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Bigger is always better

Okay guys, huddle up. We may be losing control over our home theaters. A recent Best Buy Omnitel survey shows a growing demand by women for input and control over a home theater's purchase and use.

For instance, 74 percent of women said that sound quality was important to them. Of the men surveyed, only 54 percent said that sound quality was important.

Heck, I understand that. If you can hear the game announcers, the hits against the ball, the puck or the other guy, the sound's good enough.

Also, beer commercials aren't symphonies. Typically they involve cars, dogs, horses, or other guys. That kind of audio doesn't require a speaker system capable of breaking a wine glass at 50ft.

Women are also more concerned when it comes to actually using the equipment. I attribute this to button overload.

It takes seven remotes to fully control my home theater. I have one remote for the cable STB, one for the TV, one for the home theater sound system, one for the DVD player, one for the lighting automation and one each for the CD and VCR players. The computer's PVR is hooked in too, but that remote is kept in the den.

Guys know that — for the most part — remote controls are just tools. You use the basic buttons and forget the rest. We don't let a remote control intimidate us just because it has 75 buttons. All but the on-off button are probably options — extras — and who uses them?

Fortunately, when it comes to high-definition video and home theater installation, we guys still rule. More than half of the men in the survey said they could handle a home theater installation. Less than one-third of the women considered themselves qualified. Where are all the toolbelt divas?

There's always the option to hire the install from the box store. Although, few of us “in the industry” would admit to choosing such an option. We'd feel like a wimp. Anyone who can't strip, twist and shove a No. 12 stranded wire into a speaker tab or spin on an F connector without help probably isn't reading this magazine.

While the survey revealed one technical parameter where women and men do agree — picture quality — that could be misleading. You see, women view a TV set in terms of its packaging and environment. Men just look at the picture. We'd happily take a 75in HD plasma framed in a wooden crate, at the right price.

Not so long ago, the most important aspect of a TV was not the video image at all, but the looks of the set's wooden cabinet. TV sets were considered first a piece of furniture and then a television. And, it was the woman who decided whether any particular TV set was acceptable with her home's décor — too bad for the guy who really wanted a 21in color set when the woman in his life had her heart set on a traditionally-styled, oak cabinet with spindle overlays and wood grained top. Men, doesn't that just make you want to cry?

When it comes to home theater, there's only one rule: Bigger is always better. Bring on the sports, hand me a beverage, and turn up the sound. It's game time!

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