In the world of home theater, as in any home project, the homeowner must choose the products and the means of installation. One can do a completely custom job working with an AV installer who has various venders that provide all the products. Perhaps the homeowner splits up the job between buying retail and installing himself, and using a professional for certain aspects of the job. Likewise, the project may be a complete system or just certain a la carte components.

If your client is in the market for a motorized television lift for the home theater or den, what are your options? Basically, there are two ways to go: one-size-fits-most, or built to order. Most clients going the way of custom installation will choose the built to order lift. What is the process in working with the customer and TV lift manufacturer to insure satisfaction at the end of the job?

Start with the TV. Each plasma TV manufacturer has unique dimensions for width, height, and depth. In addition one must consider if detachable speakers will be used. Will the speakers add to width or height? A custom manufacturer of lifts should build the lift to accommodate a particular TV.

Once the TV is chosen, other decisions must be made.

* Will the TV come up from a cabinet or down from the ceiling?
* If it comes down from the ceiling, is there room for vertical travel or would a pivot function work best?
* Will you add a motorized swivel?
* What type of control system do you want? If the homeowner has a whole-house control system, does the manufacturer offer low/voltage contact closure?

Once these decisions are made, you, the professional, are ready to proceed to the next step. Armed with knowledge and facts you will work with a lift manufacturer and perhaps a custom cabinet maker to get the job in motion. The AV professional will have questions for lift manufacturer, which should include the following.

* What is the price of the lift and what does it include?
* Are modifications in width and height included? Most manufacturers have “standard” sizes. However, as stated earlier, modifications must frequently be made to accommodate the plasma TV dimensions. Some charge extra for this, and some don’t.
* What are the choices in remote control systems? Can you program a universal remote to work with the lift? Can a sophisticated whole-house system be used?
* What is the turn-around from time of order to shipping date?
* What will the shipping charges be?
* What support and customer service are provided?

It’s important to ask the right questions and get honest, direct answers. You’ll be able to delight your customer in all aspects of the custom job.

Marlene Fawkes is Communications Manager and Vice President of LIFT-TECH. She has written articles about home technology for consumers and for the trade.

LIFT-TECH manufactures remote controlled motorized lifting devices for televisions and other equipment to help solve problems in design or space, or both. LIFT-TECH’s customers include custom cabinet makers, audio/video professionals, architects, and designers who can help you with your needs in motorization. LIFT-TECH is located in Valencia, California. For more information visit the website at and view the photo gallery for ideas, and see the video library to learn more about the company and to see some of the products in operation.