Most Americans try to self-install electronics -- and 30% fail

Commentary: A new survey suggests that when it comes to routers, set-top boxes, smart TVs and the like, many struggle to set them up.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

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Do you struggle with such things?


Can you put an IKEA wardrobe together without even looking at the instructions?

Oh, you can? 

And when you buy a piece of home electronics, do you simply rip open the box, connect the wires with seamless ease, all while humming the collected works of Kendrick Lamar?

It appears that most Americans have such confidence. It also appears that much of that confidence is misplaced.

I've just cast exclusive eyes on a survey to be published next week. 

It asked 1,539 Americans aged 18 and above what they did when they bought set-top boxes, smart TVs, modems, printers and the like.

Seventy-five percent of them insisted that they tried to install these things themselves. In an apparent explanation of this penchant, 70 percent said that they would rather go to the dentist than fail at self-installation, thereby forcing them to call tech support. 

Then, sadly, a tinge of truth emerged. Thirty percent admitted that they routinely failed and called tech support anyway.

You'll be stunned into needing emotional support when I tell you that the survey was performed by TechSee, a company that beams visual AI-powered assembly assistance to your phone in order to prevent you from smashing the valuable electronics you've just bought.

Still, there's a touching torture coursing through these results.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents said that they didn't find installation easy. Eighty-seven percent of baby boomers admitted that they struggled. Which, some might say, merely proves that baby boomers are more honest.

You might wonder, though, which areas of installation were the most painful. 

Almost half said that they struggled with software configuration. When it comes to those who fought most with the hardware, 27 percent said the cabling and wiring stumped them, while 12 percent couldn't even identify the components. 

What, then, will happen should some of these Americans buy Samsung's 146-inch modular TV, nicknamed The Wall? Unveiled last week at CES, it promises the ability for you to adjust the size of the screen.

Let's hope the instructions are really, really simple.

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