Home Theater Buying Tips: Qualifying Reviews

August 19, 2006

ReviewsThis is the first post in a series that will cater to first time buyers or those who want to make a more informed decision, on that second or third component for your home theater system. So with that I promise no technical mumbo jumbo (at least not without a good explanation) in this series of posts.

What I want to do is simplify things, drastically so. Much of the customer dissatisfaction and problems associated with new purchases revolve around the very medium we’re using to communicate, the internet. Or more accurately many of the expectations we have in new equipment purchases come from the reviews we read on the internet.

Way back when, ok I’m kidding it wasn’t way back, it was more like 8 or 9 years ago. Regardless back then we relied on our own wits, print magazines, word of mouth and or dealer recommendations to get the majority of our information on what was the latest and greatest piece of gear for our home theaters.

Fast forward to 2006 and it’s painfully obvious that there are so many sources of information out there; it’s easy to get led down the wrong path. At the risk of coming off as a bit of a wise-apple many of these ‘sources’ have never even seen the products their reviewing.

Shameful I know but their simply rewording the reviews of others and throwing in their own 2-cents. The problem with this is without a real hands-on impression of the gear in question, it’s easy to get several parrot reviews of a product that all originated from the same source.

Now of course the older, established, trusted sites are rarely guilty of this but guess who all the parrots are quoting? That’s right that same handful of sites, so again, in the end 5 reviews of any given product may have originated from the same source.

And by the time you read all 5 you might be left with the impression ‘hey all these sites love this piece, it must be great’, but what if it isn’t? who do you really have to blame if you bought a piece of gear based on a parroted recommendation?

Tying that in with my original goal here, I want this series of post to empower those of you who aren’t quite sure how to go about picking out the perfect piece of gear for your system and I’d like to see less reliance on dubious reviews.

Yes I know that sounds odd coming from someone who writes reviews for a living but I feel that a balanced approach of reading reviews combined with not in lieu of a more informed personal decision, will serve you better in the long run. Stay tuned for the next post in this series.

Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Home Theater Equipment