Friday, June 15, 2012

Have I ever told you how much I hate TVs?

I hate TVs. I hate them with all of my being. I didn't used to though.

This all started about 15 years ago. I was working in the IT field and had kind of an important job. It paid decent money, good benefits, all that stuff. It also had a bonus program. One year, when I got my HUGE year end bonus, I decided to buy my first big screen TV. I did all the research. I looked at literally hundreds of different sets.

I decided on a Mitsubishi 60" rear projection. It was state of the art. A beautiful piece of equipment. I was so proud.

This TV survived 3 moves without a hitch. Never a single problem. But after 11 years of faithful service it died. I called some repair places. They knew exactly what the problem was. Each of them suggested buying a new TV instead of fixing the old one. It wasn't cost effective to repair.

I took their advice and bought a 62" toshiba dlp TV.

And then the fun began.

After owning it for TWO WEEKS, the light engine failed. Now. I'm no TV repair man, but I'm pretty sure the light engine is basically the guts of a DLP TV. Instead of packing that piece of shit up and returning it, I called toshiba.

Like I said in the beginning of this story, I worked in the IT field for a long time. I was very familiar with toshiba computer products and the support that went along with them. At that time, it was world class, at least from a technician standpoint. I quickly found out that toshiba TV support is a different matter. They are dismissive, abusive, and not above lying.

toshiba dispatched a local company to repair my TV. They came out, determined the problem, went back to their shop and called to tell me the part (light engine) was on back order. OK. When will it be available? At least 4 weeks. WTF? So I called toshiba and began to kick people in the nuts until I had a supervisor, and then kicked him in the nuts until he found a part. The TV was fixed in a week. Way too long, but better than a month.

Four weeks later, the bulb went out. Another call, another week.

Three months later, light engine went out, again. Another call, another week.

I began to talk to toshiba about replacing this piece of crap. They refused.

Another couple of bulbs went out. And then another light engine.

Just so we are on the same page here, I spent almost $3,000 bucks on this piece of shit TV and it is dropping parts almost as fast as toshiba can make them. They extended the warranty by six months at some point to try and make up for the fact that their product was basically dumpster bait.

The kicker came one Super Bowl Sunday. My Bride and I had invited family over to watch the game. Not a lot, but it was going to be 15 or so people. That morning, I turn on the TV to catch the news and POP. There goes the bulb. I spent the next couple of hours calling everyplace within driving distance looking for a bulb. Nothing to be found anywhere. I wound up pulling the 32" tube TV from my mancave, a TV, by the way, that has survived a house fire and still has an awesome picture.

So, here we are, Super Bowl Sunday, my Bride, myself and our guests huddled around this set. It was embarrassing.

The next day I was back on the phone with toshiba, demanding that they replace this defective, lemon crap. They lied, they denied, they promised and then they did nothing. So I did the unthinkable, I called a lawyer. I explained my entire situation to him and he decided to take the case. It wasn't his normal thing but he felt it was something he wanted to take on.

After a couple of months of back and forth, toshiba agreed to buy the TV back from me but refused to pay the lawyer. I told the lawyer to tell them that I would see them in court. They decided paying everyone would be the cheapest way out so they did. I got back every penny I spent, including tax, AND the lawyer got paid.

So that brings us up to the TV that I have now. After I got my money back from toshiba, I decided to by a samsung. I have always heard good things about them.

I decided to go with a 61" model, the HLT 6176xs, I think it is. I bought an extended service plan also. I will never buy another TV without the service plan, never.

For the first year, everything was great. After that I lost a bulb or two but that is to be expected and it was only an annoyance.

But, about a month ago, a little white dot appeared on the screen. And then the next day there were three. And so on and so on, until I had over 400 dots and the set is basically unwatchable.

This is a problem samsung is fully aware of and refuses to do anything about for those who have expired warranties. I see a class action lawsuit in their future.

After the dots started to appear and multiply, I did a little research. I guess it is UNUSUAL if your set DOESN'T start getting the dots. It is a bad DLP chip. You can purchase a new one for between $180 and $300 bucks. I found one for about $189.

I got the chip in the mail yesterday and spent about 3 hours last night messing with it. On the upside the white dots are gone, on the downside, the picture is blurry and not centered. 

There are some spring loaded screws that hold the chip in place. I'm figuring they have something to do with the alignment and focus. I'm going to have to dive back into that this evening. I'm not looking forward to it. I have a headache now just thinking about it.

So, the moral of this story is this, I will never, ever, never buy another toshiba product and as far as samsung goes, that's pretty doubtful too.

Doesn't any company these days make a product that is designed to last? Shit, I know people who have tube TVs they bought in the 70's that are still going strong.

At the end of the day, I hate TVs, with a passion...

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