Last week, we talked about some easy ways you can save money on your sports bar’s video systems without noticing a difference in the quality of sports on the screens. We’re not here to bust your budget. We want to provide you with the high quality audio video upgrade you need.

But there’s another side to that coin. We’re also not the place you go for the cheapest prices. If your crowd doesn’t care, if your customers say, “We’ve got cheap wings, beer and a TV,” then I’m not the audio video integrator for you.

If you want that, find a trunk slammer. Because if you’re trying to skimp in ways that matter, it is my responsibility to let you know. Once you have the information, it’s your choice. Do you want to choose a company with a reputation for quality, or do you want cheap screens for the drunken masses? We’re not judging you. We’re just saying you’re not getting a Ferrari on a Ford budget. But not everyone should be driving a Ferrari.

Here are three areas we recommend you spend what you need in order to get the right equipment for the job.

1. High Quality, Commercial Grade Screens
Whether you choose plasma, LED, or new, pricier OLED screens, make sure your screens come with a commercial warranty and are rated as commercial grade. Major manufacturers including Samsung and LG provide warranty service for up to three years on parts and labor.

Additionally, commercial displays are designed to withstand longer hours of operation, with additional fans and built-in thermal protection. Most commercial flat screens include additional inputs beyond what you’ll find in consumer models.

Even if you’re on a budget, you’re paying a lot of money for your video installation. Don’t skimp in such an obvious area where your customers will see a difference.

2- Projectors With the Brightness You Need For Your Venue
Most sports bars don’t have to worry about high ambient light, but there should be adequate light for people, including your wait staff, to walk through the place safely. Combine house lighting with the glow of dozens of HDTV screens, and it’s not exactly “movie theatre dark.” Choosing a projector that is bright enough for your venue will make a huge difference.

Audio video professionals measure the brightness of a projector in lumens, which is a measure of light output. The higher the lumens, the brighter the projector.

We recently installed a 3,000 lumens Hitachi projector, powering a 100-inch projection screen, at a local Staten Island sports bar. The owner had misgivings about a projector because he was concerned about picture quality compared to an LED screen. Once it was up, he commented, “We have a projector in our other location, and it doesn’t look like this one!” It’s all about choosing the right lumens for the room.

3 – Your Choice of AV Contractor
I’m going to go back to what I said earlier. If your customers just want cheap wings, cold beer and TV screens, we are not the guys for the job. But if you want true audio video systems design, integration and service-after-the-sale, you want to choose an audio video integrator based on more than just price.

You want to look for someone who will find the best ways to achieve your objectives for your sports bar, and do it with style. You want someone who will be there for you to finish the project on your timeline and within your budget, and won’t disappear after the last screen is hung and the sound system is tuned. You want an integrator who carries a variety of popular brands, so he’ll be able to specify the best equipment for the job.

You want someone who’s more than just a “one-trick pony,” putting the same sound system and screens in every space. And if that costs a little bit more, it will be worth it. Because the right audio video integrator will help you save money where you can, so you can spend it where it counts.