What to expect going forward!
The problem with the advancement in technology is that the average consumer cannot understand that what they want to achieve will cost more than it did five years ago. They want to send their Sky Decoder channels to multiple TV’s, like they did at their last house. They used a low cost analogue modulator from a now defunct retail store to do it. Now they challenge you when you want to charge them hundreds of dollars to use this new contraption called a digital modulator to do the same job. You must be ripping me off they say. A TV is just a TV, right?
Technology issues are normally in the products that you don’t supply as part of your contract. You get all of the cabling in place and have a clear picture of what you told your client that you will achieve for them. Then your client goes into the super store and the young salesman talks them into buying the latest and greatest devices. Then they bring them home and ask you to set them up. To them a cable is a cable? Everything plugs into a power socket and it works right? Those HDMI over Cat6 cable extenders you used in the past are not designed for 4K signals. And now the new 4K (and going forward the 8K) TV they purchased won’t receive the signal. To the client it is your problem. And in some ways, it is. You need to fix it they say. But the cables are already in the wall and you can’t get down there again. If you remembered to also install a Cat6 cable it may get you out of jail. Fingers crossed!
The golden rule in today’s world is that you need to communicate with your client a lot more. You need to know when they are buying some new TV’s for the home, because any surprises at commissioning time often come back to bite the contractor in the wallet because your client expected this and got that. Does this sound familiar? The internet is literally the downfall of the contractor. When your client can go on these sites in Asia and see that they can buy a widget for $100.00 and you are charging them $300.00 for the “same” widget then you are ripping them off. I have actually heard of stories where the customer buys the widget and it doesn’t work. Egg on the face but at least that is their problem.
The issues are already starting to appear in the market. We know of a number of instances where the contractor has been getting the black screen of death.
The golden rules in dealing with 4K TV’s is that a standard HDMI cable between devices must be 4K and HDCP 2.2 compliant and no longer than 10 metres. A 15 metre cable should be the new active type. Anything above this length should be an HDMI Optical Long Haul cable. The ones you have always used may have worked fine with high definition 1080P signals but will they will be on, or over, the cliff edge with ultra-high definition 4K signals.
This article is about getting everyone to think about how they price up their jobs in the future. You need to understand the technology that you will be installing or connecting to. The days of doing it on the cheap with a piece of string are gone. Make sure you detail the smart devices that you will be installing in your quotation. If your client wants to question your price at least you can tell him why you have allowed for those devices. Good luck!