Choosing an Installer

Custom installation has trickled down quickly. A few years ago the exclusive plaything of the very rich, it has since made its way through the merely rich and recently arrived at the middle class. Rising incomes and rapidly plummeting prices for sophisticated technology have conspired to make it possible for the Average Joe to seriously consider hiring a professional to pipe music throughout his house or install a one-touch-does-all home theater.

In "Sound All Around" (July/August), "Video All Around" (September), and "Beyond Audio/Video" (October), I explored options for multiroom audio and video systems as well as "smart" control systems that do the work for you. A common thread has run through these articles: since most of these systems require extensive design, planning, and wiring, it's essential to find the right professional to handle the job.

While much of what follows is applicable to both new and existing houses, this article is geared primarily toward new construction. If you're building or planning to build a house, you can save yourself many headaches - and thousands of dollars! - by planning your system now.

Why all the wire?