Residential Systems

A First Look at Crestron's CEN-NSP-1 Streaming Music Player

Crestron Electronics recently released its CEN-NSP-1 network streaming player. We just received ours, and I wanted to provide my first reactions to the unit. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, July 2, 2014

Residential Systems

Delivering a Great Customer Experience Every Time

Have you ever gone to hotel or to a restaurant that your friends have been raving about and thought it just wasn't all that? Or had a friend come back from a great local shop that you love, only to have them say it wasn't the greatest? Or how about when you deliver your same great service to a client, but have them end up unhappy or dissatisfied (or not as psyched about their system as is your norm)? Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, November 13, 2013

Residential Systems

Can TiVo Offer Recurring Monthly Revenue?

We've been hearing about recurring monthly revenue a lot in the past several years, and while I always understood the upside, the benefits of RMR really hit home with me a few weeks ago when I was on a job site at a client's home with a security firm. I started talking to the security firm owner and we went to grab a bite to eat together. While talking about the client and business in general, I asked him how important RMR is to his business. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, November 6, 2013

Residential Systems

Build Your Business and Your Cash Flow Through Equity Investments

We all need complementary services to our core AV business: networking, electrical, design, programming, etc.
There are several ways this can be accomplished. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, October 29, 2013

Residential Systems

Be Like Disney and Exceed Your Clients' Expectations

My wife and I went to Disney World this past weekend, and I couldn't believe the level of quality in everything we experienced, from the AV to the service in general. Not once was I let down. And it struck me that we simply can't let our clients down when it comes to customer service. We have to over-deliver every single time. Disney has the benefit of a great brand, strong word of mouth, and repeat customers. Every client for us is new business, even if it originates from a referral or word of mouth. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, October 23, 2013

Residential Systems

The Most Important Product Category That We Install

Last week I was walking through an estimate with a new client and I got a comment that I hear frequently, and I think is totally wrong. The client said something along the lines of, “I don't really care what speakers we use; they don't matter much, so just put in something affordable.” Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, September 18, 2013

Residential Systems

Does Sonos Fit into the Custom Integration Business Model?

One of the first things that I am often asked on walk-throughs with potential new clients is whether or not I will install a streaming music system or "something like Sonos" in their home. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, August 28, 2013

Residential Systems

Impressing My Neighbors, Architects, and Designers

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may remember that several months ago I was invited to a neighbor's house for dinner. He didn't know what I did for a living and he was raving about his Sonos system and Harmony remote. I promised to write again when I had them over to our house. Well, now that I've fully installed my Crestron system, had all the bells and whistles programmed in by industry veteran Richard Fregosa, and have installed all of my floorstanding, in-wall, in-ceiling, and invisible speakers, I was ready to have them over. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, June 11, 2013

Residential Systems

Five Ways to Help Monetize Systems Integration Service Calls

One of the challenges of doing many, smaller projects is that service calls can become a large drain on profitability. Even with fewer, larger jobs, the more complex a job gets, the more visits are required to service it. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, May 21, 2013

Residential Systems

My Unexpected Crestron Experience

Many people in the industry know them as the behemoth booth at CEDIA and InfoComm, and some follow the misconception of them being impersonal and expensive. The more I indulge in Crestron, the more enlightened I am becoming to the level of personal attention they display towards the integration industry. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, March 5, 2013

Residential Systems

Helping DIY'ers Recognize the Benefits of Professional Home Automation

My wife and I went to meet a new neighbor who didn't know that I am a custom integrator. He couldn't stop raving about his new wireless audio system and universal remote, both of which he bought at a big box store. I struggled with it, but I kept my mouth shut. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, February 13, 2013

Residential Systems

Set the Scene for Valentine's Day Romance with Home AV Control

You started your Valentine's Day evening off by taking your wife to your town's finest Italian restaurant where you shared a delicious dinner and a robust bottle of red wine. This is only a glimpse into what the rest of the evening holds for her. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, February 14, 2013

Residential Systems

Social Media: Friend and Foe for Your Business?

While killing time waiting for an oil change, you decide to flip through today's Twitter feed. You check your best friend's last tweet and although they don't mention you by name, you just know that they're referring to a conversation you had with them the night before. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, February 5, 2013

Residential Systems

Clare Controls Online Training was Purely Hands-On

Remember those huge lecture halls in college with more than 100 students jammed into an auditorium, or even classes of 30 kids or more in high school? How easy was it to zone out, not pay attention, or just get lost in the crowd? Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, January 30, 2013

Residential Systems

How an AV Rack Can Benefit You and Your Customer

In my previous home, I had my “home theater” set up in a living room entertainment unit. It looked pretty good, but I had to strategically stack my components to best distribute weight and so that nothing was blocking my router (can't live without a good WiFi connection.) The unit had an open back so my receiver would only over heat from time to time. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, January 23, 2013

Residential Systems

Customer Service Means Everything in Custom Integration

How important is customer service in our industry? To me, it's huge. I am a loyalist and if you do right by me, I will do right by you every time. I am all about building relationships and having each other's backs… you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours, especially when dealing with technology-based products in a market where there are so many options and things are always changing and being upgraded. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, January 16, 2013

Residential Systems

Pandora Boxed In: Fixing an Internet Radio Service Disruption

Every custom integration business owner wants to start their day off strong, anticipating all the good things and big sales to come. You listen to your favorite song in the car on the ride into the office, whistling the tune as you sit behind your desk and hit the “play” button on your voice mail. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, January 4, 2013

Residential Systems

Mac vs. PC: How Important Are GUI Icons?

Are you a PC or a Mac? Apple or Android? These are key questions that I ask my clients when deciphering the expectations they have for their integrated home systems. It helps me find out what makes them tick, so that I can give them a system they can understand. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, December 20, 2012

Residential Systems

Mac vs. PC: How Important Are GUI Icons?

Are you a PC or a Mac? Apple or Android? These are key questions that I ask my clients when deciphering the expectations they have for their integrated home systems. It helps me find out what makes them tick, so that I can give them a system they can understand. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, December 20, 2012

Residential Systems

Crestron Holiday Party - Like an AV Candy Store

Have you ever watched a little child's eyes when they walk into a huge toy store and take in the sky-high piles of toys? That was my expression when I walked into Crestron and Sapphire Marketing's holiday party last week in New York City. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, December 13, 2012

Residential Systems

Three Moving Day Tips for Relocating Home Electronics

Moving can be one of the most exciting but frustrating times in a person's life. While most women are worried about breaking their china in a move, men are worried about their toys… speakers, TVs, and AV components. The average man on moving day has to disconnect all the wires and wrap them up, only to worry about having to reconnect them properly in his new home. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, December 5, 2012

Residential Systems

Screen Innovations HQ Tour Reveals Product Line Depth

I was recently given the opportunity to take a trip down to Austin, Texas to visit the Screen Innovations facility and see all the new screens they have developed. Originally, the purpose of the trip was to write a review on the Black Diamond Zero Edge and Black Diamond Motorized screens only, but once I got there, I found that there was so much more to Screen Innovations than meets the eye that I felt compelled to share their entire story. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, November 20, 2012

Residential Systems

Epson Projector Opens Budget Opportunities

Earlier this week I visited the headquarters of Screen Innovations in Austin, TX, to view the company's full line of projection screens. Screen Innovations had carefully chosen projectors to best illuminate video images on their screens. When I asked what projector model they were using, I was shocked to find out it was the Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 6010. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, November 15, 2012

Residential Systems

iPad mini Opens Up Home Automation Opportunities

Friday morning I woke to the sound of my doorbell ringing. I raced downstairs to greet my new iPad mini at my front door, excitedly ripped open the box, pulled off the plastic, and turned it on. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, November 8, 2012

Residential Systems

Sandy The AV Disaster

How many of you, like myself, are sitting around your house with no power thinking, "what the heck am I going to do with myself for the next few days?"
It isn't until a huge storm hits and forces us to live without our TVs, iPads, computers, and internet that we realize just how much we rely on technology and just can't live without it. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, October 31, 2012

CE Pro

Hurricane Sandy: Integrator Installs 15 Battery Backups Before 'Frankenstorm'

Hurricane Sandy enables The Source Home Theater in New York City to sell and install 15 APC UPS battery backup systems in two days prior to the arrival of the storm. Read more >>

By Jason Knott, October 29, 2012

AV Shout

Clear Communication is Key by Todd Anthony Puma

Sometimes, during a consultation, a client will review work with you that they are looking to have done that falls outside your scope of work and a subcontractor needs to be brought in. It is so important that the sub contractors you choose are people of integrity and will work just as hard as you for the client. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, October 26, 2012

Residential Systems

Are You Old Enough to Run a Custom Install Business?

Just the other day, one of my employees, Jason, was telling me a story. He and I had been working on a job together a few weeks back, and I had to step out of the house for a moment. According to Jason, our client came in and asked where the ?little white guy? was. Jason said he was taken aback, but told him that I was his boss. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, October 24, 2012

AV Shout

Avshout.com

AV Shout is an independent technology Website & Blog covering the audiovisual industry technology, trends, news, views and career information. Read more >>

Residential Systems

When a Demo Room Isn't An Option

With all the great new products coming out every day, don't you wish you could give each and every client a preview of what it would be like for them to experience everything in their own homes? For those of you who have a showroom, you have a great opportunity to set up the home theater experience. But for those of you like myself, who do not, we have to get creative. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, October 11, 2012

Big Picture Big Sound

Screen Innovations Shows Off Projection Screens that Work in Bright Rooms at CEDIA Expo 2012

When it comes to a big picture, there's nothing like a projection system. That said, projectors are not practical in the average living room, since they require total darkness to achieve the best effect. Well, Screen Innovations may have something to say about that -- or at least show. Read more >>

By Rachel Cericola, September 12, 2012

Residential Systems

When 'Charity' Becomes an AV Client's Expectation

I always try to do right by my customers. Any promotion that is being run by my vendors, whether it be a discount or a free product, I make sure to pass on to my clients, so they get the most bang for their buck. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, October 10, 2012

Residential Systems

My CEDIA Newbie Experience

All my bags were packed, I was ready to go... but my first CEDIA EXPO would have to wait as I was delayed for hours on a plane in Newark because of bad weather conditions. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, September 13, 2012

Residential Systems

WASP Offers Wireless Solutions for Installers by Installers

WASP has unveiled new wireless solutions made for installers by installers. The company is only direct at this point, which means high margins on their products - important for installers like myself. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, September 6, 2012

Residential Systems

NuVo Wireless System Goes Above and Beyond

NuVo's new wireless systems, launched at CEDIA EXPO, is like Sonos for custom installers. It goes above and beyond. This NUVO system allows you to calibrate based on the size and shape of the room, and every room can have a different calibration. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, September 6, 2012

Residential Systems

Maximizing In-Person Social Networking

Were you ever out at a bar or event where you got to talking with a random stranger and through your conversation realized that they knew a lot about one of the brands you installed? Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, August 30, 2012

Linkedin

Todd Anthony Puma Linkedin Profile

Contributing Blogger at Residential Systems
Founder/CEO at The Source Home Theater Installation
Read more >>

Residential Systems

My Pre-CEDIA Newbie Checklist

Imagine walking into a room where every single person you talk to will not only know what you are talking about when you say Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, August 23, 2012

John Sciacca Writes...

Seth Rubenstein Talks Shop with Todd Anthony Puma

Read on for our conversation about business (and EXPO) and make sure you attend CEDIA EXPO 2012! Read more >>

By Cedia, August 17, 2012

Residential Systems

Bi Polar AV

How many of you, like me, were psyched when they came out with the very first iPhone? Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, August 17, 2012

John Sciacca Writes...

CEDIA Through the Eyes of the New Girl: 5 Tips for Attendees and Exhibitors

Looking back at my first EXPO, I had my share of mistakes. Here are some lessons I learned along with a couple of pointers. Read more >>

By Olivia Dumanovsky, August 14, 2012

Residential Systems

Who is Running Your Sales?

You are sitting at your first consultation with a new client in a $2 million NYC apartment. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, August 9, 2012

Residential Systems

Fighting the Extinction of Great Reps

Behind every great home theater company is a great sales rep making his job just a little bit easier. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, August 2, 2012

CE Pro

Top 14 Ways to Keep Homes Clean During Installations

Keeping homes clean during installations will lead to more respect and referral jobs. Here are 14 tips to keep your clients home immaculate during the installation. Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, July 26, 2012

Residential Systems

Knowing Your Business is Knowing Your Products

Think about the last time you went shopping for something you knew nothing about. For me, it was an engagement ring for my wife. I knew that I wanted to get her the perfect setting and the best diamond money could buy, but for a guy like me, what does that even mean? Read more >>

By Todd Anthony Puma, July 26, 2012

John Sciacca Writes...

Almost Famous: The Celebrity Install

For most of us, celebrities travel about in a rarefied air that we barely have the opportunity to breathe. They are something to be viewed on screens big and small and on pages real and digital. But only so rarely to be glimpsed in the flesh. Read more >>

By John Sciacca, July 26, 2012