Can I go to the Better Business Bureau about Sony?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Dave H, Mar 22, 2005.

  1. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Back in Decemeber I purchased a new Sony KP-57WS520. I discovered the TV had a problem: http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...ighlight=waves

    I've now had three service techs out -- all have seen the problem. My last tech tried replacing the video circuitry board, however this did not solve the problem. He says the only other option would be to replace the power supply board.

    However, the Sony engineer he had to call would not let him order the part until the wave pattern has been verified on a singal generator (even though the waves appear on every input on the TV even when know image is displayed). My tech came out with the generator in the afternoon, however, the waves weren't to be seen because the room was too bright (the room is darker in the morning, but he couldn't come out in the morning). This wave pattern can really only be seen in a dark room (such at night) in dark scenes of movies. The Sony "engineer" also told my tech to tell me I should have my contrast boosted to 66% while keeping my brightness at 50%.

    On any rate, the Sony service person is now trying to just get me to get a 4th tech out --- for some reason they don't want this current tech doing anymore work since he has already worked on my set with no "cure." However, they offer NO advice to him or any of the other service techs I've had out.

    In all honesty, I feel I am just getting no where with Sony. All of their so-called engineers appear absolutely useless at best --- and offering advice which can destroy my display if I didn't know any better. I just can't believe the only advice is to boost my contrast to 2/3.

    Any suggestions? Should I just go to the Better Business Bureau? Would this be a waste of time? All I can say is I will NEVER buy another Sony product again.
     
  2. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Greetings

    While unfortunate, everyone has horror stories about every manufacturer of some sort. This is your Viet Nam ...

    As bothersome as it is ... let them do what they have to do and at some time, it will not longer be economically feasible to continue ... and they will get you another TV. Unless you are technically inclined to prove that they cannot solve the problem ... you need to let it ride.

    BBB does little if anything. They only can discipline their own members and not everyone is a member nor has to be.

    Regards
     
  3. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Yeah, sometimes I guess you just need to take a deep breath and let it play out with this sort of thing. I guess it could be worse, but just gets frustrating.

    The problem is I am starting a new job next week and won't really have the time to be home for the service tech for a while -- and no one seems to come out on Saturdays so things will be moving slowly here.
     
  4. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    In addition, I keep being told it might just be inherent to the TV. Since the waves are so faint and only appear in dark scenes of a movie in a dark room, that it's unlikely to be a power supply problem or any other kind of problem. Usually such a problem is more visible they claim, but I don't know.
     
  5. John S

    John S Producer

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    Tough spot to be in for sure. Push for a replacement, if the replacement does it too. It may be something addly inheirent to the display, never even picked up by the less critical owner.
     
  6. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Greetings

    Your job should you decide to accept it ... is to go to the stores that also sell the unit and play the test material that shows this wavey interference line.

    Find two other random samples and see for yourself. Sometimes they just feed people a line ... to make them go away ...

    Yeah ... all the sets come broken ... so we won't be fixing it for you.

    REgards
     
  7. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    Dave,
    You might look into the Lemon laws and see if your set will qualify then you can hopefully at that point bail out and look at something else. I'm not 100% sure how that works but it sounds like something is wrong and if Sony won't fix it, then something is up.

    I'm guessing whomever you bought it from won't help you out. I guess that is worth a shot..
     
  8. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    I have to admit...

    Someone who has their contrast and brightness settings cranked all of the way up (as Sony recommends) and watches TV in a bright or lighted room who is just an average consumer would probably not see this problem.

    However, someone who watches clean video sources in a dark room with the set calibrated correctly will be annoyed by the faint gray waves in dark backgrounds of scenes.

    I have communicated with someone on another forum who has the exact set and he described the problem on his set --- calling them "retrace lines." They sound very common to what I am experiencing. Mike, do you know much about this? Retrace lines have been a problem on some 500, 510, and 520 models. I guess it has to do with the voltage being too high on the CRT as I understand it --- often common with blue. He said these waves would appear with NO video source and on empty video inputs ---- as is happening with mine. However, my waves run vertically, where his seemed to be more horizontal. But, maybe there is variation. Also, mine seem to occur only after the TV has been warmed up for about two hours or so.

    My TV was ISF'd and I have to admit, I didn't start noticing these waves until after the calibration. I am not blaming the calibration ---- this may very well just be a coincidence. (My picture looked phenomenal after the calibration.) I have the original settings for each parameter and I could always revert back.
     
  9. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Greetings

    one of the curses of a proper ISF calibration is that you start to see more imperfections in the TV.

    Mind you, TV's are not marketed as being perfect and they just need to meet manufacturer spec ... not your spec ...

    Regards
     
  10. Steve Berger

    Steve Berger Supporting Actor

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    While Sony has had sets every now and then with design flaws (and this could be one of them) there is a specific situation with their "Picture" control that is important.

    "Picture" is not a contrast control and never has been. It is a combo control originally intended to compensate for room lighting. The circuits in the set are designed to operate with the control set to the 2/3 to 3/4 mark. This control should be left there and everything else adjusted around it. It is the designed reference point. Brightness, color, tint, RGB drives, G2, focus, sharpness, black levels and about 200 undocumentated settings on the digital sets can then be adjusted.

    If the video level drops below a certain point, the very high gain video amps in this set will pick up noise and modern power supplies are inherently noisy (and this sounds like the problem you are seeing). Personally, I hate these power supplies but the manufacturers told us to "get used to it" because they are never going back to the costlier, less efficient, and easier to repair designs.

    Set up this way (in theory) give the average consumer a single control to adjust for varying room lighting conditions which will maintain a balanced picture without fiddling with multiple controls.

    That said, they should try a new power supply circuit and they need to work with "lead dress" of the wiring harness (requires 2 people). Most problems of this sort are affected by precise placement of all the wiring harnesses.
     
  11. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Very interesting about the Picture control. I just can't imagine having it that high --- would be hurting my eyes!

    While I am no service tech, I have suspected from the beginning that the problem *might* be a bad power supply...from the noise and the fact it takes the set about two hours to warm-up before the waves are present. However, all of the service techs and Sony engineers seem to have a very narrow view of power supply. Every single one of them says your picture would be "squeezing" and that the problem would be very obvious. I don't think it HAS to be that way and a slight problem could lead to what I am experiencing. I think I need to find a tech that really thinks more out-of-box so to speak. Steve, too bad you don't live close.

    I'm supposed to hear back from Sony today, but they are probably just going to want me to go with a new (4th) service tech.

    I am starting a new job next week and won't be able to miss as much time from work as I have been to be home. So, this entire process is going to be even slower to fix...
     
  12. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    I did experiment with viewing tonight with the Picture level around 70%. The waves were a bit less noticable, but still there.

    On any rate, I'm going to move the TV to a different room in the house and but a black blanket to block off the window. The same tech is coming back out....however, they are demanding he be able to see the waves on a signal generator. The problem is, they are only noticable in darker scenes. Does the pattern generator have a dark background without much white in it? It didn't seem like it last time he was here as he selected through various patterns such as convergence grid, etc.
     
  13. Ralph B

    Ralph B Supporting Actor

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    that seems like alot of trouble to get your tv fixed. if you complain enough to sony and your under warranty they will replace the unit and demand something of another line, even if you have to pay to upgrade. to me it sounds like your not gonna get the results from the hard work your trying to put in. customers should not have to run in circles. its not your job. sony is suppose to be good when it comes to warranty stuff.
     
  14. Steve Berger

    Steve Berger Supporting Actor

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    A convergence grid, or better yet a simple cross pattern should leave the screen pretty dark. The picture control is usually set lower during those pattern displays to prevent burn-in so it should produce the symptoms. Tech's hate to pull up that pattern because of burn-in and the fact that convergence is never perfect and they hate the "what about that spot there" comments that they can't do anything about.

    The test should be done both with and without bringing up the TV menu. Since the "menu" display alters all the customer settings when it is onscreen.

    It is very difficult to solve problems that only a few people can see (or hear). That's why so many sets produce high-frequency squeals; 85% of the public can't hear them. Hopefully this will be one of the problems that they can track down and issue a fix for. The first time a problem crops up it takes engineering some time to solve it. Hopefully they won't pull a "Panasonic" and ignore the problem on existing sets and correct it in the next model year. With a marketing droid as CEO, I don't know what direction they will go anymore.
     
  15. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Tech back came out today. I moved the set into a different room and had the windows blacked out. He was able to see the waves. Using the Avia gray field patterns, 20 IRE shows the waves most readily. They are very slightly noticably at 10 IRE, and not really noticable at 30 IRE. He's going to call Sony again and see if they will let him order the power supply....he still thinks power supply can't cause this because the waves appear they are "over" the video image if you will. They are not inside the video --- they are on top of it. Hard to explain, but that's what it looks like.

    He also said this is the last option he can do as he can't think of anything else to do. He did try to minimize the problem saying since it's so faint and only really visible at that particular IRE that it could just be a design flaw.
     
  16. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Had the power supply board replaced today.

    Still no change.
     
  17. Richard_A

    Richard_A Auditioning

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    I was considering this model as one of my final 2 choices. Sigh, I will have to make sure that when I do buy my set that I get a an unconditional 'no hassle' return policy if I get the set home (*if* I still go ahead and choose this model) and see the issue you describe.

    Thanks for the heads up.
     
  18. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Something interesting has happened though.

    I mentioned how the new power supply didn't change or improve things.

    Well, that's not entirely correct.

    After viewing my set for five days since that post, they waves are much less frequent now. The new power supply has diminished the problem considerably. They are still there, but they seem to be very infrequent now. I'm guessing I had a very noisy power supply and this new one is obviously less noisy. I just wonder if another power supply could be even less noisier, or it's just a product variation type of thing.

    Weird!
     
  19. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Jim,

    The problem you are referring to are known as "retrace lines" which these definitely were not.

    I'll try to post an image sometime, but these waves would run vertically and dance on the screen left and right after the TV had been warmed up for a while.

    They are clearly "on top of the image" and NOT in the image (like a bad picture tube displays) if that makes sense. They also look very much like noise -- and that's what it seems to be.

    It sounds as if Sony is using shitty power supplies. But, at this point, the problem is very minimal and acceptable (unless something changes as time goes on).
     
  20. Travis_R

    Travis_R Stunt Coordinator

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    I know more people that have horror stories about Sony than any other product out there, a box of cereal has a longer shelf life than a sony product
     

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