wiring. I just need to mount the speakers and run wire in the open faced crown molding. I am confident that I can actually run all the wire and set it all up. I thought I just needed someone to come in for a few hours and calibrate the projector and audio system..... And now the remote (unless I get a harmony which is what I am likely to do). I didn't realize remotes were so difficult, timely and expensive (as someone said). So in fairness to the guy who emailed me, he did not quote me anything. He just gave me an hourly rate and said it take a few days. But he had no knowledge of what I have or where I was in the project
Given what I need (or think what I need) which is just the calibration is it ok to think that it'll only take a few hours to a full day at max?
Happy Bird day to you all.
 

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It depends on the products and the degree of detail you want done. You have to be specific and talk to the people potentially doing the work. If you get everything installed right, and there is nothing unusual, and the products are items that the calibrator is familiar with, it likely won't take that long. There are just too many variables to say. Details matter.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
The control system is adding the majority of the cost (if included, otherwise add $1k+). Trade that for a harmony remote, and you should find the quote more palatable.

Which harmony do you recommend? I think I rf as the components will be in a control room.
I can buy an RF adapter if the one you recommend doesn't have rf, right?
 

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You can find all the Harmony Remotes here: http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/remotes/universal_remotes/

The 1100 is RF compatible, but I'm not a fan of tablet style remotes. They seem cool at first, but having to look at your remote every time you want to execute a basic function is a pain, they are awkward to hold, and if you forget to seat it in the charger one night, it may be dead by the next. Great for impressing friends, great for being easy to use, but poor marks for actual usefulness.

You can buy RF extenders for the Harmonys.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
You can find all the Harmony Remotes here: http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/remotes/universal_remotes/

The 1100 is RF compatible, but I'm not a fan of tablet style remotes. They seem cool at first, but having to look at your remote every time you want to execute a basic function is a pain, they are awkward to hold, and if you forget to seat it in the charger one night, it may be dead by the next. Great for impressing friends, great for being easy to use, but poor marks for actual usefulness.

You can buy RF extenders for the Harmonys.

I agree with what you said re: the tablet.
Why wouldn't I go with something functional and inexpensive like this?:

[ame]http://www.amazon.com/RFS200-PowerPak-Bundle-MasterControl-PowerBlaster/dp/B000FL9E6U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1259955372&sr=1-1[/ame]
 

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You certainly can, but the Harmony series is much easier to program because you do it on your computer with actual model numbers, not hunting through code sheets. They also offer more flexibility in programming macro "activities" and re-mapping keys, but you are right, they also cost more.
 

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Getting back to the audio and video calibration, you might want to consider getting one of the HT calibration DVDs, like the one from Avia. (They're readily available at your local video disc emporium -- I saw one in our local Barnes and Noble yesterday.) They're a lot cheaper than $85 and step you through the whole procedure.

Granted, the result won't be "THX certified", but you'll learn how it's done and won't feel so bad when you decide you really want the display and sound configured differently.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Getting back to the audio and video calibration, you might want to consider getting one of the HT calibration DVDs, like the one from Avia. (They're readily available at your local video disc emporium -- I saw one in our local Barnes and Noble yesterday.) They're a lot cheaper than $85 and step you through the whole procedure.

Granted, the result won't be "THX certified", but you'll learn how it's done and won't feel so bad when you decide you really want the display and sound configured differently.

Thanks Selden.
I found a THX certified guy who came to the house and seemed like a great guy. I am having him do the work. Many thanks
 

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Thanks Selden.
I found a THX certified guy who came to the house and seemed like a great guy. I am having him do the work. Many thanks
Glad you found someone you're confident in! Let us know how happy you are with the results!
 

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Thanks Selden.
I found a THX certified guy who came to the house and seemed like a great guy. I am having him do the work. Many thanks

Pics forthcoming soon enough

Thanks

BTW, if anyone has ever thought of doing leopard print carpet in a HT room.....but wasn't sure... let me give you some advice.....DO IT.... It looks wicked cool
 
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