The Custom Installer: Three DIY Projects You Can Handle

People often ask me, “John, how hard is that? Could I do it myself?” And the answer is often, “It depends.” A walk in the park for one person might be a Grand Master Sudoku puzzle for another. Take my friend Jon. He’s like Rain Man when it comes to working with engines or motors or pretty much anything mechanical. But when it comes to installing a new A/V component or programming his Harmony, he’s all thumbs, so he calls me.

As always, I’m here to help. Below, I’ve listed some pretty common DIY projects and what you’ll probably need to tackle them, how much time it’s likely to take, and how difficult I’d rate the work on a scale of 1 to 10. Before diving in to any DIY project, it’s helpful to ask yourself these questions first: 1) Am I comfortable doing this?; and 2) What’s more important; knowing that it’s done right at the outset, or saving some cash? Remember, if you get in too deep, you can always turn to to find a local, qualified custom installer who can help finish the job.

Installing a Blu-ray Player

If you haven’t made the change to Blu, now’s the time. Most new movies are released on Blu-ray, and this format is the clear reference standard for audio and video picture quality. And with players now down in the $150 range, there’s really no reason not to make the switch. Beyond just the simple “connect an HDMI and done!” installation portion is the configuration of audio and video settings. And with the frequent firmware updates, a Blu-ray player should really be connected to the Internet, which requires additional setup. And then you can activate Netflix and Pandora and Vudu and . . .

Tools required: Proper cabling, Internet connection.

Prerequisite: Understanding what cabling your system supports and your receiver’s audio-processing capabilities, and knowing online account login credentials as needed.

Estimated time: 30 to 60 minutes.

Diffculty: 5-6.