The adventures of an analog engineer and digital storyteller who studies emerging networks and their impact on the great game of business.
Oct 3, 2011

I love Sony products. My entire audio/video production suite consists of Sony’s professional software. Over the past 20 years I’ve purchased three Sony televisions, a couple of computers, four or five monitors, and four camcorders–going back to a bulky, two-piece BETAMAX camera/recorder. Sony makes great stuff…or so I thought…right up until my seven year old, 55-inch, rear-projection LCD HDTV began developing a blue “smudge” on its display. Let me show you.

This is what the screen is supposed to look like:

This is what it looks like on my Sony HDTV:


The smudge started out small and has expanded over the past few weeks. A quick Google search directed me to Sony LCD Rear Projection TV Problems–a very detailed page that described a good news/bad news situation.

  • The good news: a known “optical block” issue caused my blue smudge.
  • The bad news: The problem has no permanent fix. Not only is the optical block problem costly to repair, but the problem will likely recur due to a design flaw.

The article lead me to the I have a Defective Sony TV Facebook page, where I learned that Sony was offering discounts on new televisions to replace those with the optical block problem. I made contact and got a quick email response from Amanda of Sony’s “Social Media Advanced Resolution Team.” The email suggested that I call a special number where I could purchase a new television at a “significant discount.”

That sounded fair to me. A “significant discount” on a new TV to replace an out-of-warranty defective one. I called and was offered 25% off a 46″ (smaller) TV and 30% off of a 55″ (larger) TV. The offer had two stipulations:

  1. it was only valid for one week
  2. in consideration for accepting this “significant discount,” I had to sign a “…release and hold harmless…” waiver.

The math didn’t make sense to me. If I needed to spend that much money to replace my HDTV anyways, shouldn’t I also consider Sony competitors?  I found many competitive choices within that price range, so I explained my dilemma to Amanda in an email. Her politely worded response officially ended my multiple decade love affair with the Sony brand: “…the prices aren’t negotiable…”

Game over. Thanks for playing.

I get it. From a business perspective, what is Sony supposed to do? According to the Sony LCD Rear Projection TV Problems article, the company had sold over 3.5 million of these sets, generating approximately $8 billion in revenues. Since most of these sets are out of warranty, I totally understand its decision. Sony doesn’t have to do anything.

So, I’m going to watch my defective Sony HDTV set until I’m blue in the face. During this period, I’ll likely develop a deepening distaste for Sony televisions. When I can’t take it anymore, I’ll replace it with a competitor’s. Will my actions affect Sony? Probably not. Will I feel better? Probably not. But we all have choices to make. Sony made its and I’ve made mine. And without upper management’s support, there’s nothing that the company’s “social media” team can do about it.

BTW, anyone have suggestions for my new, non-Sony TV?

Filed under: Social Media


Happy to share my choices of TV, and most of them have been purchased at a well known discount chain that has a store in San Juan Capistrano. 

October 3, 2011

This exact same thing just happened to my father’s Sony television, and his warranty expired on 12/2010. Thanks for all this information as I hadn’t had the time to find out exactly what happened to his TV. I’m thinking like you … he’ll be going with a different brand next time.

October 5, 2011

I have to tell you, I was quite weary of the brand Vizio when it first hit the market, I mean, really how could a TV that undercut the competition in price that much be worth it….. My husband talked me into it, and we bought one.  I’m now proud to say that we every TV in our house (except one) is now a Vizio.  The quality has been great on them, I have one that is 6 years old…. in TV technology years that’s pretty old, and we’ve experienced 0 problems with them. Good luck on your journey, I don’t envy you, finding a new electronics brand is like finding a new shoe brand for girls…. 

jennifer altimore
October 5, 2011

Vizio is right here in Southern California. I’ll put them on the list:-)

October 5, 2011

I would consider an LED (non plasma) model perhaps from Visio or perhaps Toshiba.  Visio is based in Irvine, CA, so you at least have a chance of returning it, or getting it repaired if it fails, here in southern California.  My general (non scientific) experience with Visio has been very good.

Michael Natelson
October 11, 2011

My KDS-R60XBR1 has developed the same problem except the hue is green and Sony is not helping me fix this issue. States it’s out of warranty and offering a discounted other technology product. Was there a general recall on this  OB?

November 28, 2011

No recall that I know of. Make sure to click on the links in the article to get more information on the problem.

November 28, 2011

We got an entry-level Samsung HD TV last Friday. So far so good. It’s the first time we’ve watched regular TV in 2 years.

November 29, 2011

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