Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Guardian #1 – Cable and Data

**Disclaimer:  this is excessive ranting, I'm sorry - feel free to skip to the pricing at the end if interested.  I guess I'm upset because I truly feel like we are being taken advantage of on this portion - their pricing on some of the simple stuff is outrageous.

We went last night for our Guardian selection appointment.  The positive is that we had a very good sales representative-no pressure at all. Although he didn’t explain anything about the wiring options/outlet/package options available, but it could have been my fault that I didn't ask.  Now I knew going into this that Guardian was costly and I also knew we really didn’t have much play in our budget, so I was prepared for the fact that we would not get our desired setup.  I was not dreaming big, was not even considering surround sound for the “good” TV or surround pre wire, but I was hoping to have flat panel pre-wires for most of the rooms, to prevent the ugly hanging cables.  I know hiding cables is easy for many to do themselves but that's just not in our skill set.

In my area, Ryan includes 2 phone jacks and 2 cable outlets.  I asked to have one of the phone jacks converted to a cable outlet and although the rep stated Ryan didn’t like to do that (in the event I didn’t close on the house, they would have difficulty with the resale because the house wasn’t wired with standard offerings), he agreed to put the order in for just a single telephone jack.

In the end, this is what we ended up with:
Basement – Cable, Ethernet, Flat Panel Pre Wire (same stud)
Family Room – Cable, Ethernet, Flat Panel Pre Wire (adjoining wall, tv is over fireplace and we didn't didn’t want the AV equipment on the fireplace/window wall)
Study – Ethernet
Master – Cable, Ethernet in the “main” room and a Flat Panel Pre Wire in the sitting area.
The way we set up the master is that the FPPW in the sitting area is connected to the setup in the “main” area.  I didn’t want to pay Verizon $10 each month for an additional box, when we will only be using one TV at a time in the master. So I’ll put a switch on the AV equipment and will be able to use equipment in the main TV or in the sitting area.  Yes, the switch is an extra step but  is totally worth not paying for the extra box. 
3 Bedrooms – one Cable in each

My husband’s one request was that the data cable be upgraded to CAT6, so we did pick that upgrade. 

Except for the flat panel pre wires, I find our picks to be pretty standard/basic for new homes.  So why did this cost us $2525????  Aargh!  They should go for much, much less.  The work required to run a few cable and data lines is pretty simple in new construction compared to having to fish through walls and basements/attics for existing homes.  I just don't get it, but maybe it’s just me.

So I got home and realized that a detailed cost sheet for our options was not included in the paperwork the representative gave us.  Why is it not standard to provide customers with a breakdown of what they are paying for?  No big, the representative emailed me one this morning after I requested it but next time I know to check for one before I leave.  

Here's what $2525 got us:

11 total cable/data/phone
4 provided by Ryan                       $    0
6 Guardian “package”                    $765
1 additional                                    $150

5 CAT6 upgrades at $35/each        $175  (the phone is a CAT6 too)

Flat Panel Pre-Wire
1 same stud, HIGH speed HDMI     $330 
1 same wall, HIGH speed                $440
1 standard/remote, HIGH HDMI     $665
All I can say is for these flat panel pre-wire prices we SHOULD be getting the BEST HDMI cable available and not the "economy" stuff I know they are going to lob off on us.  Even then, 35 feet of excellent HDMI cable runs less than $50.  So taking out the super special HDMI cables that can cook dinner and wash clothes, what justifies the cost of running a cable a few feet in the same room and putting wall plates on each end?

Here’s the Guardian pricing  in my area:
Multimedia Outlet $350                single wall plate: Ethernet, cable & phone
6 outlet “package” $765               any combination of Ethernet, cable or phone
Single outlet $150                         Ethernet, cable or phone
Connectivity Package $1225*
        one multi-port outlet, one network/router switch, 5 combined Ethernet and cable outlets           
CAT6 Ethernet Upgrade $35/ea                
42” Wiring Enclosure Upgrade $235          ??? no clue what this is

*Guardian rep did not explain this Connectivity Package or the network/router switch to me at all so I’m not sure what they are.  I would have liked to know about this.  Hopefully I’m not missing out on something that I would have wanted.  Not feeling good about that.

Wall-mount Flat Panel Pre-wire Only
Same Stud          Standard HDMI $330      High Speed HDMI  $390

Same Wall           Standard HDMI $440       High Speed HDMI $500

These pre-wires are truly what blows my mind; I mean a few feet of HDMI and two wall boxes.  Again, this is same room, preconstruction, not fishing through walls.  $330 to $500. Wow, just wow…