AV 101: Good, Better, Best




This one is new to me… I have never seen, or just never noticed, the good, better, best designation on HDTV’s.


Check out this month’s edition of InAVate Magazine

January/February 2013 InAVate Magazine

This month I am in InAVate Magazine. I was interviewed by Anna Mitchell for the article “Beauty with Brains”. The feature is on Page 32 of the magazine. You can read the article by following the either of the links below. One will take you to InAVate’s website while the other will take you to the Active Magazine Subscriber site. Check it out and let me know what you think?

Thanks again for checking out the site.



InAVate Magazine Jan2012



REDBAND: Social Media: Friend and Foe for Your Business? By Todd Anthony Puma

Todd questions the use of Social media and Customer Relations…

Social Media: Friend and Foe for Your Business? by Todd Anthony Puma

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. It just burns you up inside that they had the nerve to post it so that all of their followers could read it. You call your friend and the two of you fight it out until he agrees to remove the tweet from his page.

But what if it’s not that easy? What if it’s you in the “tweeting” seat and you have posted about someone that you don’t know well enough to work it out? What if you vented about a job you were working on earlier in the day and [gasp] that client saw it and knew you were talking about them?…

Continue Reading the article below:



Todd Anthony Puma is the CEO & Founder of The Source Home Theater. Check out his  website at The Source Home Theater and follow him on twitter at  @ToddAnthonyPuma .

REDBAND: Clare Controls Online Training was Purely Hands-On by Todd Anthony Puma

Todd goes to school on Clare Controls…

Clare Controls Online Training was Purely Hands-On By Todd Anthony Puma

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?

Ever have that experience doing product training with a manufacturer of consumer electronics products? Large class sizes can really influence how effective a training will be and just how much you get out of it.

A few weeks ago, I posted a story about the importance of a great rep firm with an on-site training facility. Well, it doesn’t apply just to rep firms. Being able to do a hands-on training with a manufacturer is crucial, and doubly so when it’s for an AV control system…

To continue reading Click below:



Todd Anthony Puma is the CEO & Founder of The Source Home Theater. Check out his  website at The Source Home Theater and follow him on twitter at  @ToddAnthonyPuma .

REDBAND: How an AV Rack Can Benefit You and Your Customer By Todd Anthony Puma


Check out Todd’s latest Article on the benefits and use of an AV Rack in Residential AV.

How an AV Rack Can Benefit You and Your Customer By Todd Anthony Puma

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.

The best part was that my two-year-old daughter loved to watch TV leaning over the entertainment unit with her face about two inches from the 51-inch screen and her little belly pushing against the dial on my Marantz receiver—which would constantly switch the inputs, and switch off her favorite show. If my wife and I weren’t paying attention, she would attempt to fix the input herself by turning the dial a hundred times until either her show came back on or the whole thing would freeze up. For all of you fanatics out there (like me), you can share in my “AHHHHH!!!” moment when you feel like you are running in slow motion to grab hold of her…

Read the entire post here:





Todd Anthony Puma is the CEO & Founder of The Source Home Theater. Check out his  website at The Source Home Theater and follow him on twitter at  @ToddAnthonyPuma .


REDBAND: 5 Reasons Why Discs Aren’t Quite Dead by John Sciacca

5 Reasons Why Discs Aren’t Quite Dead by John Sciacca

Electronics-industry pundits and consultants, along with futurists, have long been eager to declare disc-based media dead. Almost as quickly as a new format is announced, we’re quickly reassured, “This, surely, will be the last physical media format we see.”

And the digital writing is definitely on the wall. Streaming and downloading will be the future of audio/video distribution. There are just too many benefits to digital delivery over physical media, including the convenience to the user, the cost savings in manufacturing and shipping, and even the landfill savings by eliminating all the unnecessary packaging…

Continue reading on the story by clicking the link below:



John Sciacca started a personal blog back in 2010 which dared to ask the hard questions like, “Huh?” and “Whaa?” all written in a pithy, deliciously witty and uproarious manner. His blog likes to make new friends and would love to have you over for some caramels. You can follow John Sciacca on Twitter @sciaccatweets  and at his personal blog www.johnsciacca.webs.com


REDBAND : New Series and New Blogger

A friend and fellow AV professional recently took a contract to work in the country of Qatar. He packed his tools and personal belongings and moved out to Doha to provide AV services. For those not familiar with Qatar check it out here. Something of interest to note is that Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

We recently chatted via Skype about what its like to be away from home and especially the differences in cultures. In an instant conversation switched to technology. That lead to an idea  having him provide REDBAND with a look into technology from ” a regular American AV guys” point of View.

I’m happy to introduce O’Donnell to REDBAND and his “Stranger in a Strange Land” posts from Qatar.




REDBAND: Customer Service Means Everything in Custom Integration by Todd Anthony Puma

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.
A while back, I wrote a blog on the importance of a great rep firm behind you and recently, I have been enlightened to the fact that it not only takes a great rep, but goes even deeper than that to the manufacturers.

What happens when you’re stuck on a job where the product you are installing is just not working right no matter what you do? Who better to be able to call for assistance than the company who manufactures the product? In a lot of cases, it can be very annoying to call these companies because you can go through a million different “selection” options and wait on hold for hours with technical support. It ends up being frustrating for you AND your client….

To continue reading Click the link Below:


REDBAND: AVademics by Joshua Stackhouse

AVademics by Joshua Stackhouse

 I’ve been hearing a lot of talk lately about certifications in the AV industry. Some believe they’re critical to the growth of our industry, some believe they’re a piecemeal  solution to a bigger problem, a lack of formal academics. It is my belief that both parties have a lot of merit to their respective views, but both fall short of the big picture.

The future of education in our industry will look very similar to an electrician or engineer. Formal academics will become increasingly more common as the systems which we work with become increasingly more complex. Installers will go to school to learn their trade and then get certified just as electricians do. System designers will have formal degrees not entirely unlike a traditional architect in “AV Engineering”, a mixture of both structural and electrical engineering.

I’d like to take just a moment to point out that in less than one month I’ll be graduating with an Associates of Applied Science in Electronics and Audio/Visual Systems. Upon graduating I will have spent an intensive 18 months of my life learning everything from principles and methods of building construction to electronic circuit analysis and every basic AV principle in between.  So when I make this prediction I speak from an understanding of how powerful formal AV education is and how it will shape the future of our industry.

Which leaves me pondering, if very few other people in the industry have formal academic training in AV, what then is the value of my degree? Mind you this is not a judgement of the quality of my education, but rather a question about the recognition of its value by industry professionals. Since many in the industry have not yet heard about such a thing, then what does that mean for me as a professional? Does my degree mean anything to people in the industry?

As it turns out, yes…yes it does have meaning. However, that meaning isn’t exactly obvious. To really understand requires a bit of explanation.

I have dedicated 18 months of my life to learning the science behind AV, the electronics that makes them tick, how these systems are installed, and how to design them.  The depth of my knowledge surpasses that of an average apprentice. I could walk on to any of a dozen different AV or Low-Voltage job sites and easily follow the instruction of a veteran with little guidance.

The simple fact remains, however, that my actual hands on experience with many of the things I have learned is somewhat limited, which places me in this awkward position to be more than a noob but less than an expert.

Which is precisely where I want to be. You see I’m not actually following in the traditional path of career development. While many, indeed if not most, AV guys and gals started with an interest in AV and learned as they went along, I went to school first and have a rich understanding of not only the systems themselves but also the industry  before even making my career debut.

Which leads me to this conclusion. The days where just any guy with a van can pull up to your house, pull some cable in your home and call himself an installer is gone like the dinosaurs. For this industry to continue its growth the level of skill necessary for installers and designers must grow with it.

This is not an easy task, and companies who want to succeed will need to increase the knowledge of their employees to beyond mere certifications.  They will need people who are highly trained professionals, no different from a doctor or master electrician. It is here where our esteemed industry veterans must step up to the challenge of working with institutions of higher learning to create formal academics.  This is how my program was created and only by doing so can the next generation of AV professionals be born.

This second generation AV professional, or AV Pro v2.0,  isn’t coming, he and she are here already. Which is precisely where persons such as myself with a formal academic background come into the picture. It is my hope that this blog post serve as a wakeup call to the veteran AV professionals. Look to programs such as the one I am graduating from as inspiration and source material. Take your own approach, talk to your local higher-ed institutions and make something happen. Combine this with the efforts of organizations such as InfoComm and it’s certifications and I promise you that our industry will flourish. So, what are you waiting for Mr. Veteran AV Guy, don’t you have some phone calls to make?

Check out Joshua Stackhouse profile on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter: @StackhouseAV

REDBAND: Pandora Boxed In: Fixing an Internet Radio Service Disruption by Todd Anthony Puma

Pandora Boxed In: Fixing an Internet Radio Service Disruption by Todd Anthony Puma

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. Then your great day is stopped dead in its tracks as you hear message after message from angry clients who can’t play music through the system you installed. You spend half your day on the phone troubleshooting and the other half running to as many of their homes and businesses as you can to try to fix these problems. It’s not until late that night when you finally receive an email informing you that Pandora had performed an update that many receiver manufacturers could not support.

When Pandora’s most recent update went into effect, some manufacturers were on top of it, coming up with a solution (even if it was just a temporary Band-Aid), while many others are STILL looking for a solution…

Click below to read the entire article originally posted on Residential Systems: