Editor’s Note: When my industry friend (she pitches me stories on her clients’ installations and sends me press releases about cool new products) approached me about running her article about working with Best Buy's sales and installation team (based on her personal experience), I was reluctant but curious. Reluctant, because I know how much most Residential Systems readers dislike Best Buy. Curious, because who doesn’t like a good yarn about a customer service experience? So here it is; you can judge for yourself. I did notice that there was no center channel speaker in the final installation. Naughty naughty, Best Buy…)
My husband and I decided to replace our 15-year old TV with a new HDTV setup as our Christmas gift to each other. I’m somewhat familiar with consumer electronics since the PR firm I work for, Wall Street Communications, handles home theater clients. I am the account manager for Panamax/Furman and the discussion of home theater systems comes up frequently, giving me just enough knowledge to get myself in trouble. There were several things on my wish list that were important, such as power management since we have lightning storms in our area, and how to deal with all the glass and tile in the room.
Best Buy's Jake (kneeling) and Justus install the new Samsung 50-inch Plasma
We had purchased many things at Best Buy, and I had heard about the Geek Squad and Magnolia Home Theater, so this was a great chance to try it out. I knew that buying an HDTV was no simple matter and that many things needed to be considered. There are so many different types of displays, and new features in gear are endless. I’m not really into the 3D thing, but I very much wanted to know more about Wi-Fi.
On our first trip to the store, we were helped by Magnolia Home Theater salesman Lance, who has the patience of a saint. He demonstrated the difference between LCD, plasma, and HDTV, and based on the layout of our living room, he worked with us to figure out which type might be best. We also spent a lot of time discussing the audio for our system. I never knew that the sound quality of most sets is not designed to give the best sound. Lance suggested we invest in speakers, and we had a great time listening to music over several different options in the sound room.
So now we had it narrowed down to the type of TV and speakers, but we still needed to consider room layout. As I mentioned, our living room has a lot of glass and ceramic tile floors, so we deal with glare and poor sound quality. Lance recommended we have a consultation with a member of Magnolia, who would come to our home and discuss options. The $100 fee for the service would be deducted from our final purchase, so we decided this investment would probably save us a lot of grief later, and we would know we had explored the best options.
The visit with Keith was very helpful. He took all of our existing equipment into account and advised us to keep the speakers we already had and put the money into a new Blu-ray player. After his consultation, Keith emailed us a proposed equipment list — all within the budget we set. We were so excited that we went right down and placed our order at the store and scheduled an appointment for the install.
My husband built a shelf inside our TV cutout to hold the speakers and to make the TV look more built-in. He also went to Charter and picked up a new HDTV box and upgraded our service. We gave away all the electronic gear we would be replacing and removed eight years worth of dust bunnies. New Equipment
Samsung 50-inch Class Plasma HDTV
Sony Wi-Fi Blu-ray Player
Panamax PM8-GAV Power Management Unit
Justus and Jake from the Geek Squad arrived this morning with our new set, and I was really impressed with the care they took to install our system. After everything was in place, they worked with us to understand the remote controls and how to access the wireless features. We can now download movies, music, and YouTube from the Internet!
I’m glad we took our time working through this project because now we have the best possible system at the best price. I found the team at Magnolia Home Theater and the Geek Squad to have the right level of knowledge (and patience) needed to help us. We did go over our budget by 25 percent, but for the first time in my electronic buying experience, we have total confidence in our purchase.
The Morrow's modest system after installation