This post may not score me any points with my custom installer friends but I’m not here for their benefit, I’m here to make sure you get the best theater possible for your hard-earned dollar. For those of you considering going with professional installation for your home theater needs, get a line item (itemized) proposal, without one you’re just comparing apples to oranges.

There are several different formats for custom home theater proposals, I’ll try to be brief by describing the three most common. The first is the “value-added” breakdown but the only person getting any extra added value out of this one is the integrator. In these proposals, you’ll see a brief description of the equipment going into each room and the sub-total for that particular room, if I were shopping for a custom home theater, I’d reject this type of proposal out of hand.

This type of proposal reduces the process into an A la carte endeavor and in all honesty, it’s a potential sign of a lazy integrator. Don’t want this? Ok, we’ll scratch it off, want to add another room? Just double the price of that last room. This type of proposal might be ok for a few rooms of multi-room audio but the underlying problem remains, we really have no idea what we’re paying for each item, just the bottom-line price for the room.

The next type of proposal is often called a “detailed” proposal and when compared to the value-added proposal it certainly is an improvement but still not quite what we’re looking for. Detailed proposals list most of the individual pieces of gear in any given room, and often times the major accessories, but rarely do they detail things as small as cables, rack components, or individual speakers.

Instead, what you’ll get are line items like “equipment rack” and or “speaker package”. An integrator can assign any arbitrary number they want to a “package” or kit. If you’re to make any real assessment of what you’re paying for, you’ll want a little more detail than this.

A line-item proposal lists each individual component in the system (cables may still be packaged but feel free to ask for a breakdown) arranged by the room it interfaces with. By that I mean a music server would be located in the central system location not in the individual rooms it’s distributed out to. Line-item proposals are far and away the best way to know what you’re comparing and as such you may encounter integrators who are hesitant to provide them, and you know what, that’s their right. It’s also your right to find an integrator who will provide one.

Here’s the thing to keep in mind, a line-item proposal isn’t your license to nit-pick the integrator to death on each individual item. You’re still buying a “system” and if he’s a few dollars more on one item than the other guy, just consider that the other guy may have dropped that item a few dollars just to throw you off more expensive items elsewhere in the proposal. No, line-item proposals are best used to spot drastic differences in price and instill trust between client and integrator; everyone involved knows exactly what they’re buying and the price they’re paying.

You may even find an integrator that asks for a fee for preparing a line-item proposal, and this may surprise you, but as long as the fee is reasonable I say they deserve every red cent of it. As someone who has prepared upwards of a thousand home theater proposals over the years, I can tell you there are those among us that have no qualms about asking an integrator to spend hours of his or her time preparing a proposal, with no interest whatsoever of actually going with that company. Sometimes they just want a bargaining chip to use against another integrator.

Take my advice, you’ll be much better off actually discussing the proposal with the integrator versus just going with a cheaper quote or rejecting it out of hand. The proposal process is an opportunity to learn more about home theater in general and it’s a great way to get to know the integrator vying to win your business. whichever model you get, don’t forget to buy iptv subscription uk. Getting the best iptv service uk can take your home theater experience to a whole new level.

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