Thank you for being a valued part of the CNET community. As of December 1, 2020, the forums are in read-only format. In early 2021, CNET Forums will no longer be available. We are grateful for the participation and advice you have provided to one another over the years.


CNET Support

General discussion

I Want To Become A Professional Home Theater Installer!!

Jul 27, 2006 10:49AM PDT

Im wanting to become a professional home theater installer and build a buisness some time in the future. Right now im going to my 1st year in college and I want to focus my major in to something that will help me in the home theater side of business. I do know that to become certified a professional I guess I would have to go to a THX course or something of the sort. I want my company to be part of the whole entire part of building the home theater room. I want to be able to go in on the design of the room all the way to the hooking up of electronics.
So im asking what would be help full areas or class's I could take make me successful in my dream.

Discussion is locked

- Collapse -
Acoustic design
Jul 27, 2006 12:56PM PDT

Not sure where or what is available, but I do know there are people with education in acoustics. Many of these may have started out looking at recording studio design, but the designs now carry over to real home theatres. Keep in mind, only a very small percentage of home theatres out there are built to these extreems.
Other than good sales and business courses, others can be taken like THX certification, ISF.
Cedia offers many courses at their annual convention (this year in Denver).
Many that do home theatres also are involved with home automation, which can require computer programming skills like C+ and Java, or look to the other side and understand architecture and building design.
Another big requirement that many in this business are just now finding out they need more knowledge of, networking and dealing with IP based systems. It's really only a matter of time before we start streaming HD content around our homes. Unfortunatly it will be hard lessons to learn, that you better not try to do this through a 200.00 linksys router.
There are few ideas and directions you can go. As a potential owner, you may want to be good at sales and business, with a modest understanding of the rest.

- Collapse -
Great directions
Jul 27, 2006 1:05PM PDT

the only thing I could add is make sure you do this in a strong market like cali or miami, where people have the money for these types of systems, also as AD said try ISF training.

Might not be a bad idea to work part time at an electronics store like BB, CC, or Ultimate, you might not learn alot but you will learn about diffrent markets and comp companys.

good luck.

- Collapse -
And in addition, work with a contractor
Jul 27, 2006 1:50PM PDT

A lot of installations may involve homes where you need to know your way around the structure of a house (walls, flooring, where support walls are, studs, drywall, re-texturing, etc.). Either learn how to do this stuff yourself or work with a really good contractor. Doing home theater installation isn't limited to simply draping cables along the floor. You'll probably be ripping walls apart, pulling up flooring, installing in-wall and in-ceiling speakers and you will need to leave the house looking exactly how it did before you used the saws-all. Happy

- Collapse -
I do have a little experiance
Jul 30, 2006 1:47AM PDT

I do Have a little experiance in the contracting area I worked with a budy and his dad for 4 years building houses and we did every thing from pouring concrete to painting so i have a little knowledge of that.
So Iv gotten out of this disccussion is that, computer programming and networking is must, along with architecture and building design. And with that it wouldnt hurt to learn about Acoustic design.
These things have been very help full because like new buisness owners you always start out doing all the work your self. When I start to decide what classes im gonna take for school Ill be looking for those areas to help me to succeed.

- Collapse -
a little more suggestion
Jul 30, 2006 12:50PM PDT

since you built houses for about 4 probably know that reading about things for your whole life is nothing compared to actually getting hands on experience.

there are a lot of big box stores (bby, circuit city, abt electronics, etc) that will hire parttime installers too. they will be helpers going around helping out fulltime installers. you can learn ways to do things that you can't read in a book. you can actually see how they interact with customers that they dont teach you in a book. it'll teach you the basics, and schooling will teach you everything else.

i'm in sales at best buy (no bashing please Grin ). every new full-timer we get in HT, we let them tag along with an installer for a whole day. it shows them how everything is done, and will give you confidence when talking about it. imagine you're the owner of a HT installation business....if someone comes in wanting 10 tv's mounted in a bar and 5 speakers in each of the 4 VIP rooms. its a lot easier to get them the right stuff if you know what the installer needs. you wont look like a fool either. customers love it when you say "hi, my name is BLAH and i'm the owner of blah blah blah. let me help you get everything you need and i'll give you a good price" instead of "hi, my name is blah. i own this place but i have no idea how help you. let me make a phone call to someone who can"

- Collapse -
None in my area.
Jul 31, 2006 7:10AM PDT

Yeah i would love to work in one of those stores just the crappy thing is that there are none of those stores in my area and the closet one is about 1 1/2 hours away. Right now im just starting to go to school and I get to go really cheap both my parents work at the college so I really cant give it up lol. We have one home and mobile store and they suck *** to be honest. We have had them come and wire up some theaters for a few houses of ours and they did such a crappy job that I had to go back and fix it. The funny thing is that I would go in to ask if they have such and such speakers for a home owner and like you said a store that dont know crap they were like uuuhhhhh.... let me look in a book or call some one its redicules.

- Collapse -
Electronics Engineering Technology - Communications (3years)
Jul 27, 2006 2:34PM PDT

thats what i graduated at Seneca College in Toronto, Canada. its a 3 year program that gives u an upgrade to degree option for another 2 years at a university

its not exactly what u need, but its pretty close,

it all depends on precisely what u want ur job to be, and by the way, before u even open ur own business, u need to gain experience working for others and seeing how this business works

a lot of companies value people with experience, so its hard to get hired right out of college for a good position, so a lot of people do crappy jobs like a technician for an ISP or a phone company

i dont know of any THX courses but a buddy of mine graduated Trebas Institute for Sound Engineering which does carry some electronics in it, but mostly sound design, recording, mastering.. ect..

and YEs, i can almost guarantee u that u will need to learn some kind of programming language. i was taught microcontroller programming, which is basically machine language (a big headache) which is the basis for all programing. u manipulate binary and hex values on a microchip, also "C", visual basic, VHDL, autocad and networking, which is not programming but also good to know. besides programming, the rest is all electronics, control systems, and communications

have fun, study hard

- Collapse -
Toronto too..
Jul 27, 2006 10:43PM PDT

Nice to see I'm not the only one from this area posting here....
You reminded me of another thing, CAD. If you plan on designing home theatres, CAD drawing and being able to do renderings can be a great asset.
As for THX, yes there are courses offered in California at the Lucas Ranch I believe, once again very few clients are willing to part with the money it takes to put together a real theatre that would follow the THX standards.
Our poster should also remember, these are all elements that make up a high end custom firm and obviously one person isn't likely to be an expert in all these disiplines, thats what we have a staff for.
I am sure out of all these choices, he will be able to find something to dig into and learn.

- Collapse -
forgot to ask...
Jul 27, 2006 10:46PM PDT

Mindmelt, what are you doing now that you have finished school?

- Collapse -
looking for a good job
Jul 28, 2006 3:08AM PDT

yah i cant find the job that specifically relates to my field. i did have a few chances at becoming a service technician for a broadband cable company, and an ISP, but i didnt want to be a technician, many companies are asking for several years of experience in the field, which i do not have, but being a technician is not something i am interested in to gain that experience

other than that i still have my old job right now, i am a corporate team trainer for Cineplex enertainment LP. its a movie theatre chain across Canada they own about 60-65% of the business in this country, i train new employees and promoted supervisors

i know it sucks, but i am hoping to get a good job soon

- Collapse -
Aug 2, 2006 4:07AM PDT

Check out some hi-end home theater stores in your area for mabey a part time job. You would learn sooo much and sometimes they may send you to factory training schools Working for a hi-end vidio store would really help you good luck to you stewee

- Collapse -
Ask questions
Aug 4, 2006 2:26AM PDT

I would find a good professional home theatre installer that runs a private business, not BB or CC based, and ask them how they started up and any advice they could give you to get on your feet. Maybe even ask if you could ride along with them on some jobs, even if they don't pay you. Maybe all you need instead of a ton of schooling is an investor and some networking for a few clients to start off. I would definitely get certified to handle THX though since all the yuppies you would be working for would want perfect THX sound for their homes.

A business background would definitely help for making good business decisions though.

- Collapse -
I've got one word for you...........
Aug 18, 2006 11:44PM PDT


google it.

- Collapse -
Become A Professional Home Theater Installer
May 27, 2009 12:54AM PDT
- Collapse -
Home Theater Installer
May 27, 2009 2:28PM PDT

I have been an Installer for about 4 yrs now, and sold Home AV equipment for 7-8 years.

No college, just lots of hard work.

Ive worked for a few company's Circuit city, Ultimate electronics, NFM, Independence Audio/Video (small mom and pop store) and BB.

currently at BB, because almost everyone else is just out of bussiness.

Home theater install covers alot of diffrent things, it can be as simple as hooking a cable box to a TV or designing a room from scratch with lots of speakers, dvd managment, etc.
what are you wanting to do?

if you want to do design, I will warn you there is not alot of business for this, you need to live in a elite area and work with builders or take business from local electronics company's.

I also know a few people who have their own small install company's and they all work with builders, and everyone is slow in my neck of the woods, most of the jobs they get are pre-wiring homes if the builder doesnt use the electrician, and most of the time they do not get to complete the job, the new owner of the home doesnt have anything put in right away, and when they get around to it, they forgot all about the company who did the pre-wire.

I would try to find out what area of home theater install you want to do and where, and see if there is a market for it first.

good luck