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Understanding the Fundamental Differences Between Pro AV and Consumer Electronics
Posted on Thursday, August 10, 2023
Understanding the Fundamental Differences Between Pro AV and Consumer Electronics

Aug. 10, 2023 - Creating an inviting atmosphere is important for every retail or hospitality business to attract and retain customers. The right audiovisual (AV) system greatly enhances customers' experiences in such establishments, yet many small businesses are unaware of the major differences between consumer electronics and professional AV solutions.

Consumer products from big-box stores may seem like money savers upfront. But those "cost effective" products almost never handle the demands of commercial use. Investing in pro AV solutions designed specifically for your industry pays dividends through better design, reliability, audio quality, and scalability. And when comparing costs, professional AV products' affordability might surprise you.

Let's explore the advantages of professional AV over consumer gear so you can make the right choice.

Understanding the divide

As the category name might imply, consumer electronics products are designed for individual use and home environments. By contrast, professional AV systems are engineered to meet the demands of commercial settings, offering enhanced feature capabilities, durability, and scalability. Pro AV components are engineered for 24/7 operation, even at loud volumes, without failure. This disparity often goes unnoticed, and many small businesses inadvertently purchase subpar products that do not cater to their unique needs.

Ignoring the hidden needs

A common oversight occurs when businesses seek background music solutions without considering the potential for needed interruptions. For instance, you wouldn't want a fire alarm to go unheard because of your background music. And sometimes a business may need to interrupt the background music for simple announcements. When you choose the right pro AV equipment, the necessary capabilities are built-in to address such common – but sometimes unknown – needs for managing your business's audio.

Paging and public address

Often customers need to be promptly notified, such as when their food order is ready. Consumer electronics lack the comprehensive paging capabilities found in professional AV systems. By investing in a professional solution, businesses experience the benefits of efficient and effective communication with patrons, leading to improved customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.

Streaming audio, but at what cost?

Many small businesses opt for streaming audio services from providers like Mood Media (previously known as "Muzak") for their background music needs. While consumer-grade devices may be capable of receiving these audio streams, they lack the necessary processing and distribution capabilities found in professional AV systems.

Background music should play over a single channel through a number of loudspeakers, so every customer hears the music stream's full sound spectrum. But consumer electronics split the audio into multiple channels with complementary sounds. This sounds amazing in your living room, but in your restaurant some people will hear one part of the song while others hear something different. To avoid depriving customers of the immersive ambience created by your background audio you need to play music thought a professional AV systems.

The Power of audio quality

When it comes to audio reproduction, quality matters. Consumer electronics may suffice for personal use, but in a commercial setting, the difference in audio quality becomes apparent. Professional AV audio components are more powerful, letting your business play music that every customer hears, no matter how many loudspeakers you might need. No consumer electronics can match that.

Choosing the right AV system for your retail or hospitality business is a decision you should not take lightly. Understanding the practical differences between consumer electronics and professional AV systems is essential for making an informed choice. Commercial Audio systems from Biamp make it easy, fast and affordable to upgrade your business by installing a Pro AV system.

Contact Biamp to find a systems integrator who can help you find the right professional AV technology to address your current and future needs.