I recently acquired a new audio/visual system with all the latest wireless digital bells and whistles for our renovated house in the Hamptons. The salesman assured me it was “idiot-proof”. I assume he did not intend this as a slur to my family and friends, but he might want to reconsider this sales pitch in the future when marketing to other former liberal arts majors of only above-average intelligence.
One of the principal sales promises was that we would be able to operate any room in the house from any other room in the house on our iPhone or iPad or from one of several strategically placed wireless remotes. I was very excited about this feature because I could assure that music would be playing in each room before I arrived so I would not be caught in silence mid-lyric while moving around the house.
But I didn’t give adequate consideration to the risks. The first pitfall is that you and the control device need to be on the same page, meaning that you both have to agree on what room you are trying to control. This recently became painfully clear when a guest who was attempting to have an early morning workout in the gym began blasting Eminem into the master bedroom at 7am. Another mishap occurred when I attempted to adjust the music volume in the kitchen while sitting at the pool where the sound dissipates quickly even at high volume.
Another great feature is that all the TV’s can be programmed so that each person can access only their favorite channels. Unfortunately, I am the only one who knows how to use this feature and I often forget to turn it off. This is a particular problem when I’m not home and someone wants to watch something other than sports.
Despite the salesman’s promise of the “idiot-proof” nature of the system, I find that every time the power goes down in our house, the entire system needs to be rebooted, which always seems to require a service call. Given the frequency of power outages in our area, this can result in a lot of frustration and a constant stream of income for the guys who set up the system. Recently, I found that none of our remote controls were working, so, given the complexity of the system, I assumed the worst and called the service guys to come fix it. Two days later, they came and changed the batteries in all the remotes…..thereby proving that the system is not “idiot-proof”.