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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Seriously, Does Anyone Actually Use LinkedIn?

Posted on April 26, 2013 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (2)

As I write this, I am clicking “accept” from the “so and so has indicated you are a friend and wants to be a connection” thing on LinkedIn. This brings my total number of connections to well over 500+ (I think 823 is the actual number). Of that, the overwhelming majority have indicated they want to “connect” with me because we are “friends.” In actuality, I have never heard of 90% of these people.

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WTF? CEDIA Invites Nest CEO as Keynote Speaker?!?

Posted on April 19, 2013 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Like many of you, I received a postcard from CEDIA the other day getting me pumped for the 2013 EXPO.

Honestly, not much pumping is required. I love the EXPO. And by “love” I mean I frickin’ love the EXPO

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Why You Should Embrace Black Bars

Posted on April 19, 2013 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Since the dawn of man, few things have united us spindly bipeds like our common, loathsome, blind-rage hatred for black bars in our video. Black…frickin’…bars?!  Instead of the movie?!? How dare they?! HOW…DARE…THEY?!?

This is America where we want more of things, not less. We want 244-ounce sodas with unlimited refills, and hamburgers with numerous patties and covered in enough sauce and cheese ...

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The Death of the Dedicated Theater Room

Posted on April 8, 2013 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

(To be honest, I think a better, more accurate title would be “The Rise of the Multi-use Space,” but that’s not nearly as eye-grabby . . .)

When my wife and I went shopping for our first home years ago, I looked at each space with an eye toward not how we would live in the house, nor which would offer the best resale value, nor how much natural light would we get in the space. No. All of those thing...

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i'm Watch Review: i'm Sad, i'm Angry, i'm Confused, i'm Fail

Posted on March 27, 2013 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (4)

Remember the Iraqi Information Minister? He was that guy during the first Desert Storm that would get on TV and make those awesome declarations about how the Iraqi army was doing. With jets streaking overhead, bridges blowing up, tanks being obliterated and US troops holding hands and hopscotching into Baghdad, good ole Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf kept a stern face and proclaimed such awesomeness as:

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How the Multiplex Killed Movie-going

Posted on March 17, 2013 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (0)

For a site that bears Theo Kalomirakis’s name — a man who whose multiyear love affair with cinema could be considered borderline obsessive — you wouldn’t think there would be so much bashing about the cinematic experience. Or, maybe because the site does have Theo’s name on it — the

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Living in the Golden Age of High Tech

Posted on March 9, 2013 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (3)

My recent post on Prima Cinema’s game-changing day & date home-delivery system elicited a comment from DarkOrion69 that got me thinking. As background for appreciating Mr. 69’s comment, the Prima hardware currently sells for $35,000 and each movie viewing costs $500. The comment was:


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Video: Just Good Enough Shouldn't Be

Posted on February 1, 2013 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (3)

With all of the talk of 4K/Ultra HD TV and OLED coming out of CES this year, you might be fooled into thinking that people actually care about things like picture quality and performance. You might think that we wouldn’t keep getting these new formats and technologies that can deliver resolution so high that

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Six Reasons Why Home Theater is Killing the Multiplex

Posted on December 21, 2012 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Let’s be honest—the movie-theater experience isn’t as rosy as it used to be. For lots—and lots—of reasons, seeing movies at home just makes more sense for a lot of people.

In fact, since I invested in my home theater system a few years ago—extravagant by some standards, merely modest by others, but always awesome to me—I rarely go out to the movies anymore.

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Step 1: Amazon Cuts a Hole in the Box...

Posted on December 14, 2012 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)

There’s no question that Amazon is moving a lot of TVs. I mean, they frequently sell them at prices that are at or under wholesale, you can browse through dozens of reviews and find the set with the most “THIS IS THE SET THAT I OWN! SO IT’S THE MOST AWESOME! ANY OTHER SET IS FOR LOSERS AND NEWBS! ANY OTHER COMMENTS ARE FROM SPAMMERS AND HATERS! THIS SET IS THE BEST!!!!” comments by it and then click-to-order. All of this while sipping a beer at 2 in the ...

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It's Still Frickin' Illegal!

Posted on December 13, 2012 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

In a blog post by Gene Newman titled "Just play the damn movie!" he mentions his distaste for all the propaganda that’s forced upon viewers before the movie starts, including the threats of being “thrown in jail for sharing this movie because piracy is a major crime.”

While I agree with Gene th...

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A leopard can't change its spots...

Posted on December 7, 2012 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (5)

...and a Jerk can’t change his true nature.

Many years ago, when young(er) John was just starting out in this home theater industry, he crossed paths with someone we’ll call Mr. Menace.

Menace was building a fairly large new home and expressed extreme interest in having all of the latest and coolest technology of the day: A dedicated media room with front pro...

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Mo' Custom, Mo' Problems

Posted on October 9, 2012 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Lest you all think that I just sit around at work all day listening to the sound of my arteries hardening, trolling the Internet for the latest The Gregory Brothers autotuned masterpiece, or working on some new 2500 word blogging manifesto, I thought I’d share not one but TWO calls I received yesterday. These share the kinds of “oh, this crazy, crazy world we work in!” stuff that I imagine custom...

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On Reviewing Gear

Posted on October 4, 2012 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (2)

When you think about it, there are really only a handful of people out there that have the good great fortune to be able to review audio/video gear professionally. And I’m not talking about the people that post the exhaustive, five-or-more minute, “I just got a new gizmo! Watch me unbox it and pull out all of the manuals and accessories! And I’ll show you the front and rear panel and describe each connection!” videos, or the ones that tr...

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We already do what Best Buy strives for

Posted on August 3, 2012 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

For years Best Buy has been the daunting Goliath of the consumer electronics world. With market moving pricing (thanks for killing the entire video segment, by the way!), vast selection and massive buy-now/get-now inventory, they frequently rolled into towns and quickly dominated other companies right out of business. They’re huge, with more than a tho...

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The Other Side of the Jerk Phone Call

Posted on July 17, 2012 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (1)

My Padawan-learner, Heather Sidorowicz, put up her first blog this week at Resi Systems on the topic of Earning ‘Extra Mile’ Respect in Custom Installation. (I suggest that you read it and acquaint yourself with Heather; something tells me that we'll be reading more from her in the future.) (In fact, please to read

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Installation Nightmares - 9 Professional Horror Stories

Posted on July 8, 2012 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (351)

A couple of weeks ago, I was called out to look at a job. The house had already been pre-wired and now that the customer had moved in, he was ready to have some audio installed to – to borrow an over-used phrase – “make the house a home.” (A nice housewide audio system has a way of doing that though, don’t ya think?)

So I’m going through the home with him and he is explaining what he’d like me to...

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Maintaining the Balance of Power

Posted on June 21, 2012 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (1)

"In Asian and Chinese philosophy, the concept of yin yang, which is often referred to in the West as 'yin and yang,' literally meaning 'dark and light,' is used to describe how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn. Opposites thus only exist in relation to each other.” -- Wikipedia

In any healt...

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Stop telling me it's a GOOD problem!

Posted on June 11, 2012 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (1)

As I write this, I am looking out the window of a rented home at powdery white sand the consistency of confectioner’s sugar and blue-green, rolling, crashing waves. I’m thankfully on vacation this week and SO glad to have ducked away from my custom installation offices for a brief respite.

I can also imagine that while I write this, the phone is continuing to ring off the hook at Custom Theater; both lines tag-teaming each oth...

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Sometimes "Winning" is really Losing

Posted on June 5, 2012 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (6)

A cautionary tale presented in multiple e-mails…


How a Client Relationship Can Be Destroyed in Just a Few Hours.

So, we had a customer come in the store awhile back. He asked about having his TV wall-mounted, connecting the gear in a closet behind the TV and hiding all of the...

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