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This Minute at Runco

Choosing a Dealer Doesn’t Need to be Hair Raising

Monday, February 22, 2010

Posted February 22, 2010 by Jennifer B. Davis

Over the past several of my friends on Facebook changed their profile pictures to a “retro image” complete with dorky glasses, braces, big hair, and pencil-necked boyfriends.

You know the type and probably have some of your own photos and yearbooks stashed away.

It immediately brought to mind the time when I had an ill-advised perm. All my friends were getting them, I found a salon with a great promotional price, and got a perm. It was technically executed well, but the combination of curls and my thick hair left me looking like I was wearing a Dolly Parton wig. Not a great look on a gangly 9th grader, I can assure you.

I see a lot of parallels between this and some discussions I have been having with Runco authorized dealers in the past few weeks. There is a big difference between someone who CAN install a home theater system in your home and someone who you SHOULD trust. Like that hair stylist who can formulate a permanent solution, but doesn’t have a clue about anything else, not every audio visual specialist should be trusted with your home.

Below are some things that you should keep in mind when selecting an audio video designer and installer for your home with home you can build a long-term relationship.

They must have the technical capability to do the job, of course. So, you should see their portfolio of comparable projects and check references. Often you will personally know someone who has had work done by the dealer, so you can feel confident in their expertise. A browse through their websites can be informative, as well. Ask your prospective dealer about their background, their specialties, their industry affiliations, their insurance coverage, and what continuing education they may have received from the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) or direct from manufacturer’s like factory training from Runco at our Runco Academy. Some of our dealers are also members of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) or other associations that are relevant to your project and the work you would like them to perform.

We invite you to visit the dealer’s showroom or some of their previous installations that are of similar scope or budget. A visual inspection of the installer’s operation will speak volumes about their work and their attention to the details that matter to you. Not every quality installer will have an extensive display or retail demonstration facilities. In fact, some of the best don’t. All you want to make sure is that the firm is neat, organized, and committed to its business and your satisfaction.

You’ll want to find a dealer that carries the range and quality of products that interest you from video products, to audio systems and lighting or home automation control. Be wary of an installer who says “I’m not an authorized dealer for Runco, but I can get it for you.” We, like other manufacturers, choose our dealers carefully and it is in your best interest to choose a dealer who can support you fully after the sale.

Of course, we would love to recommend local dealers for you to contact using our dealer locator. Here you can find someone familiar with Runco products in your city and find a map to their showrooms where you can see Runco products on display. Of course, not every dealer is right for every client and we have several dealers in most metropolitan areas, so be sure to make you do your own evaluation before making a selection. And before you pick up the phone, visit the Runco Gallery and start creating a design file of inspiring ideas for your project.

Special thanks to the good folks at CEDIA, Home Theater Design Magazine (Avcom Publishing, Ltd.), a classic book by Tina Skinner (Schiffer Publising), and for Runco dealers who helped contribute ideas to this post.

Jennifer B. Davis is all about technology innovation and is a customer advocate, business executive, mom, and loves her job as Runco’s VP of marketing.

SuperBowl Tailgate, Billionaire Style

Friday, February 19, 2010

By Pippa Edelen

This past weekend I attended the best tailgate ever. As a die-hard football fan who likes to be close to the action, I was thrilled when Runco dealer extraordinaire Andrew Guenther from Advanced Audio Design in Naples, FL proposed that Runco support his sponsorship of the Bombardier Touchdown Lounge in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

This uber-fancy tailgate consists of private aircraft owners to fly in and be a part of the most incredible SuperBowl party outside of Bourbon Street. What made this tailgate so special? Well, to risk sounding gauche, the massive bank accounts of the attendees. You see, the “tail” in question is referring to the stern of a G5, Global Express or Learjet 60.

To help paint a picture, three Rolls Royce Motor Carriages greeted each guest at the entrance (specifically two Phantom Coupes – each in two-tone and one was a Drophead, natch - and the new Ghost. And, as only the elite know, all three models open in the back to allow for “seating” on the tailgate.) Behind the half-million-dollar automobiles was a glowing bar that had three Runco LCD’s hung from the scaffolding while three more, along with a Runco XP-OPAL65 DHD, decorated the rest of the hangar. Just beyond the bar, the granddaddy display stopped the attendees in their tracks. The impressive 16-foot-wide Stewart Filmscreen was illuminated by two double-stacked Runco VX-33d’s. Despite having enormous hangar doors open to allow in tons of Florida sunshine, the VX-33’s rocked. They are so bright that even daylight couldn’t degrade the gorgeous HD images. The Lounge was open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and by the time the game rolled around Sunday evening, every chair, stool, leather couch and settee was angled at the impressive, monster display. But no one needed to crane their neck or sit up close to see the action because the set-up was so enormous, it impressed no matter where you were in the hangar. Coupled with more than a quarter-million dollars worth of CAT audio, this party was simply superb. From the food, to the sponsors, to the double-stacked VX-33d’s, I’d argue that nothing beats tailgating, billionaire style.

Pippa has a degree in Journalism from U of O and spends most of her time writing fancy words, orchestrating events, shining up websites and generating press for Runco.

My Favorite Demo Clips

Thursday, February 18, 2010

By Jeremy Sternhagen

Whenever I finish the process of setting up any Runco display, I always have my favorite demo clips with me to test out my work. Some people like to grab a disc that is full of bright shiny imagery to guarantee an eye popping demo. I prefer something a little more challenging.

Some of the best Blu-Ray discs available are made with such meticulous care, that preserving every aspect of the original film quality is the number-one thing a film nut, like me, looks for.

Seeing things like film grain are all just part of the experience and make the video authentic. Poor video equipment masks some of these finer details, creating a very un-film-like experience.

In chapter 4 (28:09) of JJ Abrams’ Star Trek, the scene opens in outer space and a Romulan ship passes in front of the audience. If the projector is not set up correctly, the ship appears as a dark mess of nothing, silhouetted against some space clouds, with little or no detail. If the projector has been properly calibrated, you can see every detail in the dark shadows of the ship. The scene continues with many other dark scenes that demonstrate proper black levels.

Later, in chapter 7 (52:21) there is an action sequence with Kirk and Sulu dropping through the atmosphere in space suits, then engaging in hand-to-hand combat. It is a great demo from both an audio and video perspective. The scene starts off dark, so you can point out black level details, but then it transitions to the bright outdoor fight sequence. There is a slow build to the sound, so audiophiles will appreciate the dynamic presentation much more technical than simply loud explosions with no breaks.

I love to point out the cinematography in this film, as JJ Abrams specifically uses lens flare in almost every shot. He is basically using an optical artifact to enhance his film. Star Trek is trying to look like a movie, not reality.

Another favorite demo is Baraka. This movie was filmed almost 20 years ago, and was shot in 70mm, so the detail is amazing. Beginning at chapter 4 (12:00) There is a sequence that shows some colorful outdoor gardens and locals, all enjoying their surroundings. The shots are all slowly and smoothly executed, allowing you to soak in every detail. Following the shots of local ceremony, the movie pans to images of volcanoes and clouds, all shot using amazing fly-overs and time lapse. The imagery is accompanied by an ominous drum beat. The result forces the viewer to appreciate the amazing views. If the projector is set correctly, every large and small detail in the clouds will be visible. The next sequence features some large lizards basking in the sun while waves break on rocks around them. The shots are close up, and highly detailed. If you want to see more of the same types of images and detail, skip to chapter 21.

Baraka is great because there is no artificial imagery here. No boosted colors or special effects. A lot of popular demos used today are bright and colorful, such as Transformers or an animated movie, such as UP, look great on just about any display, because the colors are all bright and oversaturated. I prefer these demos, because I feel like it’s not cheating. And if your projector is properly calibrated and can display these challenging scenes well, then any subsequent image will look spectacular.

Jeremy has background in film and tv, and works as a field product specialist for Runco, training dealers how to setup, demo and sell Runco products.

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