August 29, 2014
Shane KitzmanStaff Writer
Jason Chaney makes Man Cave dreams come true.
He’s spearheaded home theater creations as pricey as $60,000 as a Magnolia Designer and now leads the home theater department at Best Buy’s Mission Valley store in San Diego.
Maybe you’ve seen #MagnoliaMondays on Best Buy PR’s Instagram? That’s the work of Chaney and his peers.
So, want to know the hottest trend in home theater?
Wondering what’s the biggest no-no in manufacturing a Man Cave?
Chaney, a 32-year-old home theater veteran, answers all and shares his entertainment expertise.
Wait a minute. $60,000 for a home theater renovation? Really?
The most expensive jobs … some are $60,000. Average is $15,000 to 20,000, and those jobs would be two full days of work for a two-man team – 32 man hours.
Can customers just walk up and say to you ‘Make me a HGTV-worthy home theater?’
We often get customers who say, “I want you to walk my new house, the real Magnolia way, with an in-home consultation.”
And consultations are a half-hour at minimum, or can take as long as two-and-a-half hours.
How many of these consultations are you taking part in?
About two – sometimes three or four – a week. So more than 100 a year.
What’s the hottest trend in home theater right now?
Hiding everything – keeping all the components in the closet, or in another room and being controlled with home automation.
So, having speakers in the ceiling and being as hidden as possible, and then having just the TV on the wall with nothing beneath it.
The trend is very modern and minimalistic.
Day in, day out – what’s your biggest hurdle in designing home theaters?
Customers who want the largest TV possible that fits on the wall. I sometimes have to tell them it’s going to be too big. A lot of guys want an 80-inch or a 90-inch TV, and I have to say, “In this room, a 65-inch or 75-inch is going to be OK.”
Bottom line: A 65-inch TV at 10 feet away is perfectly adequate.
Spill: Most creative/craziest home theater creation you’ve worked on?
One customer wanted TVs in five different rooms, plus surround sound in two of those rooms, in addition to sound bars in the other rooms.
And he wanted everything – the DIRECTV, the Blu-ray players, everything – to be in the guest room closet. And that guest room didn’t have any of the TVs.
Plus he wanted speakers in the kitchen, and in the formal dining room, and more.
It took a lot of work, and ended up being $60,000.
For anyone’s home theater set-up: What’s the biggest no-no?
Don’t cheap out on accessories. You’re going to spend thousands of dollars on the system, so don’t choke it away on not having the right cables.
Audio cables and surge protectors – you buy them once and they’ll last you 10 years. The extra $200 you spend is just $20 a year. Make sure you enjoy your system.