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ISF's and Warranties - NOT A "DIS" OF CALIBRATORS - GREGG IS DOING MINE!


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10 replies to this topic

#1 of 11 Sam R. Aucoin

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Posted October 08 2003 - 03:09 AM

Gregg will be coming to my home near the end of the year to calibrate my new Hitachi Plasma display. Regardless of the answer to my question(s) below, I am still going through with the ISF calibration because there are some things that I simply cannot solve with my remote user menu.

Digress: I solved a "blurry red credit" problem with my DVD player menu (of all things), by simply adjusting the chroma delay setting - moving it moved straight lines of the credits so that they are either perfectly formed letters, "ghosting" to the left, or "ghosting" to the right; I thought it was an SVM problem, but according to Hitachi, SVM on their plasmas is not an issue because they do not use SVM in "drawing" the picture on their screens, as is done with CRT units. BTW - I have never seen a DVD player (I recently purchased the Onkyo DV-SP800) with so many settings that can be made to a picture; it is akin to a service menu mode on a TV - no kidding.

Back to my subject . . .

I have a three year warranty on my TV. Just based on reading the posts on the HTF and the AVS forum, one of the first things ISF calibrators recommend is removal of the protective screen. Next, they obviously go into the service mode (and from what I understand, this is "registered" by the TV so that when the service mode is again accessed, the second person to do so will know that he was not first) and adjust TV settings accordingly.

What happens to my warranty after the ISF calibration? What if a major malfunction occurs with my TV that is CLEARLY covered by warranty (such as a 25% loss of pixels) and the service man comes by and sees that my TV not only has been accessed via the service mode, but it no longer looks like the TV I purchased (i.e., it is missing the protective screen)?

I ask because a plasma TV (such as the one I just purchased) is a relatively major investment (I see good second-hand cars that sell for less).

As I said in the title of the thread - I am NOT posting this thread to discourage ISF calibrations. Hell, I am getting one myself.

I am simply curious about experiences others may have had with warranty calls made AFTER ISF calibrations and the response by the service department when then discovered that an ISF calibration had occurred.
Sam R. Aucoin

#2 of 11 JohnnyG

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Posted October 08 2003 - 05:10 AM

On a plasma display, there is no removable protective screen - at least not that I know of. Even if there was one, I wouldn't dare remove it because what it's protecting is a heck of a lot more expensive than what a protective screen is protecting on a rear-projection display!

*IF* the Hitachi plasma display has an identical service mode to their projection TVs (and that's a huge "if"), then yes, it's possible to tell that the ISF menu has been accessed. But, IIRC, the technician would have to go into the ISF mode in order to notice this and I've never come across one that really even knows what "ISF" means.

In my opinion, there's little to worry about here.

#3 of 11 Michael TLV

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Posted October 08 2003 - 11:58 AM

Greetings

There is only something to worry about if you tell the service provider that you had the service done.

Of course ... why have an ISF mode in the TV if no ISF person is allowed to access the mode? Answer ... the changes made in the ISF area would be considered to be no longer covered.

ie ... they would not entertain any complaints about the colour not looking right.

No different than getting the oil change done at a lube shop and then the radio goes out. They are not going to blame the lube shop on damaging the radio ...

Regards
Michael @ The Laser Video Experience
THX Video Systems Instructor/ISF Instructor
Lion A/V Consultants Network - TLVEXP.com


#4 of 11 Sam R. Aucoin

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Posted October 08 2003 - 04:57 PM

Michael:

A specific thread was started about removal of the protective screen on rear-projection TV's, and you responded accordingly.

A person in THIS thread said that he was not aware that Hitachis have protective screens. That is true if we are being specific about semantics. But on MY Hitachi 42HDT50 plasma, there IS something in front of the double-layer "screen" that contains the actual plasma pixels: Hitachi calls it (and I quote from the manual that comes with the TV): "High-Contrast Pure-Color Glass Shield". When viewed from the side, I can distinctly see that there is a space (albeit very small) between this glass shield and the first level of actual plasma "screen".

Now, I don't have to be an optician to know that the introduction of ANY type of medium between an object and your eyes (unless we are talking about some space-aged technology that is so expensive that it is out of reach of the vast majority of the public) will result in either (a) distortion of the image located behind the medium, or (b) a darkening/blurring of the image located behind the medium, or © both.

As I said earlier, almost EVERY ISF calibration I have seen discussed involved removal of the the "protective screen". Perhaps that does not include this new type of "glass shield" that Hitachi employs in its latest design. But considering this, as well as my initial concern:

A. Don't you think that removal of a shield/screen will void ALL of a TV's warranty when a technician shows up to service my TV in one year (FYI - Hitachi, under their three year warranty program, sends a "trained" technician to "evaluate" the TV to make sure everything is functioning properly and make whatever adjustments/repairs that he might discover need to be made) and, voila, no shield/screen?

B. I agree, to a degree, with your analogy about changing oil/car warranties. But here's the catch - during an ISF calibration (that is, a "full" one, such as the one Gregg will be performing on my TV), calibrator usually does not simply just tune the color and grayscale. It will involve setting changes for sharpness, contrast, chroma delay (which I was able to correct with my DVD player, but still plagues my SD feeds, especially on red/orange colors - words appear as though they were put on the screen with a old dot-matrix printer - they are not smooth like on my DVD input, so I assume there is some internal setting that will be able to correct it), and I am sure many others.

And I like to think that I have SOME integrity, so when the technician comes and discovers that the service mode has been accessed and asks, "So you had this serviced before by a Hitachi representative?", what am I supposed to say? Lie and say "yes"? If I did (which I won't do), the tech-guy would check with Hitachi and discover that I never asked for a tech to come to my home before to adjust ANYTHING.

Again, I am NOT trying to seed any doubt in your, or Gregg's, or any other ISF's abilities, nor am I trying to discourage what you people do. As I said in my title to this thread, Gregg is planning on coming to my home to calibrate my TV.

I would just like to know how do I handle the issue (if it arises) when Hitachi comes to fix something that IS covered by a warranty (if something should "break" during my three year coverage period) and turns around without doing anything when they discover that someone else has "worked" on my TV without Hitachi's okay.

It is easy to say, "Hey guys, the ISF calibrator did not do anything that caused my current problem. You need to adhere to my warranty." But as an attorney, I KNOW first-hand that when a billion-dollar corporation takes an opposing view, the consumer is pretty much stuck.

Thanks in advance for reading my posts and responding.
Sam R. Aucoin

#5 of 11 Michael TLV

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Posted October 08 2003 - 05:40 PM

Greetings

I would not be taking the glass off your plasma as it will now doubt leave an unsightly mess esthetically.

In some cases a manufacturer has voided the warranty due to obvious physical changes like screen removal. Sony does that if you complain about the screen and they find that it has been restacked.

Some stores will actually remove the plexiglass at the request of the client with the full knowledge of the manufacturer and their agents.

If you tell your tech that the service has been performed, you simply open a potential can of worms and one gigantic headache. You will find yourself in a shouting match for the next 2 to 4 months with them ... at the end, they may relent and proceed with the work as per the warranty. If you want the headache ... them tell them everything. If you don't want the headache ... then shrug your shoulders and look stupid. Changes in the service menu vary from set to set ... anyway so there is no way to know. Physical changes are another matter.

Regards
Michael @ The Laser Video Experience
THX Video Systems Instructor/ISF Instructor
Lion A/V Consultants Network - TLVEXP.com


#6 of 11 Sam R. Aucoin

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Posted October 08 2003 - 08:14 PM

Thanks for the reply, Michael. I do, sincerely, appreciate the time you have spent with this thread.

One last question (I promise Posted Image ) : How does ANYONE know that a service menu has been accessed? Does the TV's ROM record the last access so that the next person to access it can simply flip through to that particular item and discover the access date?

Thanks again.
Sam R. Aucoin

#7 of 11 Michael TLV

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Posted October 09 2003 - 12:37 AM

Greetings

For the Hitachi RPTV's they don't know ... but there was a time when Hitachi said that they would implement some form of count down timer / tracking system. It was supposed to happen this year, but did not. Has it been dropped or is it something coming?

And just because one saw an entry does not mean a previous authorized tech from another store did not access it. Many stores are authorized to work on the same brands. Add to that, stores simply do not talk to each other about admin details like this nor do they have the time for such.

Regards
Michael @ The Laser Video Experience
THX Video Systems Instructor/ISF Instructor
Lion A/V Consultants Network - TLVEXP.com


#8 of 11 JohnnyG

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Posted October 09 2003 - 06:13 AM

I think that what this comes down to is that calibrators make no claims whether their work will or will not have an effect on the manufacturer's warranty. We are hired to do work, and we do that work.

I personally have not come up against a problem where a customer was flat-out denied warranty work following a calibration, but there have been problems (2 or 3) that took some time to explain to the manufacturer. I will say that being a dealer and knowing the people I'm talking to certainly did help in this regard.

The onus is really on you to discover the potential impact a calibration might have on your warranty.

#9 of 11 Rich McGirr

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Posted October 09 2003 - 06:49 AM

I can give some insight, I hope, as Gregg just did my Panny 42" ED set. Basically, it involved setting the RGB gains and cut-offs for both SD and HD. He did not remove the glass at all and in fact had very little physical contact with the unit. He taped the sensor over the glass and accessed the service menu (which you need to hold down the volumn button on the display and use the remote at the same time).

The only complaint I have is that colorfacts 6000 was used which does not resolve below 25 IRE. Other than that the picture looks very good and we set it up so that NTSC 6500 K degrees was the normal setting so that I could adjust the user controls (contrast, brightness, color, tint, etc.) without losing the "standard".
- Rich

#10 of 11 Andrew Bunk

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Posted October 09 2003 - 07:40 AM

I'm due to have a calibration done by the end of the year, and this has concerned me a bit as well. I'd love to get rid of the glare screen on my Toshiba RPTV, but I'm afraid I'll be stuck trying to put it back on if the set needs warranty service. I've got backlighting so generally the glare is kept to a minimum, but it's still noticeable.
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#11 of 11 Cagri

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Posted October 10 2003 - 02:53 AM

Quote:
How does ANYONE know that a service menu has been accessed?


Is the warranty void if service menu is accessed? I mean no ISF calibration but access for making simple adjustments.

When I had a problem with my Loewe, I told the techs offhand that I was playing in the service menu, and they didn't make an issue of it. Well, I got a replacement because the set was used and I proved it by accessing the service menu!
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