Next time you’re struggling to connect your home electronic devices, whether it’s audio or video systems, make sure to give Josh Sommers a call. For the past 15 years, Josh has been helping people literally get untangled in their current setups. Josh can help you properly install and set up your new audio and video equipment, as well as streamline your current entertainment system. From Blu-ray players to Apple TV, surround sound, gaming systems, Netflix and more, you can rest assured that Josh can get you set up properly the first time.
Josh, welcome back to LocalsGuide. How have you been?
Excellent, thank you. I’ve been staying very busy. I work part-time for REI and in 2020 I had my busiest year yet with my AV business. My wife and I bought our first house in October and we’re really enjoying it.
Thank you, we feel very lucky. 2020 was full of challenges but also full of exciting adventures.
Josh, with the pandemic changing our world in 2020, have you had to make changes to your business?
Only slightly. Fortunately the pandemic hasn’t slowed the demand for my services, so I’ve been lucky to maintain a steady level of customers. I always wear a mask now when I go into someone’s home and maintain six feet of distance, but otherwise it feels pretty normal. I also offer virtual consultations on Zoom now if someone prefers that over meeting in person.
Josh, you have tailored your business to specifically work with audio and video issues. Can you please give us an overview of your services?
Sure. I specialize in connecting and troubleshooting home entertainment devices like TVs, stereos, DVD players and streaming devices (Apple TV, Roku, etc.). I can help with universal remotes and other accessories as well.
What are the most common calls you receive normally regarding?
Well I get a lot of calls from people who have purchased a new TV and need some help connecting their devices to it. I also get quite a few calls from people who want to improve the sound quality from their TV. Most modern TV’s have weak speakers and can benefit greatly from adding a sound bar or speaker system. And there’s always a steady demand for help with setting up Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and other streaming services.
Please talk more about sound bars.
Sound bars have become the popular choice for a quick and effective sound system to compliment a new TV. They are long flat shaped speakers that typically include a subwoofer. They’re available in a wide range of prices and are much easier to connect than a traditional receiver and speakers. They also provide a cleaner, less cluttered appearance, since they don’t require any speaker wires. I made a recent trip to Best Buy and was impressed by the quality and selection of sound bars available. For about two to three hundred dollars you can have a pretty nice sounding audio system for your music, movies, and video games. However if you’re looking for optimal sound quality and surround sound, you’ll want to go with an AV receiver and a set of quality speakers.
Tell us about the Sonos sound system. I hear this is quite amazing.
Yes. In recent years I’ve had the opportunity to install Sonos wireless speakers for a few customers, and it’s been a good experience. Sonos speakers are small and powerful, and only require an outlet for power, and a WiFi connection to stream music from your smartphone or tablet. I discovered that they are not only simple to connect, but have fantastic sound quality as well. You can stream your music from Spotify, Pandora and even JPR for local radio. Combine that with the fact that you can expand your system with more speakers when you’re ready and easily sync them together. It’s a very cool concept. The small Sonos speakers are ideal for playing music in any room in the house, without needing a stereo or other equipment. Sonos also offers high-end sound bars, subwoofers, and surround speakers that can be connected to a TV. They are pricey but sound amazing.
Josh, in your experience, what types of problems are your customers typically running into and why is it just best to call you?
I see a range of issues that come up, but one of the most common is when people get a new TV and have trouble getting their older equipment to work with the new device. Older devices often use different cables and may need to be connected in a different way to optimize picture and sound. It can be frustrating to run into these problems without knowing what you need to solve it. Fortunately my years at Radio Shack taught me a lot about different types of cables and adapters. If you’re having trouble, save yourself the aggravation and give me a call :)
Do you ever offer phone support?
Absolutely! I am happy to try to solve an issue over the phone if possible, or to follow up on a job that I’ve already done.
Are you doing any type of mounting?
At this time I’m not doing any type of mounting. I will generally refer people to a contractor or handyman for help with a TV wall mount, and then I can assist with connecting the components.
You are also continually offering advice and feedback for product referrals. Can you please tell us about some recent recommendations you have been making?
Sure. I’m always happy to share with customers the experiences I’ve had with different brands and products. When it comes to TV’s I generally recommend buying a Samsung or LG. I’ve also been impressed with the sound bars I’ve seen from those two companies. And I like to recommend the Roku Streaming Stick Plus to people who are looking for a cost-effective way to watch Netflix etc.
With so much to keep up on, where do you find the best sources for information?
Well I find YouTube to be a great resource for information on just about anything, and I also make regular trips to Best Buy to pick up products for customers and check out the latest technology on display.
Josh, what are your goals for your customer to have experienced once you are done helping them?
My goal is for my customers to feel a sense of satisfaction once I’ve completed the job. I always try to explain what I’m doing and have the customer practice using the new device. I want people to enjoy their new entertainment devices, instead of being frustrated by them.
What would you say your key skills are?
I’m good at troubleshooting and solving problems. I will pursue a problem until it’s solved. I’m good with people and I’ve been told that I’m good at explaining things. I’m a kind and compassionate person, and I have a lot of experience working with seniors.
Josh, you are also helping customers set up Netflix accounts and more.
Yes. Netflix and other streaming services are obviously very popular and I enjoy getting people connected with all the entertainment options that they provide.
Please share some recent success stories with us.
One of my customers contacted me and explained that she needed someone to help her sister who lives in Washington with a new TV. She asked if there was any way that I could find someone in that area to help her out. It’s a small town with few options for electronics assistance but I did some research and made a phone call to a guy in the area who advertises similar services to mine. I was happy to learn that he could do the job for a reasonable fee. My customer was delighted that I found a solution for a long distance problem.
Peter Ollman is someone that I’ve helped on several occasions, and had this to say:
“Josh has been a great help dealing with our home entertainment technical issues. Always pleasant and professional… reasonable charges and highly experienced. Josh is a pleasure to work with.”
Josh, do you have any special plans for this coming year?
Yeah. My wife and I are looking forward to doing some landscaping at our new house and going backpacking as much as possible over the summer. We are also planning to adopt a kitten very soon :)
Josh, can you help with setting up universal remotes?
Yes, I can quickly program universal remotes to work with most entertainment devices.
Last but not least, you really enjoy working with customers of all ages. Please say more about this.
I’ve always worked in retail and customer service jobs, and I enjoy interacting with people of all ages. I enjoy the balance of working at an outdoor adventure store like REI, and helping people with their technology needs as well.
Are there any last thoughts or comments you would like to share?
I’d like to say thank you to the Locals Guide for helping me spread the word about my business. You can contact me by phone or email. Cheers!
Josh Sommers, Audio and Video Solutions
Ashland and Talent541-337-3259