Best Buy Geek Squad – Use Them

I consider myself somewhat of a perfectionist – if something isn’t just right, every time I look at that particular thing, it will bug me until eventually I will have to fix it (usually at great expense). That is why when I decided to upgrade my ‘living room theater’ I decided to let the professionals handle it. I am not saying I am incompetent (much), but cabling and mounting things is just about the only part of networking/IT that I am not heavily involved in. With some apprehension (spurred by opinions I read online) I tapped Best Buy’s Geek Squad to perform the installation and I am glad I did.

We had just spent the previous week furiously painting the living room to get everything ready. The Geek Squad and delivery folks arrived simultaneously (5 minutes before my stated 5 hour window), my brand new Panasonic Plasma TV, Peerless mount, and my new Pioneer receiver in tow. They quickly brought everything in and unpacked it. I was amazed at the professionalism and attention to detail displayed by the installers Best Buy sent.

I had what I considered a nightmare of a plan for them to follow. My house is technically a condo, and the builders decided (for some reason) that every one of these homes should have a giant ‘gash’ above the fireplace where one would install their TV. The problem with this theory is that the ‘nook’ or ‘’gash’ (as I call it) is made for a 27” CRT TV (or possibly a 32”). Our plan was that we would install a dual-arm peerless mount in the back of the ‘nook’ and the TV would sort of float in-front of the opening. To me this seemed like a big deal, but the fine folks at the Geek Squad had seemingly done it 1000 times before.

They ran in wall HDMI, CAT5, and COAX from my TV to the various switching components. They installed wall plates and tied everything off and it looks really clean (like something I would do if I could). They up-sold me a wall mounted surge protector to put behind the TV to keep everything safe and clean. They setup my entire laundry list of components to work with the new Pioneer Receiver (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, HD Cable Box) all the while sweeping up any dirt or debris they caused while they were there.

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They installed the dual-arm peerless mount, one of the installers even hung off of it to make sure that it wouldn’t fall under the weight of the behemoth TV that would sit on it. They mounted the TV (which looked like a hell of a job) connected the HDMI and CAT5 (for VieraCast [more on this later]), then they even calibrated my new receiver using the microphone Pioneer provides for this task.

They positioned the TV so that it fits perfectly flush with the wall, it appears to be perfectly centered and they even left enough room for my center channel speaker to sit below the TV on the bottom of the ‘nook’. At that point I was astonished as they began running speaker wire under my carpet (without me asking or paying for it) for my surround speakers. You must understand that previously we had cables running all over our home (down the stairs for CAT5, speaker wire and coax running along the carpet) and to see virtually no wires to trip over was a breathtaking sight.

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All-in-all the Geek Squad unit from Columbus Ohio did a tremendous job and I feel that they went above and beyond what I had expected (and paid for). An installation of this caliber would most likely have cost me thousands from a specialty home theater installation company. Keep in mind that there are different installers and units of the Geek Squad in every area, but if my experience is any indication of the average quality of their work – You will not be disappointed. I will post pictures in a few days once I can pull myself away from the living room for more than 5 minutes to get my digital camera. Updated 12/09/08 – pictures added.

I will also be posting a ‘review’ of Panasonic’s VieraCast once I have had more time to play with it.

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-Drew

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