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Battle Royale: Home Theater vs Swimming Pool

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Written by guest blogger and Runco dealer John Sciacca from John Sciacca Writes....

Today was one of those just *perfect* days in Myrtle Beach. A day where the humidity struck a perfect balance with the temperature to create weather that just feels imperceptible on your skin. The only way to know that you aren’t floating in some languid pool of body-temp water is the occasional light breeze that just barely tussles your hair. So, I was enjoying this fine day sitting in a swing out by our pool, continuing the Herculean task of trying  to plow through Stephen King’s 1200+ page “Under the Dome” before the ticking clock of the library’s 14-day new book policy expires (spoiler: I’m not gonna make it!). So, there I am trying to relax, but every time I look up from a page, I notice that about another pound of crud has fallen into the pool.

Now a clean pool is a bit of an OCD for me. I *can’t* stand to see leaves and stuff sitting on the bottom or floating on top. So, while I was skimmering the pool for the *third* time today, I thought it would be the perfect opporunity to post up something that I’d written for EDG’s on line blog several months ago.

Back when the concept of home theater was really catching on, one of the catchphrases used to help justify the expense was that  “a home theater is the swimming pool of the 90s.” I believe I even used it in a column at some point. The idea was, instead of dropping $15-20 grand on a pool, invest that money in a home theater. Great idea, huh?

But now that I’ve had time to think about it – and own both a pool and a home theater – I’ve decided that this is actually a pretty sucky analogy. First, pools are frickin’ expensive. And I’m not talking about crazy, Hugh-Hefner-and-the-swim-in-grotto pools. I’m talking about regular sized, in-ground pools which can easily run well over $50,000. Granted, you can drop that kind of coin on a theater as well, but you can get something really impressive for a good bit less. Second... Well, lots of reasons. As someone who owns both a swimming pool and a home theater, I’d like to tell you why owning a home theater is oh so much better than a pool.

 

 

Pools require constant care
Skimming, vacuuming, brushing, backwashing, chemicals, etc. It’s always something, and none of this stuff is fun or cheap. When it’s winter you worry about things freezing. When it’s spring and fall, there is a steady stream of crap that blows into it kamikaze style trying to fulfill its life journey of clogging the filter. When it's summer, the slightest lapse in chlorine management can cause an algae breakout. The only care my theater requires is remembering to put the remote on the charging cradle. Even if I forget to do that, I can still use the remote while it is charging.

Everyone enjoys watching movies
There are a lot of people who don’t want to go swimming. Whether it’s body issues, weird scars, totally unnatural body hair, man boobs/no woman boobs, or whatever, some people just won’t publicly embrace the shame which is a putting on a swimming suit and jumping into the pool. Conversely, everyone will sit in the dark, enjoy a libation, and watch a movie.

 It’s never too cold for your home theater
Unless you have a heater – ka-ching! – there will be many months of the year when you can’t use a swimming pool.  We live in a pretty temperate climate,and I believe that we have about a 5 month window of usable pool weather. And I'm not talking about Polar Bear club events; I'm talking about 80+ degree water temps where going swimming isn't in response to a dare. The weather in my theater? Always perfect.

Cost per use, it’s around $250 every time I swim
Even as nice as Myrtle Beach weather is, we use our pool *maybe* 5 months a year. During those 5 months, we’re lucky to go in twice a week. So, figure we go in around 40 times per year. When you factor in the cost of the pool, the electricity to run the pump (estimated by our electric co. to be about $125 per month), the chemicals, and all the maintenance and replacement parts, you’re better offj ust sitting down and watching a movie.

No one will ever drown in my theater
Being able to leave my 3 year old unattended in the theater is a pretty major difference. The worse thing that will happen is that she’ll try and stand 2 feet from the screen.

You don’t ever feel like your home theater is out to get you
I’m not sure what I’ve done, but my pool is vindictive. If my pool could talk, it would say things like, “You and me, we're gonna have a fight. Today. After school. Three o'clock. In the parking lot. You try and run, I'm gonna track you down. You go to a teacher, it's only gonna get worse. You sneak home, I'm gonna be under your bed.” (If you haven't seen Three O'Clock High do it!) I don’t know why, but it is truly out to get me with Anton Chigurh like passion/hatred. And it has a sixth sense for knowing when I’m about to leave town, as it likes to choose those moments to catastrophically break. Preferably over the weekend when it’s impossible to get a replacement part. This also leads to...

You’ll never come home and find your home theater has turned green or black
The first thing I do when returning home from work or vacation is check my pool. I’ve found dead animals in the filter, a broken glass table resting on thebottom and once the dreaded black water when my pump stopped running for two weeks. My theater? It fires up perfectly every time no matter how long I’m away.

No one tracks water into my house when watching a movie
Granted you might face the spilt beverage or overturned popcorn bowl, but these are relatively minor compared to dripping wet people going in and out of the house to use the bathroom or grab a snack. And if they aren't needing to go in the house? Then...

I don’t worry about anyone peeing in my theater
OK, my 3 year old has peed on the floor of my theater, but that was more than a year ago and thanks to some "you can watch a movie" bribes -- again, something you can use the theater for! -- she is using the potty like a champ! 

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