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HuggyBear

Sony OLED TV Fault/Service

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I purchased a Sony A8F OLED for ~$4000, the most expensive TV purchase I have made. I paid a premium because I expected a premium product and for the most part it's fantastic.
 
Unfortunately while watching movies and console games I noticed a fault on the screen, a large vertical band or smudge on the left side of the screen. It isn't always visible in bright or complex scenes, but it is visible with uniform blue, grey or green images such as a night sky or grassy football field and I find it extremely distracting.
 
After allowing about a year for the screen to achieve a uniform level I contacted Sony Technical Support with pictures as shown here:
 
I circled the fault as the initial response from Sony Technical Support included the comment "I can't see the vertical line that you reported", I believe this was a lie intended to discourage me from continuing my Product Enquiry, however I continued the process.
 
After ~10 emails and further evidence provided in the form of more photos and videos, Sony Technical Support attempted to end the Product Enquiry with "After careful observation, our level 2 support agrees that the black band that you were referring to is not a defect. Please understand that Organic EL displays (OLED) are built with precision, but differences in brightness may cause slight lines or bands to appear on the screen. These bands become very visible in dark backgrounds. These TVs meet the suitable standards and the band is not a malfunction".
 
There was no elaboration or explanation of the 'suitable standards'.
 
I continued to pursue the Product Enquiry and eventually a Tech Support Rep visited to inspect the TV. After briefly viewing test and demo screens, the Rep determined that at normal viewing distances the fault is not visible.
 
I agree that during bright and colourful test and demo screens the fault is not visible, I didn't purchase the TV to watch test and demo screens, I purchased the TV to watch movies and console games, many of which have blue, grey or green images which render the fault absolutely visible at my normal viewing distance of ~3.2 metres.
 
The Tech Rep provided a written report when requested, which again provided no technical data regarding the fault, or elaboration or explanation of the 'suitable standards'.
The short version of this cautionary tale is: I spent $4000 on a premium TV expecting premium quality and service. I find the a TV which can't accurately reproduce an image of blue, grey or green to be unfit for its intended purpose.
 
Sony has replied to my Product Enquiry with various tactics ranging from obtuse/false (claiming not to see the fault), to delay/discourage (~10 emails to even schedule and inspection), to an appeal to authority (subjectively claiming there is no fault without any technical justification).
 
I am continuing the process now with Consumer Affairs Victoria.
 

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hmm thats unfortunate...

 

I usually go with the opposite mantra... I dont care so much about test patterns and what not. what matters to me is what i see in normal viewing :D because that is what i tend to watch. 

 

did you not show the technician the actual faults you see ie via material you have seen to exhibit them ? surely that would need to be included in the report if visible.... ? and yes from viewing distance... and i would be using viewing distance to fully resolve 4k which is what the telly is ? 3.2m sounds a little too far away for a telly ? you would need a rather large projector screen at that sort of distance to resolve 4k ! 

 

anyways shame this is the case. faults are always possible with things regardless of brand but its how brands follow up on these things that separates the good ones from the bad. 

 

who is the retailer of your TV ? surely your contract of sale is with them ? what have they had to say ? as per consumer law you should be dealing with them... not the manufacturer in any case....

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@HuggyBear That is very disappointing. I looked at your photos and agree that is not acceptable.

 

I also have a Sony OLED A8F and like yourself paid a premium for hopefully the best picture quality and service.

 

Good on you for not giving up, hopefully Sony comes to the party and fixes/replaces your tv.

 

Keep us informed.

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I hope you get it sorted and I'm sure Sony will look after you.

 

If they don't though go back to the retailer.

 

I once made the mistake of buying a Samsung telly, a rather expensive one.

 

After I sent it back and got a replacement which had exactly the same fault which I complained about they sent not one but two "technicians" to look at the new set.

 

On normal program material one side was pinkish, the other greenish.

 

When I showed them the fault they couldn't see anything wrong.

 

Pulled up a 50% grey screen.

 

One side was pink, the other green.

 

Looks fine to us they both said.

 

Got out a colorimeter and asked them if they knew what it was and if I really needed to hook it up.

 

Full refund 😉

 

PS. I have left out my rather colourful responses to their ridiculous comments.

 

 

 

 

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Unfortunately I was at work when the tech visited, there was a limited window as I'm in NW Melb and they were coming from SE Melb. My wife showed him the reference images I'd marked but there was little interest.

 

The techs report is a short paragraph with no technical measurements or information. Just says it's visible up close but not visible at normal viewing distance. Not particularly technical.

 

I've been back and forth with Sony for about six months now, dozens of emails. They don't seem to be budging from their subjective 'we think it's not a fault' line.

 

I've tried to be as objective as I can, I've requested any kind of 'suitable standard' to measure our arguments against, but it feels like they're just trying to outlast me.

 

When the initial rep claimed to not see any line I knew I was in for a fight :)

 

I purchased through The Good Guys and initially lodged the complaint through them, but their process is to forward the complaint to Sony.

 

I've contacted Consumer Affairs today, but I'm not sure what they can do. They even have an ominous warning on their site about their workload.

 

Ah well, I have time.

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4 minutes ago, HuggyBear said:

Unfortunately I was at work when the tech visited, there was a limited window as I'm in NW Melb and they were coming from SE Melb. My wife showed him the reference images I'd marked but there was little interest.

well thats unfortunate. I would be getting them back to observe the faults actually in question. what is the point of the visit if they havent actually looked at the problem ? 

 

4 minutes ago, HuggyBear said:

The techs report is a short paragraph with no technical measurements or information. Just says it's visible up close but not visible at normal viewing distance. Not particularly technical.

normal viewing ? what is that ? its a 4k TV ? it would have to be at a distance that resolves 4K. what size is the TV ? this is easily definable...

 

5 minutes ago, HuggyBear said:

I've been back and forth with Sony for about six months now, dozens of emails. They don't seem to be budging from their subjective 'we think it's not a fault' line.

 

I've tried to be as objective as I can, I've requested any kind of 'suitable standard' to measure our arguments against, but it feels like they're just trying to outlast me.

well ofcourse that seems the plan...but dont have to give into that.

 

6 minutes ago, HuggyBear said:

When the initial rep claimed to not see any line I knew I was in for a fight :)

 

I purchased through The Good Guys and initially lodged the complaint through them, but their process is to forward the complaint to Sony.

well this in itself is unacceptable I would have pointed flat out that under consumer law it specifically says your contract is with retailer and there is absolutely no need for you to be talking to the maker... in fact they are not observing their obligations by doing this. you are within your rights if you have asked them to deal with the issue and if they aren't to take them to accc

 

7 minutes ago, HuggyBear said:

I've contacted Consumer Affairs today, but I'm not sure what they can do. They even have an ominous warning on their site about their workload.

ACCC is easily contacted with a simple complaint lodged via their website. but they would need proof. I advent seen any proof of follow up with good guys and anything from their part back to suggest anything. stick to emails and in writing... these easily document.

 

your fall back is stick to your consumer rights and demand them....

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It is an unusual fault for an OLED.

 

Gray uniformity/shading problems are caused by backlight issues.

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@betty boop I have a Return Case with TGG, however Sony Australia is the authorised repairer and so the process is for Sony to contact me to organise an assessment, though the resulting return is still through TGG.

 

Sony of course, rather than organising an assessment has been emailing me assuring me that a further assessment will yield the same result, so there's no point.

 

I've since given up arguing the point with Sony, told them their previous assessment had no technical merit and  simply stated my demand for a technical assessment.

 

Again, I feel the latest email chain was simply an attempt to frustrate me into surrender.

 

In one of my emails I stated that if Sony "can't offer an objective or technical argument for your position, then I believe there is no point continuing this conversation", the Rep didn't reply to any of the questions I posed and then closed the TGG Return Case without notifying me.

 

To suggest that he truly believed I wanted the Return Case closed is disingenuous at best.

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quite simply i would no longer deal with sony. work with TGG. have you been able to show anyone from TGG what the problem is ? i would simply ask them when they plan to see what the problem is ? i dont understand at all how any sort of assessment can be made without actually seeing what issue is.

 

and what size is the telly that will determine the distance it needs to be viewed from. vague things like "normal viewing distance" is meaningless ....

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There is a list of  limitations that are not for public viewing, they usually reside in the technical dept and kept out from public viewing....
So when a limitation is detected by a customer it’s usually pointed out!  “sorry, please accept, Product limitation” is the usually the Japanese rep would say,  and then they bow!  

 

I deal with this day in day out,  demanding customers that expect perfection.  Then I have to work around so it’s acceptable by the customer!   The product that I deal with isn’t $1-10k, can be in the $500k plus.
 

Your 1st point of call is point of purchase and show and demonstrate what you think is defective, it’s up to them to either determined a replacement or a refund, usually refunds will likely happen if you returned them early.    
 

If you have certain expectations, it’s best to take a your own media in and demonstrate the  expectation from all ranges of settings and to see what these limitations are on each product on the shelf....  you can see so many will fail to do this initially.   

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Posted (edited)

Hello huggy bear

 

any defect that annihilates your enjoyment of a TV is unacceptable . Particularly so when there is no warning on the box or sales contract that the TV can have banding so bad it will make you curse  the day you bought the TV

 

1000’s of people have had banding on their OLEDS and have returned them because it defeats the purpose of watching a movie : enjoyment

 

heres as example

 

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/40-oled-technology-flat-panels-general/2896737-oled-screen-uniformity-discussion-banding-vignetting.html

 

your contract was with the retailer who took your money. Legally you do not have to deal with Sony.

 

most retailers will default to hand balling you the manufacturer. Part of the problem is the culture of haggling which makes manufacturers use shitter and shitter parts to get the price down ( and also to muster cash for the executives and share holders of said company who do nothing)

 

Lucky Goldstar who makes the panels for all Oleds has had 7 years to get it right . They still can’t make a backplane that can accurately hold the voltages to prevent banding. And LG can’t be bothered applying MURA compensation at the factory to reduce the problem .
 

banding can be there out of the box and , more terrifyingly, banding can come months and months later after numerous compensation cycles .
 

as others have already said , keep contacting The Good Guys .

 

the “techs” are instructed to “reject all claims” re banding and dead pixels in the hope consumers will give up. In the case of banding, the Law is on your side. 
 

im sure a cut and paste from consumer affairs policy on high end electronics would sway TGG to take you more seriously. In America people take to The twitter account of Sony, LG , Panasonic etc to voice their displeasure and sometimes that works . 
 

hopefully you’ll get a desired outcome soon.

 

buying an Oled is Russian Roulette. You just never know when banding will come . With dead pixels , on plasma it was something that usually happened in first few months. And it was usually just a sub pixel

 

with oled , dead pixels can occur much much later and in clusters that really stand out..

Edited by Kdjjdk Will

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“Banding” happens in almost every imaging product I’ve dealt with,  whether it be a display such as an OLED or on physical print, some are “within product limitations” others are unacceptable due to a faulty component....  some can be “worked around” with adjustments and firmware updates.   It’s what I referred as “visible Jitter”.   similar to timing Interval errors (TIE) for digital transmission...

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Kdjjdk Will said:

buying an Oled is Russian Roulette. You just never know when banding will come . With dead pixels , on plasma it was something that usually happened in first few months. And it was usually just a sub pixel

 

with oled , dead pixels can occur much much later and in clusters that really stand out..

 

I did not know that. Just shows how over audio and video I am. Gone back to tinkering with cars these days. The results are much more fun.

Edited by ArthurDent

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I know the feeling . Getting onto CNC milling machines and the amazing precision of the products U make 

 

compared to the shitty lathes we used as kids. 
 

and at least car parts have sane pricing, unlike Gryphon, Audiophile cables  and Danish high end audio 🙂

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The problems with such issues is you don't have a clue when it started, and once you see it you can't unsee it. Are you sure it's not some image burn? Do you have that white screen option, whatever it's called, that resets the image burn?

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G'day all, the problem has finally been resolved.

 

After about a dozen more emails discussing whether or not the fault was acceptable I had to call a halt to the 'back and forth' and clearly state that Sony were required to investigate the fault and provide evidence as to their assessment.

 

A tech came to visit and after a quick visual assessment agreed that the TV was faulty... however he already had a replacement panel in the van so I assume he had already been directed to replace it as I wasn't letting the issue rest.

 

Regardless, the TV is now repaired and the picture is excellent, as is the TV generally.

 

In the end it's a real pity, as I own a lot of Sony products and I find them excellent for mid-range A/V, however this is the first time I've had to deal with their customer service and it was terrible. When unavoidable I'll still purchase Sony products (Playstation, etc) however if an equivalent product is available from a decent brand I'll likely avoid Sony solely because of their customer service.

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Everyone’s customer service from the major brands isn’t what it used to be 

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, HuggyBear said:

G'day all, the problem has finally been resolved.

 

 

Good to hear its been resolved and pity about the back and forth.  I  can only assume that the person at Sony who didn't think the problem was serious either had a crappy monitor or was a lay person with a  crappy TV at home, either way they shouldn't have presumed . However because Sony has top class dedicated Sony  Service centres in each state  , you can get outstanding results by talking to a  tech in the service company in the first instance.    It's rare to be able to do that at all with other brands.  I have had experience  with Samsung in the past where they did send out a tech who saw the issue ( I phoned the fault in)   but advised me that Samsung  considered the picture abnormality to be within the parameters of normality.

 

When I recently had an issue with the iris on my projector,  the Sony agent immediately booked it in and had it turned around within 4 days which included time for a new lens assembly to come from from Sydney to Perth. 

 

PS. I should add that "recently" means during  Covid 19 restrictions.

Edited by Tasso

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