My Broken TV Fills Me With Rage

As I wrote about a few years back, my parents were super awesome and got us a big ol’ flat screen Sony Bravia TV (model number KDL-40V4100). It was awesome. It made DVDs (we didn’t go for Blu-ray cause I’m super cheap and can only see so well anyway), Xbox, Netflix Instant and even VHS tapes look awesome. Everything was going smashingly until a couple weeks ago, when, in the middle of a power crisis–not as cool as it sounds–we lost all our analog channels and could only get digital ones. It was a bad time because a series of failing appliances were driving me crazy. First the power in our bedroom seemed limited, then our older-ish dishwasher stopped working, then the TV was acting up, the AC crapped out and the last straw was our brand new washer and dryer shitting the bed. It turned out that our outside breaker was rusted to crap and needed replacing. The condo company suggested an electrician who came out and fixed everything and is my absolute hero.

But the TV still didn’t work. Allow me to elaborate with the help of photos I took of my sad TV. First here’s what the analog channels look like. Mind you, the sound comes through crystal clear.While messing around with the remote, I clicked the Guide button and, as if to drive me even crazier, this happened.As you can see in the little tiny box in the upper left hand corner, the picture comes in PERFECTLY. WTF?! Here’s what some of the less good digital channels look like, which is even stranger.This is like when our old gigantic TV would act up when I was a little kid and I’d give it a good two-footed kick on the screen and the black bars went back where they belonged. And finally, here’s the good digital channels, which are basically NBC and Discovery. Oh, also, even though it might not look like it thanks to the fuzzy reflection, I assume you I am in deed wearing clothes, it’s a white T-shirt. Get your mind out of the gutter. Grr. I tried everything I could think of to remedy/test the situation. I tried a different cable coming out of the splitter into the TV. I tried removing the splitter (which allows us to have internet as well, which is decidedly more important considering I work from home) and putting the cable directly from the wall into the TV. No change. I even replaced the surge protector multi-plug. To see if was a cable issue I brought our little TV out of the bedroom and hooked that up and it works just fine. RAGE.

I’ve tried communicated with Sony on three separate occasions, using three different methods, none of which have helped. I sent an email to their help desk which told me to unplug it for a couple minutes and try something called a power restart. Done and done with no change. I then tried the chat help selection and I think I was really talking to a robot who was just giving me the same troubleshooting tips as before. Nothing helped. After a busy weekend, I decided to give it one last shot before calling the cable company or taking it to a repairman, called the phone number, got a nice enough guy whose accent made the call nearly pointless and got THE SAME ADVICE. I dutifully tried it all again to no avail. The guy recommended I call the cable company and then try some official Sony fixers in the area.

Oh, the other weird thing is that the TV will play DVDs via the HDMI plug, but can’t read the Xbox through either the Red/Blue/Green plugs or the Red/White/Yellow ones visually. Again, the sound comes through. It’s infuriating. So after all this time and the rollercoaster of emotions I was on starting with the power problems and now with the TV, I’m exhausted and angry. Then Wipeout came on and seeing people launched off a giant balloon into water thanks to either a loved one or a 250 pound weight really helped. I figured I’d post this to see if anyone else has been having this problem and see what the solution was. The guy I talked to said he’d never encountered this particular problem before. I’m really hoping that, even though our warranty has expired, that whatever is wrong will be covered by Sony. I’m guessing it’s a faulty chip or some such, which would seemingly be their bad. If not, well, you won’t see me purchasing any further Sony products and I’ll use my little corner of the internet to let everyone know what’s up. Stay tuned, I wish I could, at least on a better TV…

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