Three years ago, Vincent Bova didn’t have a home theater. Life was busy, with his job on Wall Street, his wife Jennifer, 2-year-old Nikolette, and a new home. He did have the bug, though. “I was fascinated with home theater, but also very intimidated by it,” Vincent says. “My knowledge over the years was very technical, but it was more computer-based.”
To spice up his new digs, he called a local shop, Image and Sound FX, for an estimate on a whole-house audio system. As for many of us, time flew by, and the project was put on hold. However, Vincent was about to hit his own bump. In August 2005, his vision started to get blurry. Convinced it was due to work, lack of sleep and too much computer time, he blew off seeing a specialist. Then, the headaches set in.
Numerous bottles of Advil and two doctor visits later, Vincent was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which had mounted itself on his optical nerves and pituitary gland. “Everything was put on hold—work, projects, vacations, etc.—while I sought a fine doctor who could help me,” he says. Aside from increasing difficulties with his vision, there was the wait for treatment. “I spent most of my time home organizing and finalizing anything that needed to be done in the event I didn’t make it through this very difficult surgery.”
With his surgery scheduled, Vincent needed a positive way to pass the time. “It was at this time when I started reading and surfing the web about home theater, home automation, and anything related to the field,” he says. “I was fascinated, and the feeling of having nothing to lose was overwhelming.” He began taking things apart, and rewiring whatever he could get his hands on. “I did not sleep. The anxiety of the surgery was overwhelming and it was next to impossible for me to sleep. I must have spent 16 to 20 hours a day wrapping myself in the A/V world. It was great therapy!”
Remotes had always been a passion, though. “I feel they are the most underrated part of a theater, or any A/V setup,” Vincent says. “It hurts to see people with seven to 10 remotes on their coffee table. Not only does it make the expensive investment un-enjoyable, but it alienates the use of the equipment to most of the family and guests of the home.”
By the time his November 2005 surgery came around, Vincent was programming and creating graphics for a slew of Universal Remote controllers. He even got his wife into the act. “I would force a new remote control on my wife almost every other week, just to see if it was better or worse than the previous,” he says. “I don’t know what my goal was at this point; I was just having a good time with it.” Today, even his 5-year-old can work the family’s touchscreen. “So there is no excuse for anybody to not be able to control their system, no matter how big or small.”
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Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.