Circuit City's Firedog Charges $169 For 'Home Theater Installation', Doesn't Hook Up HDMI Cable

Circuit City’s Firedog Home Theater Installation package is a ripoff. It includes:
•Connecting all new and existing A/V components
•Remote consolidation
•Demonstrate operation of system

…..and costs $169! For that much money, you’d think they’d bother to hook up your TV using the provided HDMI cable. And maybe hook up the surge protector you purchased. And maybe program your remote. Joe writes:

…They also bought an expensive Monster home theater surge protector. It’s the kind that has connectors for the coax cable from Comcast so that you can protect from surges over the broadband line. Except, Firedog decided this wasn’t worth doing. The cable went from the wall directly to the back of the cable box, bypassing the surge protector entirely.

While I was back there, I figured out why the picture didn’t look as crisp as it should have. They had the cable box connected to the TV with component video cables. I went over to the table where my parents had all the owners manuals along with two cables: an unused coax cable (which of course was intended for the surge protector) and an unused HDMI cable!

Lastly, they didn’t bother to program the codes for their TV into the Comcast universal remote.

What service did Joe’s parents pay them $169 for exactly? We haven’t figured it out.

Joe writes:

Hi Consumerist team,

I love your site, I’ve been reading it for a long time now. After reading your complaints about Best Buy’s Geek Squad service, I wanted to sound off about a similar service, Circuit City’s “Firedog”, which apparently staffs the same caliber of “technicians”. Thought you’d be interested to know and maybe pass on to the readers to warn them before paying the $169 for home theater installation.

Last week my parents bought their first HDTV. They weren’t comfortable setting it all up themselves, so against my advice they had Firedog set it up for them. My mother told me the next day that they seemed very hurried but everything seemed OK – except they didn’t think the HDTV channels looked as nice as when they watched HDTV channels when visiting my apartment. So I figured I would come over and inspect Firedog’s handiwork.

First of all, they also bought an expensive Monster home theater surge protector. It’s the kind that has connectors for the coax cable from Comcast so that you can protect from surges over the broadband line. Except, Firedog decided this wasn’t worth doing. The cable went from the wall directly to the back of the cable box, bypassing the surge protector entirely.

While I was back there, I figured out why the picture didn’t look as crisp as it should have. They had the cable box connected to the TV with component video cables. I went over to the table where my parents had all the owners manuals along with two cables: an unused coax cable (which of course was intended for the surge protector) and an unused HDMI cable!

Lastly, they didn’t bother to program the codes for their TV into the Comcast universal remote.

Now, according to their services page http://www.firedog.com/ht_install.html , the standard service includes “remote consolidation” and “connect all new and existing A/V components”. I guess CORRECTLY connecting A/V components is an optional service.

-Joe

This may be another case of “just pay the neighbor kid.” For $169 your neighbor kid will probably hook up your TV, install wifi, mow your lawn, wash your cat and program your remote. Seriously.—MEGHANN MARCO