Designing the great room home theater in a $500,000-plus install in San Francisco's Bay Area would have been a heck of a lot harder without the help of Digital Projection, Inc. (DPI) Concierge Service, says Brandon Smith, president of Scotts Valley, Calif.-based integration firm Brandon Smith Audio Design.
The service, which DPI officially rolled out when it introduced its Insight 4K laser projector in 2016, is included with the purchase for integrators.
“[The service] allowed us sort of a back door into Digital Projection,” says Smith. “We have dedicated support staff there that we work with who understand the projector, and understand the installation. We also have the ability to communicate directly with engineering at Digital Projection.”
During the San Francisco project design and installation, DPI provided information on specifications, airflow requirements and more. This allowed Smith the freedom to plan out things like cabinetry and ventilation needs. At the end of the process, DPI calibrated the projector on-site.
While it wasn't formally rolled out as a program at the time, Digital Projection Inc. (DPI) started its concierge service 20 years ago when it shipped its first projector.
“When we first brought our products to market they were brand new technology,” says Mike Akridge, VP of operations at DPI. “Early on we adopted this view, ‘We really have got to be involved with this. If we’re going to be successful, we need our dealers and the staging partners to be successful.'”
Then, with the introduction of Digital Projection’s Insight 4K projectors in 2016, the Concierge Service was formally announced.
“We recognized that our 4K platform represented a very similar step forward—a new technology with the introduction of the first high-def image platform,” says Akridge.
Moving into a different resolution, how that signal is transmitted, and how it is processed is a significant order of magnitude in difficulty.
“A 4K signal is four times a 1080p signal,” explains Akridge. “The bandwidth and the signal processing required has to be properly processed end-to-end or you’re going to have a compromised image. You’ll have a great, very expensive projector and it won’t look good.”
How DPI's Concierge Service Works
The DPI Concierge Service includes as much expertise a dealer/installer might need to help ensure a successful installation.
“I need to say this the right way—I don’t ever want us to be the ones with the light on us—that’s for our dealers,” says Akridge. “I want them to enjoy the visibility of the success. I want them to have that glow around them. If we can be there and support them and help them be successful, then we’ve done our job.”
Every install has different needs, but Akridge provided an overview.
“Fundamentally, when we get the order for the projector we have an initial call, we reach out to the project manager or project engineer both. We ask for as much information as they’re comfortable sharing—drawings, details about the installation, expectations—and we’re happy to sit down and have meetings face-to-face or conduct initial calls to review the engineering,” says Akridge. “We present information, we ask questions, and then we’ll arrange the site survey. We’ll either support them during the install, or at least be in very closely after that to do the system commissioning.”
To date Akridge has been intimately involved with each Concierge Service support project. His most rewarding part?
“Celebrating with them at the end and being able to share the excitement,” says Akridge. Oftentimes he is with the dealer and homeowner for the unveiling and there’s a collective, “Wow, that’s the best image we’ve ever seen.’”
Check out the full project with photos here: Look Inside a Great Room Home Theater Design and Installation