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Sony Tops in HDTV Reliability

Sony Tops in HDTV Reliability

Are you looking for a new TV for Christmas?  Need to have it before the Superbowl?  Before shelling out your hard earned cash for a purchase that size, get some feedback from people who have them.  Do you have a co-worker or neighbor whose brain you can pick?  Well, PC World did just that with 16,000 of their best friends.

In a recent survey, PC World asked 16,000 readers to rate their HDTVs and published their results.  Sony was the hands down winner earning the highes ratings in seven of nine categories.  While LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp and Vizio didn’t fare too bad, either, the Sony Bravia was number one.

Sony, the electronics giant, known for high-quality, high-end HDTV’s, earned praise for hardware reliability and customer service.  “I’ve gone with Sony for many years. I find them to be reliable and high-quality, and they last a long time,” says Alan Ronkin, who bought a 40 inch Sony Bravia a year ago and is pleased with it.

Sony’s experience with HD technology means that it can produce a better picture.

The nine criteria used in the survey were:

Reliability Measures

  • Problems on arrival: Based on the percentage of survey respondents who reported one or more problems with the TV set out of the box.
  • Any hardware or software problems: Based on the percentage of survey respondents who reported any problem at all during the TV’s lifetime.
  • Severe problems: Based on the percentage of survey respondents who reported a problem that rendered the TV impossible to use.
  • Ease of use: Based on the percentage of survey respondents who rated their TV as extremely or very easy to use.
  • Satisfaction with reliability: Based on the owner’s overall satisfaction with the reliability of the TV.

Service Measures

  • Phone hold time: Based on the average time a product’s owners waited on hold to speak to a phone support representative.
  • Phone rating: Based on a cumulative score derived from the owners’ ratings of several aspects of their experience in phoning the company’s technical support service. Among the factors considered were whether the information was easy to understand, and whether the support rep spoke clearly and knowledgeably.
  • Failure to resolve problem: Based on the percentage of respondents who said their problem was unresolved after they contacted the company’s support service.
  • Service experience: Based on a cumulative score derived from TV owners’ responses to questions focusing on 11 particular aspects of their experience with the company’s service department.

What’s ahead for HDTV? Even lower prices and more cutthroat competition, as vendors push for market share and consumers shop for their second or third set. “Now the 52-inch goes to the living room, and the 37-inch or 42-inch retires to the bedroom or den,” The Envisioneering Group’s Doherty says.

But will quality suffer? Possibly for a while, IDC’s Haruki predicts, as vendors beef up manufacturing and support to handle increased sales and users. “Vendors will need to increase service, or they’ll have a lot of dissatisfied customers,” he says. Manufacturing will move to countries with cheaper labor, too. Vendors “may have issues…but only because it’s a transitional period,” Haruki adds. “As time goes on, they’ll figure it out and become more reliable.”

Those who know agree that while other brands will probably continue to have reliability problems, Sony will remain the problem-free leader.  Many consumers agree with Bob Mariotti who says, “Buy the best you can afford, and most times it’ll pay for itself in satisfaction.”

Phil Harris of Washougal, Washington, had a different experience,  He brought home a 42 inch Visio set from Costco, the TV had issues from day one. “The colors went out, and there were white spots all over the screen,” says Harris, a retired engineer. Vizio sent techs, who “changed a bunch of components, but that didn’t work.”

Go here to read more about Sony Bravia HDTV Reviews and Deals.

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