Calif lawsuit claims Sony widescreen TVs defective - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 68 Old 06-22-2004, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Taken from Reuters:

LOS ANGELES, June 22 (Reuters) - A California man has sued Sony Corp. of America in a proposed class action, claiming the electronics maker failed to warn consumers that the center of the screens of its widescreen televisions darken if watched frequently in "normal" mode.

Sinclair Cohen of San Jose spent "thousands of dollars" repairing his widescreen TV after Sony refused to fix it under warranty when the center of the screen darkened, the lawsuit, filed on Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, said.

A Sony spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.

Broadcast, satellite and cable images are displayed in a 4-to-3 aspect ratio -- the proportion of TV screen width to height -- while a widescreen television boasts a 16-to-9 ratio to display movies on DVD and high definition television.

In the "normal" mode, the widescreen television displays the 4-to-3 screen image by drawing vertical gray bars on either side of the image to narrow the screen.

"If you watch a lot of normal TV, you'd watch it in this (normal) mode with these bars," Cohen's lawyer, Daniel Warshaw of Tarzana, California, said. "When you put it back to the widescreen image you see lines down the sides."

Warshaw said Cohen's TV set was "fairly new."

The suit said Sony should have warned Cohen and other customers that using the "normal" mode would ruin the picture.
His lawsuit accuses the New York-based subsidiary of Sony Corp. of false advertising, deceptive acts and unfair business practices, and asks a judge to certify a class of people who bought Sony widescreen TVs since 2000.

The lawsuit against Sony was filed the same day that a Florida man accused the U.S. electronics arm of Pioneer Corp. <6773.T> of selling defective high-definition televisions.
In that proposed class action, also filed in Los Angeles, the plaintiff said HD televisions built by Pioneer Electronics had an "over voltage condition" that caused permanent streaking lines across the screen.
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post #2 of 68 Old 06-22-2004, 04:24 PM
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And Sony's attorneys will ask the question, "if the majority of your viewing was normal television then why did you buy a tv specialized for non-normal viewing." And the dummy's reply will be ... I don't know. To which Sony's attorneys will then ask, "sir, are you dumb?" And the man will say, "I'm from California, what do you think." Sony's attorneys will then look up to the presiding judge and say, we rest our case.

When will D* stop pushing HD-Lite while charging us for full HD? Digital input on a CRT is a reality, not a possibility.
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post #3 of 68 Old 06-22-2004, 04:33 PM
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LoL, someone from georgia calling someone from cali dumb! Californians may be weird but not really dumb. And you didn't need to go with the insults either!
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post #4 of 68 Old 06-22-2004, 04:36 PM
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Eric, you from Cali? Sorry, I was joking. Never heard of Californians jokes? BTW, I may currently reside in the state of Georgia, but I am not from Georgia.

When will D* stop pushing HD-Lite while charging us for full HD? Digital input on a CRT is a reality, not a possibility.
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post #5 of 68 Old 06-22-2004, 04:52 PM
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I have never heard of this problem, I wonder if it is an issue with their new KV-30HS420? I plan on buying that TV and would hate for the screen to darken after a few years of use.
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post #6 of 68 Old 06-22-2004, 04:58 PM
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ANY CRt based RPTV will get burn in at the junction of the 4:3 image and the gray bars...So when 16:9 images are viewed, you will see the pair of burn marks in thos areas of the television.


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post #7 of 68 Old 06-22-2004, 06:38 PM
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I take it that LCD based setups would be immune to this?
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post #8 of 68 Old 06-22-2004, 09:03 PM
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Am I crazy, or does every RP-CRT made today warn about burn-in in the user's manual? I'm seriously asking, as I don't have an RP-CRT. If it's in the manual, there's no way this guy has a case.
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post #9 of 68 Old 06-22-2004, 09:37 PM
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It is clearly stated in my Mits manual!!

This is one of the biggest problems in this country, "Its not my fault"
Its always someone elses fault and the attorneys are just more than willing to try to make a buck from it.............................This is why I always say.......................(see sig)

Some people just need their own planet!
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post #10 of 68 Old 06-23-2004, 03:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by TheFerret
And Sony's attorneys will ask the question, "if the majority of your viewing was normal television then why did you buy a tv specialized for non-normal viewing."
So if you buy a pickup truck and aren't hauling anything the majority of the time, you are an idiot?
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post #11 of 68 Old 06-23-2004, 05:30 AM
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Quote:
So if you buy a pickup truck and aren't hauling anything the majority of the time, you are an idiot?
No. But if you sue the truck's manufacturer because when you do haul something your gas milage drops, then yes you are.

Regards,
David


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post #12 of 68 Old 06-23-2004, 07:00 AM
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Was his set ISF calibrated or heck....AVIA calibrated? I would be willing to bet a Mr. Jackson that the brightness and contrast were set to max or near it. This is a major no-no with analog since you can damage your screen.

The major problem with this suit is somebody is saying "I chose to be ignorant when buying a consumer product and now that 'I' screwed it up 'I' believe that somebody should make me feel better by giving me alot of money". Did it even occur to him that "hrm, I watching TV in a non standard mode...maybe I should call who ever I bought it from and see if this is good or not".

The lawyering of America is getting nuts. The fact that you get into a car and drive somewhere to me is saying "I may get in an accident and I may get hurt". You know full well that this may happen. But if an accident occurs you believe now that you have the right to millions of dollars in compensation? To me ignorance should not be an excuse to get millions of dollars...unfortunately it seems to be the way of things now.

If you can get arrested/convicted for a law you know nothing about why should you be able to get money as compensation for a situation you know nothing about. Ignorance should not be an excuse. Especially when that ignorance is caused by laziness.

Examples of crappy class action lawsuits:

- McDonalds made me fat (how could you not know this stuff wasn't good for you)
- Atkins gave me heart disease (the guy must have never even read the book)
- Theatre seats being to narrow (don't be obese SOB's. However, how they did treat her was unacceptable...but not to the tune of 1.4 million)

Examples of credible class action lawsuits:

- Tobacco (they kept denying tobacco caused cancer)
- Ford tire/SUV situation (they covered it up)

-tReP

I must be guilty because people say I am guilty because they chose to call me guilty because they refuse to see the truth. Much easier to be part of the mob..
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post #13 of 68 Old 06-23-2004, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Was his set ISF calibrated or heck....AVIA calibrated? I would be willing to bet a Mr. Jackson that the brightness and contrast were set to max or near it. This is a major no-no with analog since you can damage your screen.
Not a valid arguement since the TV usually comes from the factory set this way.

That being said, I completely agree that this has no merit.
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post #14 of 68 Old 06-23-2004, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by JosephF
Not a valid arguement since the TV usually comes from the factory set this way.
It is! If the user had his TV calibrated professionally (ISF) or personally (using the Avia or VE DVD), the brightness and contrast would have been adjusted appropriately (not in torch mode).
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post #15 of 68 Old 06-23-2004, 10:14 AM
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ISF calibration guarantees nothing. Anyone can get the brightness (white level) and contrast (black level) levels low and still have a problem. The Sony people can and will argue that the user allowed for the bars to be in-use as a static construct for long periods of time. And if Sony has a disclaimer for static images and uneven phosphor wear then the guy will be illustrated as a fool.

When will D* stop pushing HD-Lite while charging us for full HD? Digital input on a CRT is a reality, not a possibility.
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post #16 of 68 Old 06-23-2004, 10:31 AM
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The point is that it is general knowledge having the brightness/contrast set high can cause premature aging. Proper settings are in the best interests of the TV owner.

I think everyone agrees that no one can prevent burn-in, but there are guidelines to help lengthen the life of your TV.
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post #17 of 68 Old 06-24-2004, 02:30 PM
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Although I think this lawsuit is a little much, I think the guy should be entitled to warranty service or a refund if there is no warning stated in the manual or with other provided materials.

It is NOT general knowledge that you should have a television set calibrated. My guess is that of the people who buy RPTVs may 1 in 50 even have them Avia calibrated. If Sony gave no warning that "normal" mode may damage the picture, than the set is clearly not working as they specified to the consumer. The guy has has a damaged picture and did NOTHING to the set that Sony said not to or warned about. He used it in what a normal (non AV-geek) person would consider perfectly reasonable way.

Widescreen televisions are pretty much all you can buy if you want a set over 40". Burn in IS a serious problem.

All this said, if Sony provided a warning somewhere, then he has no right to complain.
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post #18 of 68 Old 06-24-2004, 02:44 PM
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I'm gun-ho for this guy. I have never, EVER met anyone outside of the knowledgeable forums (like here) who had any clue as to the settings on their TV. They are 100% convinced that the settings these TV's come with are the correct settings. How in the hell are they going to know any better? They can't! Not unless they come on in here and read up and let's face it, we're geeks, so the rest of the world will remain ignorant.

Sales people do not tell buyers about this (most don't know themselves!) and the warning in the manual is normally buried somewhere in fine print.

And no, I have never had burnin on my set. So i have no axe to grind.

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post #19 of 68 Old 06-24-2004, 03:26 PM
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Matt (Stevens), if you are to promote your point effectively then we'll need to seek class-action status on an even more global suit as Sony is not the only one. The uneven image wear on my Mitsubishi (which cost me $4K) was from something I did not consider static wear. There is static wear, but there is also wear that I would not call static unless my lifetime is on the order of 1/60th of a second. :)

When will D* stop pushing HD-Lite while charging us for full HD? Digital input on a CRT is a reality, not a possibility.
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post #20 of 68 Old 06-24-2004, 03:39 PM
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Probably 1 in 50 people even read the manual. And if they do, it's only to find a specific function.

I have no compassion for this person. If this were a 4:3 TV 20 years ago and the guy left his "Pong" game on for a week and had burn in effects, would he sue Atari and Sony because he didn't know?

It's not a new problem...

How about:
The guy that turned the volume up to "11" and blew his speakers or amp.
Oh... I didn't know!

The guy that removed his 'ground pin' from the power plug because he only had 2 prong outlets in his home.
Oh... I didn't know!

The guy that had his headphones turned up to "11" and woke up only to find he couldn't hear his wife asking what he wanted for breakfast.
Oh... I didn't know! And... I'll have bacon and eggs, as usual.

The that eats bacon and eggs every day.
Oh... I didn't k............. umph

The guy that hooks up his PC to the internet and all of his beloved photos, music and finances were blown away because he didn't know about 'firewalls' and/or virus protection.
The guy that didn't know about how girls get pregnant .
.. the coffee was hot
.. the food is fattening.
.. not brushing you teeth can cause cavities.

IMO... frivilous!
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post #21 of 68 Old 06-24-2004, 03:49 PM
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Even if the product left the factory in a condition comparable to what a professional calibrationist could produce this means nothing. Most CRT-based RTPV manufacturers place a disclaimer in their manuals for static images, but provide poor examples (if any examples) of what is classified as a static image.

For instance, on the phone Mitsubishi says station identifiers (logo's) are considered static images even though its an overlay and 'something' is moving all the time on the screen. Its one thing to leave pong on with black/white high-contrast images, but something clearly different in terms of logo's burning into the phosphor.

The manufacturer knows more than anyone else what the limitations are of the technology they are producing for the consumer marketplace. They do little to educate consumers as 'telling the truth' can be interpreted in the marketplace as something bad, which would form negative advertising.

So, its not entirely the consumer's fault for being ignorant, incompetent, and wants satisfaction from his loss, is it? I didn't bother with legal action as I can live with not consciously buying another Mitsubishi product for the rest of my life, and to learn from my ignorance.

When will D* stop pushing HD-Lite while charging us for full HD? Digital input on a CRT is a reality, not a possibility.
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post #22 of 68 Old 06-24-2004, 05:00 PM
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Ratman,

A truly entertaining and well thought out post. I agree with you completely. I am not really old, but I feel like I'm getting that way when I say things like this - back when I was a kid I think a larger percentage of the population believed in taking personal responsibility for their actions. If you do something stupid - It's your fault. If 'you didn't know' it's because you didn't bother to find out. True, we can not always find out everything we might need to know, but if you're passionate enough about something to SUE when it craps out, then you should be passionate enough about it to LEARN how the friggin' thing works!

Regards,
David


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post #23 of 68 Old 06-25-2004, 05:10 AM
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This problem is why many of us watch 4:3 TV in stretched mode.
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This problem is why many of us have not gone out and bought a widescreen TV!

--Bill
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post #25 of 68 Old 06-25-2004, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
This problem is why many of us have not gone out and bought a widescreen TV!
This is what will happen when you have a 4:3 TV and watch HD programs and DVD's letterboxed.

It's really not a 'problem'... it's a lack of understanding and self-education.
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post #26 of 68 Old 06-25-2004, 07:16 PM
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He might have a case if the TV's shipped from the factory with the contrast turned up too high, which they do in an effort to sell more TV sets in the showroom.


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post #27 of 68 Old 06-26-2004, 10:13 PM
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This brings up some issues that I have wondered about. I don't watch a lot of broadcast tv, but isn't the majority of it in 4:3 format?
I don't understand why anyone would watch tv in stretch mode. To me its absurd. But what does one do to avoid damage to their set if they watch a lot of broadcast tv? It just seems to be a really big design flaw. IMO
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post #28 of 68 Old 06-27-2004, 06:21 AM
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When I use my 16X9 Panasonic set, I watch all news either zoomed and lowered (crops all that annoying scrolling bar crap), or I watch it stretched. But I watch so little 4:3 non-news programs that when I do watch them, I do it 4:3.

My set is 3 to 4 years old now and despite watching 50% 2.35:1 flicks, I have zero burnin. Not even a hint.

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post #29 of 68 Old 06-27-2004, 11:32 AM
 
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How would this guy even have a case if there were not warnings in the manual (which there were). He bought the set as it was (let the buyer beware...) and it wore, which is INHERENT to *ANY* CRT display. There was no threat of injury. There was nothing "defective" in the least. A menu setting, as is common, lead to wear of the picture tube. A different setting may have led to less wear, or with a higher setting, even faster wear. So what!?

This guy is an idiot, and there is nothing "defective" about the set in the least.
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post #30 of 68 Old 06-28-2004, 03:00 AM
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Its one thing to have suboptimal settings out of the box, another to have settings that drastically reduce the life of the TV.

Currently taking donations for a better setup.
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