Hey, Don’t Buy Sony TVs

I know this is just a little blog that not a lot of people read, but one of the things that makes the internet great is that regular people can speak out about the problems they’re having. In this case, I’ve been having a problem with a Sony Bravia TV (KDL-40V4100) that was purchased in late 2008. I went through what exactly was wrong with the set (do they even still call them sets?) in a post last month.

Since then, I’ve had the cable company come out and they told me it wasn’t the signal, which I had already figured because the cable works fine on our little TV perched above the big one (which feels very white trash). Last week I was able to get an electronics repairman to come out and give it a look. After explaining to him what was wrong, he said he’d have to go back to his shop and do some research for pricing. He called me back and told me that the tuner board–the source of the problem–was pretty pricey and the whole thing with installation and all that would be $460. That’s on top of the $120 I paid for him to come out to my house to give it a look (I did the house call route because the TV’s too damn big to wield on my own and the hours are a little wonky so the missus can’t get home in time from work to help me).

Anyway, with that information in hand, I decided to call Sony up today to see if they could do anything. I understand that it’s past warranty, but I thought they might do something to help considering this very expensive television stopped working after less than two years. That doesn’t seem right does it? Well, after getting passed around I was basically told that, since I didn’t have the extended warranty (a gamble at best that I apparently should have taken) and you really can’t tell what’s going to happen with electronics once they’re sold, there’s nothing they could do.

Well, here’s what I can do: tell you about my poor experience and never buy a Sony product again. I can also at least attempt to harness the power of the internet to let other people know what kind of shoddy merchandise these people pass off as high quality and the lack of customer service. I can guarantee that my family and I would have spent far more money on Sony products than it would have cost to fix this problem. $460 from a big company like that to fix a defective product seems like pretty small potatoes compared to a lifetime of buying TVs, stereos, DVD players and whatever else might get invented in the coming years.

So, in the end, pardon my French, but fuck Sony. I’ll get this TV fixed now because I can’t afford a new one, but when the time comes for another TV? You can damn well bet that it won’t be a Sony.

Jersey Shore Season Two Hits Tomorrow!

As I’m sure you already know, Jersey Shore’s second season which was filmed in Miami over spring break will be premiering tomorrow, July 29th at 10:00PM EST on MTV. The above clip makes everything look pretty awesome, but I worry that the already image conscious cast will just be focused on perpetuating the image they set up in the first season and not allow themselves to grow as individuals this season. Heh, just kidding. Looks freaking crazy. Fights, hook ups, the usual. I just hope Angelina doesn’t ruin things with her awfulness. What’s the deal with bringing her back anyone? Does she have pictures of a high level MTV exec?

Also, real quick, to every single moron who continues to rail against the show Jersey Shore for not actually representing New Jersey SHUT UP ALREADY. The show clearly states that these people aren’t even from Jersey plus, no shit, getting any six or seven people together and filming them isn’t representative of a larger group. TAKE A STATISTICS CLASS! Living near New Jersey (too close, frankly) I hear about a lot of this crap on the news and it just makes everyone involved sound stupid for not checking facts. Rant complete.

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…

History Misses The Mark With Top Shot

Okay, I don’t exactly agree with the headline I just wrote, but it was just too good to pass up. I like the concept behind History Channel’s Top Shot which brings marksmen and women together from all different disciplines, puts them on teams, gives them challenges and then makes the losing team vote two people in to shoot for their change to stick around. But, it’s not a perfect show by any means and the fault lies firmly on the History Channel.

The biggest problem the is that they ruin the final challenge almost every time they show an episode. I first noticed this while watching the first two episodes. I saw them as reruns and both times at the end of the show during the commercial breaks of the final challenge to see who gets to stay and who goes home, History showed a preview for the next episode featuring the winner! I thought it might have just been a rerun problem which is forgivable, but then last night, when watching the new episodes (which featured archery and fire!) that same thing happened! It’s the final throwdown between these two dudes using crossbows, it’s neck and neck and you’re wondering who’s going to win. They cut to commercial to raise tension and during the break they tease the next episode, showing one of the guys very early in the ad. Great. Thanks for killing all the tension from your show.

The other problem I have with the show is that it’s trying to make drama or at least focusing on it too much. I don’t tune into a History Channel competition show to hear one guy badmouthing another one because the kid made an offhand comment about divorce and then apologized for it. Seeing a grown man hold a grudge against a 20 year old kid is fine for a Bravo show, but just makes me want to turn off one involving guns being shot from a chair lift (the final challenge for the second episode). Stop making me want to turn this show off and ruining the ending History Channel!

A Few Thoughts On Glee

I’ve talked about Glee a few times, after the very first episode and then after the next first episode. I’m happy to say that many of my concerns have been taken care of for the most part: the songs sound more “live” than they used to and the non-glee club students don’t seem as assholeish (but that’s just because they’re not featured as prominently, they’re still assholes, we just don’t see it as much). But, I do still have a few problems with the show. I only even mention these problems because I really like the show and want it to be better.

See, I feel like the writers relied on sensational plots and characters early on and are now stuck with them. Mr. Schue’s wife is just awful. The whole fake pregnancy thing just feels like a huge weight around the neck of the whole show. That’s the kind of plot device you throw in, thinking that you need to hook viewers with out-there plot points and now you get stuck with them. Both Em and I hate the wife and want her out of the picture. And that’s not just because we want her to hook up with the ridiculously cute Emma. She’s just a terrible character. One that could only be redeemed by television trickery and nothing that would take place in real life. The sooner the truth comes out about her the better.

Before tonight’s episode, I was feeling the same way about Quinn’s pregnancy, but I feel like it’s more of a real point of drama and conflict now as opposed to something they threw against the wall to see what stuck. I like the drama it’s causing with Quinn, Fynn and Puck, but I still feel like the “I told Fynn it was semen in the hot tub, but Puck’s really the father because we boned, but I’m going to keep lying about it” plot on Quinn’s end is a bit much. The sooner that’s dealt with the better.

Here’s my long term problem with the show, though. Aside from the fact that I feel like Quinn’s baby will be written off with the greatest of ease (please prove me wrong writers), it seems like the show as a whole has a ticking clock hovering above it. And it’s all because these kids are relatively old. In high school terms. I’m guessing most of them are juniors, if not seniors. Now, having been a member of the musicals since my sophomore year in high school I know all too well that you’ve always got an outgoing class and an incoming one, which is a path that Glee could logically take in the coming seasons. Sure it would be hard to get rid of leads, but it would be more realistic (what are the odds that everyone in a particular club is in the same grade?)). Now, they could take the That 70s Show road in which each season consisted of half an actual year (so the eight seasons only spanned four in “real time”). I could buy that. This is more of a “future problem,” though, something that may or may not be a problem. But it’s something I think about because I do really like the show.

I do appreciate how the show is expanding its world. Sue Sylvester has shown a bit of humanity with last week’s episode, though I worry she will be a one trick pony for 99% of the show, we shall see. I also liked seeing Kurt’s dad last episode, Fynn’s mom on tonight’s and Quinn’s even though they were total jerkwads.

And, of course, the music is great. I even called that Fynn would sing “Having My Baby” to Quinn’s parents. Go me. And I was thinking they’d sing “Lean On Me” to Quinn and Fynn at the end, but I called it some other ridiculous name that I can’t quite recall right now. Anyway, the point is that Glee has a lot going for it, a huge following and the support of the music industry right now, so I hope the writers can get themselves out of the corners they’ve painted themselves into in order to make the story as good as the songs and choreography.

Comic Book Commercials, It’s About Friggin Time!

So, as you may or may not have heard already, Vertigo announced on their blog that they’re running a commercial for their graphic novels Filthy Rich and Dark Entries on BBC America and dag-nabbit, it’s about damn time. You can watch it here. Why don’t comic companies advertise more? The only other time I remember seeing a commercial advertising comic books was back when Todd McFarlane would pop up, sitting in his weird, giant chair talking about how Spawn was the best selling comic of all time.

By placing ads in comics, you’re preaching to the choir, but by actually telling the rest of the world, you’re doing this thing called “expanding your audience.” I’d say it’s basic business, but I have no idea if that’s an actual term because I’ve never studied business, but it’s at least logical. Now, I know that commercials cost a ton of money (though they cost less if you have in-house designers put something together like this, Marvel does the same thing with their online commercials). All you have to do is tell normal people that the product is actually out there. I’ve actually had conversations with people after they saw movies like Spider-Man, X-Men and Batman Begins where they’re astonished that comic books still come out. That was incredibly demoralizing. That would be like people not knowing movies or cartoons or books still came out. Gah!

I will concede, that, given these rough economic times, that it might not make the most sense to advertise on television. But here’s an idea. Advertise during the movies. Not in the actual movies, that would be just too meta, but before or after. Throw some fairly recent covers up there and say something like “To check out the further adventures of Iron Man, go to your local comic shop!” or “Go to Marvel.com!” or “Subscribe here!” Just do something to let the general population know that comic books still exist and are still out there for popular consumption. We need the new readers you guys.

Apocalypse Now-ish

Hey gang, hope you’ve made peace with your respective makes because things aren’t looking so good for humanity.

Now, I’m not one to put much stock in end of the world theories, but, when faced with overwhelming evidence, even I have to take another look at the facts. And things look grim to say the least.

First off, as you all know I’m sure, the economy is in the crapper. Sure, things look better and worse on a daily basis, but we’re talking about the first worldwide crash in our hyper-technological society. I’m not sure if that makes sense. Want to know why?

Because it’s ridiculously hot. Maybe this is just a local thing, but it was like 90 degrees this weekend after being in the 60s and 70s all week. Forget global warming, this could be global burning. Plus, the A/C in my freaking office isn’t working and I’m feeling light headed (which might explain this rant).

But hey, heat and a bad economy, that’s nothing new, right? True. So how about we mix a little pig flu in? I don’t care to actually read the link to the Center for Disease Control, but my grandmother-in-law swears that you can get it from eating pig. I’ll be honest with you folks, if it’s between getting the flu and eating bacon, you better get a bucket ready, because I’m eating that bacon. I’m the guy that heard a report on NPR about the Taco Bell E. coli scare a few years back and went right to the drive-thru and got myself some T-Bell. Hey, living clean isn’t for everyone. Also, how funny is it that there’s a blog called Food Poisoning Law Blog? That might be a sign too, but probably not.

What’s that? You have science to refute those claims? I believe you. I also believe what I heard on the radio last night (NPR again, yeah, I’m cultured like that, especially now that Wendy Williams plays so much freaking music). One reporter who lives in Mexico City said that the usually friendly people of MC have become highly suspicious of their neighbors, expecting them to get them sick. Well, we’re pretty much like that already here in the states on a good day. Add in the fact that people are afraid to fly anywhere and the inevitable conspiracy theories attesting that the flu was unleashed by man for nefarious reasons and you’ll get a pretty paranoid populace.

So, to sum things up, the world is full of poor, scared, sick and increasingly desperate people in a huge, hot economic pit in which pigs are slowly killing us. But that’s not all. The incredibly lame-looking movie Obsessed, which they didn’t even advertise as starring Beyonce, one of the biggest pop stars in the world, and Heroes “star” Ali Larter until the last few commercials I saw, was not only the biggest grossing movie of the weekend, but also scored record earnings for that week in April.

Maybe it’ll be this Friday’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine that lights the last flame to the powder keg before complete anarchy sets in. Well, it’s been nice knowing you all. I was hoping to make it until the Lost finale, but we shall see…