*I am keeping all of this up to date on the blog I made specifically because of this issue, here: dontbuyphilips dot blogspot dot com
So I began this frustrating journey a year ago, after purchasing a Philips 47" LCD TV (model: 47PFL5432D/37) from my local Las Vegas Costco. The problems however, did not pop up until two months ago.
Now, before I proceed any further, allow me to explain the 3 problems I am currently having with this unit. I am going to be using a phrase "halfway turns on" more than once through the next few paragraphs and I want to be absolutely clear on what that means. When the unit "halfway turns on", I mean the following:
1. The unit's power supply/transformer/whatever audibly clicks twice. This is the same noise the unit makes when it is powered on normally. (ie. "ca-click" )
2. The blue LED in the corner does NOT illuminate. For all intents and purposes, the unit appears to be off. However,
3. If the power button is pressed on either the side of the television, or the remote (does not matter which method is used), the LCD backlight INSTANTLY turns on, illuminating the screen, as well as the blue LED turns on. This to me indicates that when the unit "clicks" as described in #1 above, that the TV is turned on and drawing power from the the electrical outlet. There is no power-on self test. There is no few seconds of dark and then the TV illuminates, as when it is powered on normally. Again, the screen and blue power LED illuminate INSTANTLY after the either power button is pressed a second time.
Now, the three separate problems I am experiencing with the unit:
The television "halfway turns on" randomly, at any time. Nothing has touched the remote. No one has pressed the power button on the side of the unit. It just "halfway turns on". I cannot recreate this problem, as it does it whenever it feels like it.
When trying to start the television, by pressing either the power button on the remote, or by pressing the power button on the side of the unit, the television does not respond. Repeated presses of the power button (either one) yield nothing. Then, roughly 20 seconds later, the unit power cycles itself. What I mean by this, is that the unit audibly turns off, then right back on. (ie. ca-click, Ca-Click! off, then on) After a few seconds, the unit's LCD backlight illuminates and the TV works normally. I cannot recreate this problem, as again, it is completely random, but it is happening at a rate of about 5% of the time.
When the unit's clock is programmed, so that it displays the correct time for my region (PST), the unit will automatically "halfway turn on" every morning at 5 am, every day. Initially, I kept waking up at 5am with no idea what was waking me up. After a few mornings of this, I was able to isolate it to the television. Since I work in the IT field, I began to troubleshoot the TV to the best of my ability. Power cycling it, leaving it unplugged overnight, flashing the firmware, etc, etc. And much to the chagrin of every support person I've spoken to (7 now and counting), I've shown them that there is no time set in the 'On Timer' portion of the menu.
By the time I had identified these three problems, my warranty had just expired with Philips by 5 days. So Costco, rather than having the TV serviced under their warranty, contacts Philips to see if they will still cover it under their initial warranty. Phillips agrees and issues a repair order to my local authorized Philips service center. They come out, initially diagnose the problem, take the TV, and I am told, replaced the mainboard. Within two minutes of them returning the TV, I am able to recreate the problem, showing them that it still has a problem. I then call back Costco, and am elevated to a "Presidential Liason" at Philips. After sending a lengthy email describing the problems I have experienced thus far, I get the following reply (copied verbatim):
I copied your to our product specialist. Apparently we're not understanding that this is a normal function of the unit can in fact be turned off if you wish not to use the clock feature. I myself was not aware of this. Our product specialist had this to say:
"When the TV "wakes up" at 5:00, the TV is performing a background channel scan to check for new channels and for ones that have moved to another channel location (this is possible with digital channels). This is per design intent of the TV. The TV clock controls when this occurs, and by putting the clock into the manual mode and clearing the time, the TV will not wake up to do this channel scan. That what I was trying to have the customer do, however, I suspect that the time did not clear. It may be possible to put the TV clock into the manual mode, then unplug the TV for a long time (an hour), then plug it back in. That may clear the time and stop the wake up at 5:00. Again, if the time is not cleared, this background channel scan feature will still operate. If the customer wants to use the clock feature of the TV, there is no way to prevent the wake up. The choice is live without the TV clock, or live with the noise when the TV wakes up.
Note: replacing this customer's TV will not resolve the issue, because all of the TVs have a clock feature."
It would appear the "turning half on" is the background scan if I am following the specialist and this is supposed to occur.
Sure I can live without the clock. But then I begin to sacrifice other functionality, like being able to actually use the On Timer functionality, as well as any other functionality that is based off the internal clock. And the real kicker? The TV is able to update its firmware (by downloading a .bin file from Philips onto a flash drive), allowing you to flash it and resolve any issues in relation to its software. But the engineers, and Philips, would rather take the stance of "Sorry, tough luck!" and "Not our problem," rather than fix what is an obvious flaw. Why can't the television do this housekeeping procedure after it has been turned on? Why have to do it at 5am? And for the record, Philips never made any attempts to address the other two problems listed above.
After contacting Costco regarding the issue, they stated that they would be unable to offer any help or replacement as "this isn't a problem; the television is operating under designed specs."
So do yourself a favor, and avoid purchasing any Philips brand flat panel televisions, as per their engineers, EVERY television is going to have a clock feature and I would have to assume until told differently, set to turn on at 5am. And as my case has shown you, Philips doesn't give a damn about fixing their own flaws. Thought everyone would like to know, so they can avoid a costly mistake.
I hope the rest of you aren't having the same issue as I. I'd love to hear from you if you are, or would like to test your televisions to see if they exhibit the same behavior. Just set your clock to 4:59am any day of the week, turn the TV off and wait a minute.