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Circuit City Heralds Vista Launch With Online And In-Store Events

Richmond, Va. — Circuit City will mark the long-awaited introduction of Microsoft’s new Vista operating system with launch parties in select stores and a special online event that will offer consumers an opportunity to chat with PC experts.

The events coincide with the Jan. 30 rollout of Vista PCs and the new OS software, which will be available for presale on Jan. 27.

To commemorate the launch, will host a live forum on Jan. 29, moderated by Jim Louderback, editor in chief of PC Magazine; Patrick Norton, executive producer of’s DL.TV podcast; and Joe Elias of Circuit City’s firedog PC services team. The forum joins other special Vista-related content on the Circuit City Web site and can be accessed from a link on its home page.

During the forum, consumers will be invited to post their questions about Vista and interact with the moderators. The forum will be continuously updated during the live program and forum posts will remain available to Web visitors to view afterwards. Consumers can also submit questions prior to the live forum, starting on Jan. 25.

David Mathews, president of Circuit City Direct, said the interactive forum represents “another step in our journey to create a sense of community online where people can exchange views and learn about technologies, products and services.”

The Vista forum joins existing discussion forums at that cover TV, home audio, MP3, video sources, and cable and accessories. The forums continue the retailer’s pioneering efforts in CE e-commerce, which include in-store pick-ups of online purchases and the posting of unbiased ratings and reviews of CE products by customers.

Circuit City will also host launch parties and special store openings with celebrity guests and prizes at ten locations to celebrate Vista’s launch. The select locations will be open from 10 p.m. Jan. 29 to 1:00 a.m. Jan. 30, with Vista products available for purchase at midnight.

Immediately preceding the start of the 10 launch parties, Circuit City’s firedog services team and Hewlett Packard will deliver fully equipped computer labs to local Boys & Girls clubs that includes five HP Vista PCs, monitors, all-in-one printers, digital cameras and accessories. firedog PC technicians will install the gear and provide training for club members.

Circuit City locations hosting Vista launch parties include:

·Natick, Mass. (Boston market)

·New Tampa, Fla. (Tampa market)

·Coral Springs, Fla. (Miami market)

·Hagerstown, Md.

·Wilmington, Del. (Philadelphia market)

·Schaumburg, Ill. (Chicago market)

·Slidell, La. (New Orleans market)

·Cool Springs, Franklin, Tenn. (Nashville market)

·Tyson’s Corner West, Fairfax, Va. (Washington D.C. market)

·Short Pump, Va. (Richmond, Va. market)

As previously reported on, CompUSA is also heralding the debut of Vista through its Get Ready For Vista program, which offers a free evaluation for a consumer or small-business computer to see if it is Vista ready, and a refund if the customer isn’t satisfied with the software.

The computer retailer also announced a notebook trade-in program where the old notebook’s value is deducted from the cost of a new model.

The evaluations are handled by CompUSA TechPro technicians at all of the chain’s 229 locations and online at The in-store Vista check up takes about five minutes. The customer can either bring in the notebook or PC or just the specifications for the TechPro to review. The online test takes only seconds.

A CompUSA spokesperson said those who visit the store gain the benefit of being able to speak to the TechPro who can fill them in on Vista’s highlights.

The company said the program is open ended at this point; however, any customers who bring their computers to CompUSA prior to 3 p.m. on Jan. 29 will receive the evaluation and can have it installed at the store for $19.99, plus the cost of the software.

Any customers who use CompUSA’s technicians to install the software receive the money-back guarantee and have their original operating system reinstalled, the company said.

Dubbed CompUSA’s Trade-Up Notebook Program, it starts on Jan. 30 in 192 stores, all locations except those in California. The old notebook’s value is based on condition, specifications and age. The unit must be in working condition, and the new notebook purchase must be made on the day the old model is traded in, the company said.