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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

How to Sell High-End Soundbars

Posted on April 9, 2013 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Last month I wrote a post titled, “How I learned to stop worrying and love the soundbar,” a play on the Dr. Strangelove title. That post detailed all of the reasons why I used to be prejudiced towards soundbars, and why we didn’t really capitalize on that segment of the market. But our company finally came around and realized...

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Kids Today, Customers Tomorrow

Posted on March 19, 2013 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (2)

Kids develop brand affinity and aspirational thinking pretty early on.

I – like many boys that were young in the 80s – had a Lamborghini poster on my bedroom wall many, many years before I could even think about getting a driver’s license, not to mention that it cost more than the house we were living in. But still, the desire for that red Countach was there. And still is there.


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Vanilla Ice's Custom Install Advice

Posted on February 26, 2013 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

With the bass kicked in, the Vegas are pumpin'

Quick to the point, to the point no faking

I'm cooking MC's like a pound of bacon

Burning them if they're not quick and nimble

Vanilla Ice, “Ice Ice Baby”

Be honest. You didn’t think that you would come to the blog today an...

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bar

Posted on February 19, 2013 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (0)

(That’s a Dr. Strangelove reference for all you non-cinephiles out there...)

There are many parts of this industry that I like… There’s that moment when you turn on a system for the first time and all of the keypads spring to life, come on line and start reporting metadata just like they’re suppose...

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You're Doing it Wrong!

Posted on February 12, 2013 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Because I like you, I’m going to share a hard truth with you. Because friends can be honest with each other, right, and say the tough things that need to be said.

Here goes: You’re not perfect.

And whether you’ve been in business for one year or 20 years, fresh out of CEDIA Boot Camp or a grizzled “I remember when you had to...

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Mr. Cooper Redux

Posted on January 28, 2013 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)

It has been nearly two years since we’ve had cause to tell a tale of Mr. Cooper here. For the uninitiated, here’s what you need to know about Mr. Cooper. It’s important to note that Mr. Cooper is not in any way your typical high ender. He lives in what sounds like project-type housing, drives a car that is in such poor shape it has *literally* broken down and stranded him in my parking lot, and he travels about 2 hours one way to come to my store. It all start...

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Sometimes the Customer is Just Plain WRONG!

Posted on January 2, 2013 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

We’ve all heard the old adage, “The customer is always right.” That no matter what they want, no matter what they demand, no matter how outrageous, off-mark or bizarre the request, that the customer is still right. (There’s a classic tale of Nordstrom’s – an upscale clothing/department store refunding a customer’s purchase for tires.)

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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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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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Be the Mariano Rivera of Black Friday

Posted on November 26, 2012 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Mariano Rivera is considered by some* to be the greatest relief pitcher – or “closer” – the game of baseball has ever known.

(* I’m sure this will infuriate some non-Yankees fans who will readily offer all the reasons why someone else is better, so I offer this and

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Scammed?! Not on my watch!

Posted on November 7, 2012 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (1)

Long time readers may recall our rather unceremonious parting of the ways with They Who Shall Not Be Named. Well, part of the fall-out of said ways parting was that we were left with quite a bit of inventory for which we were no longer a dealer. We’ve decided to get proactive in trying to clear out this old gear and have been advertising it on ...

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What's Covered? The dirty bit after the honeymoon

Posted on October 17, 2012 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)

There’s that golden, warm, sweet glowing period that surrounds that first, wonderful, falling-in-love part of a relationship. The sun shines a little brighter, birds chirp a little sweeter, rainbows add a new color and even Fiona Apple is happy.

During this time, everyone is on their best behavior and all the little faults and foibles are overlooked and often thought of as cute, endearing quirks.


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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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The thing that will save Custom

Posted on September 26, 2012 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (3)

When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.” -- Friedrich Nietzsche

If one isn’t careful, it can be far too easy to sneak past the protective guard rails, walk right up to the edge, and then lean over; peering deeply into the future of the custom installation industry and see nothing but a dark, cavernous abyss.

When talking about the future and longevity o...

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Get a job! 10 steps to becoming an A/V Pro

Posted on September 23, 2012 at 8:10 PM Comments comments (0)

It doesn’t happen as much anymore, but there was a time when one of my top “Questions from Readers” was, “How do I get a job in the Custom Installation industry?”

And it’s easy to see why people are interested in this industry.  You get to meet tons of interesting people, nearly every project/day at work is different, and you’re constantly working with the newest technologies and coolest gad...

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Boss Install: Black Diamond Anamorphic

Posted on August 28, 2012 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)

It’s no secret that I love anamorphic front projection systems. (For a thorough primer on what an anamorphic front projection system is, why it is so wicked-awesome and to see how it affects the video frame, click this link.)

There have been three principal reasons making it diffic...

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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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Floats like a Butterfly, Stings like a Face-full of Metal Pipe

Posted on July 27, 2012 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (5)

There comes a point in every person’s life when they are forced to do some real self-examining, soul searching. Where you say, “Just what sort of person am I? How would I respond to getting hit in the face with a highly polished piece of strengthened aluminum?”

As I told you before, I don’t often go into my day job thinking, “Hmm.

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Change Is Hard

Posted on July 24, 2012 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

As a general rule, I am not one that likes change. I like to float along in the same sea of comfortable, warm and cozy consistency of status quo. Slowly gliding down peaceful, familiar waters, doing similar, well-known, patterned things. If left to my own devices, I imagine there is at least an even odds chance that I would still be a golf pro, still living in the small apartment above the pro shop, still working six days a week. Miserable, and yet, somehow content in the numbi...

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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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