I Love to Hate Toshiba

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

"I have no information"

I called Toshiba a minute ago to ask about my "standby" power consumption.

The conversation went like this:

Me: "Hi, I have a quick question... it says in the manual that it uses 34W of power in standby mode. Is standby mode just when I have the TV plugged in?"
Toshiba Idiot: "Yes, that would be standby mode."
M: Well, have you heard of the Vampire Slayer Act passed in California?
T: I have not sir.
M: It's been on the news recently.
T: I don't watch the news
M: Well it's a law passed to stop companies from making products that use electricity in "Standby Mode"
T: I don't know anything about that. I'm just told what I need to know for my customer service. What are you getting at?
M: Do you have any idea how much power that uses?
T: No sir.
M: It uses 34W of power. With my electric rate that costs me about $60 a year.
T: I have no information on that sir.
M: Can you verify that is how much it uses?
T: Hold on

On hold for 5 minutes

T: Hi sir. Yes. That is the average power consumption of your TV in standby mode
M: I already *know* that!
T: It says it in your manual
M: I KNOW! I just want to know if it really will cost me $60 a year.
T: I have no information on that.
M: Can you put me in touch with someone who does?
T: I have no information on that.
M: I know you have no information. I want to talk to someone who does.
T: I don't know anyone who has information.
M: Well there must be SOMEONE there who knows what is going on with this.
T: You can go online and search.
M: Where do I go to search?
T: Toshiba.com. Besides that, I have no information.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Monday update

I spoke to a guy at Best Buy, and after much explaining found out that the "Product Replacement Plan" does in fact cover the Toshiba replacement TV, and that the "repair count" (where you get to three repairs and Best Buy replaces the TV) doesn't get reset with the replacement.

He seemed to encourage me to just use the Best Buy replacement. I tried to explain that the replacement plan cost $400, and that I would like to keep my extended warranty aruond if at all possible (since I *did* pay for it).

In other news, my TV is getting worse. In HDMI (DVD) mode, it seems to be almost completely black and white... except it is red and white. It looks like "sepia" mode on my camera.

I didn't ask about my 34W "standby" mode yet...

Sunday, June 25, 2006


It's late, and I got bored watching my red TV, so I decided to try to record exactly what was bugging me so much. You can't really see the "red" here, due to the angle, but you should be able to hear the 24/7 fan that drives me nuts.

When it starts, the TV is on a normal volume, and the camera is pretty close to the speakers (right below them).

7 seconds in, I turn the TV off.

15 seconds in, I unplug it.

I still haven't received a good reason why it needs a fan running all the time. And tomorrow I'm going to confront them with the $60/year that I will be paying for it. (The TV uses 34-38W in "standby" mode, and a normal fridge/freezer uses about 54W standard!)

Small update

I left my cell phone and receipt home on Friday, so nothing much happened then. When I got home, I found a message saying they needed the receipt. I went to a UPS store and faxed it over.

In other news, I was sitting around, being mad about my TV, and I started thinking about the "always on" fan.

"How much is that f'n fan costing me?" I pondered.

I looked up the power usage of the TV and found that on, it used 240W. In "Standby" mode it used 34W. I'm assuming "Standby" mode is Japanese for "off".

Anyway, 34W is a good amount of electricity. We pay about 20 cents per kW/Hour.


34W * 24 = 816 W/hours per day
816 * 365 days = 297840 W/hours per day
297840 W/hours = 297.84 kW/hours

and finally:

297.84 * $0.2 = $59.56

I am paying almost $60 a year to keep this stupid TV plugged in. If I own this TV for 5 years, that is $300. Simply because their engineers couldn't turn design the TV correctly.

I can't find specs on another TV, but I'm pretty sure this is ridiculous.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Best Buy + Toshiba = Bestiba

I called Best Buy about the possibility that Toshiba will replace my television. I wanted to make sure that my $400 performance service plan is still valid for the replacement TV.

When I got my TV, it was on clearance. They told me they aren't manufacturing it anymore. (Probably a good thing). Because of this, I got a great deal on it.

When I spoke to Best Buy today, the guy told me that in the case of the TV no longer being manufactured, that Toshiba would typically "feature match" to a newer TV.

So I went to Best Buy to scout out what TVs could potentially be "feature matched" to my TV.

The local best buy had 3 Toshiba TVs for sale. One was SERIOUSLY marked down, and the floor model was being sold (and looked AWFUL). The other two were plasmas. (It's probably safe to assume that they won't "feature match" me to a plasma TV)

I spoke to a guy there and he confirmed that the TV was discontinued in February, and they reduced the price from $2400 to $1400 to get rid of them.

I called up Toshiba to tell them that their "local replacement" nonsense might fall apart, and the guy told me that he had no idea what Best Buy was saying and the TV is definitely still in production.

So they might have to ship a TV (the same crappy model) to Best Buy, and then Best Buy would come over and do the swap. Frickin' ridiculous.

Spoke with Jennifer (From Toshiba) again...

They believe some circuit board is dead, which causes my screen to be red. This has nothing to do with the light engine, which was just replaced.

This would be all well and good (for them), if it wasn't for the fact that the circuit board is BACK ORDERED.

Because of this they are upping my case to an exchange specialist? Who will determine if I should get an exchange...

This is all very, very complicated, and I don't really understand it all.

I need to fax my receipt tomorrow, and I will hear from them in 3 to 5 business days, but maybe sooner.

In the meantime, I will be watching Jack Bauer in red.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

TV Picture & Update

This is what my TV looks like until Toshiba gets their act together. I had girlfriend stand in front of it as proof that I didn't do anything funny to the camera/image.

This is after "fixing" it.

The Mobile Electronics guy called and wanted to know if the menus also looked red. All the menus are blue so it isn't a very good test. He will call back tomorrow to set up another appointment.

In other news, girlfriend reported a "clicking noise" while watching TV earlier. I have not heard it yet. Will update when/if I do.

Mobile Electronics is trying to recover...

Toshiba called me to check on how my new "Light Engine" was treating me. I let the lady have it. She said she would check with Mobile Electronics and call me back.

The M.E. guy just called me. He wanted to talk to someone who was in front of the TV, so he could get more information about it. Apparently when he called "Tech Support" they asked him a bunch of questions he didn't know and he needed more information.

I will have girlfriend call him when she returns.

Which brings me to something rather odd: WHY THE HELL IS MY SUPPORT TECHNICIAN CALLING TECH SUPPORT?

It's quiet! (But still not even close to fixed)

So the repair man came today. At 7:45am. He said 8:30am. Not a big deal.

He replaced the "light engine," which he claimed would fix all of our problems. Sure enough, the TV has become considerably quieter. It isn't quiet, but it's a hell of a lot better.

As he was putting it together, I pointed out the dot on the screen and where the "blur" was. He told me it was impossible for it to still be there. And the "blue" appears to have disappeared, but the dot still remains.

They took apart the TV again, and tried to clean everything. Eventually the guy said that the dot was due to a blemish in the construction of the screen. These little panels in the screen got bent.

I would have believed him if it wasn't for what he did next. He pushed down on the top of the TV, and the angle that the mirror was at changed, so the picture moved. AND THE DOT MOVED WITH IT. I tried to explain that if the dot is moving on the screen, then it can't be the screen's problem.

He wouldn't listen.

He insisted it couldn't be anything but the screen. They replaced the light engine, so it had to be the screen. I suggested the mirror, but he said he cleaned that, so "is impossible!".

I don't know.

I let them go. I took a shower. I showed my girlfriend the TV. She commented on how quiet it got. We were both pleased. I turned on the world cup. It looked funny.

Girlfriend: "Why does it look like that?"
Me: "Ehhh it's a foreign broadcast. They're crazy"
Girlfriend: "Try another channel"

EVERYTHING WAS RED. Yes. That is right. Everything had an extremely red tint to it.

Black? FORGET IT. Dark Red.

I called Toshiba on my way to work. The guy said the repair man should fix it since his work is guaranteed for 30 days. I explained how I had little confidence in this man (since he thought a blemish on the screen moved when the screen didn't). The Toshiba guy said to call him back and try that at first.

I called him. He said it had to be the light engine Toshiba sent. He will call me later today.

If it *is* the light engine, I am going to call Toshiba and threaten BBB and a lawyer.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Mobile Electronics

The guy called me at 1:26pm today. He seems to think that the "light engine" is "all of the insides of a TV"...

So apparently I will have the equivalent to a new TV.

I am skeptical.

He will be here wednesday morning. Lets hope the TV lasts until then.

Spoke to "Mobile Electronics"

I spoke to a secretary at Mobile Electronics.

Talking to anyone should not be this difficult.

The repair-man was not there. I wanted to talk to him about new developments in my TV. She did not understand.

Lady: "So he fixed your TV?"
Me: "No, he looked at it and ordered a part."
Lady: "And he installed it?"
Me: "No. The part just arrived on Friday, according to Toshiba. I haven't heard from him since."
Lady: "But did he install it?"
Me: "No. I haven't heard from him. I wanted to talk to him about an unrelated problem."
Lady: "Well he isn't here. I have no idea when he'll get here. You can call later or leave a message if you want"
Me: "Either is perfectly fine. I just want to talk to him. I can leave a message"
Lady: "Okay what is your number?"
Me: "201"
Lady: "301"
Me: "No. *2*01"
Lady: "201"
Me: "555"
Lady: "301-201-555"
Me: "1234"
Lady: "Waiiiit a minute. How many numbers are in your phone number?"
Me: "Normal amount. 201-555-1234."
Lady: "ohhhhhh. I'll leave a message"
Me: "Thanks"

Support call to Toshiba

Nothing terribly exciting or ground breaking. I spoke to "Nick"...

Q. Will replacing the light engine fix this problem?
A. It should (for the shadow)... For the TV just turning off, call mobile electronics and ask.

Q. How is the delivery of the part? Is it backordered?
A. Delivered as of friday.

Q. Is it refurbished?
A. After some research, they are apparently new parts.

Nick was very nice, but couldn't actually answer anything useful. (Like, at what point I will get a replacement TV for my lemon)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

More Problems: Part 2

Last problem of the night. Promise. This is what caused me to start this stupid blog.

At about 7:30pm (in 24-world time), the TV shut off. A little red light started to blink on the front of the TV. I looked up the error code in the manuel and it said it indicated a lamp fan malfunction and that I should unplug the TV, plug it back in, and then turn it on.

I did that and we resumed our 24 marathon.

Forty five minutes later the same thing happened again.

I was livid.

I have a theory about this. I believe that they used refurbished fans in the last repair job. That would explain why nothing has changed. Also, potentially why it appears that fans are failing now.

I will call Toshiba tomorrow and update.

More Problems: Part 1

The past week or so, I've noticed a small smudge on the bottom of the screen. There is one thick spot, and the rest is like a cloud of fogginess (10" or so?)

I have a cat, so I assumed the cat (being the crackhead that it is), managed to get up by the TV and do something stupid.

I wasn't worried about it for a couple days since it isn't that noticable, especially when watching something with a lot of action. But I sat down for some World Cup fun, and it started to bug me. I got out a wipe and went to clean it, but discovered that it was INSIDE the TV. I was stuck with this.

I called up Toshiba, and the lady said she had never heard of anything like that happening. Since I already had a ticket with a local repair place, I should just let them know.

Very annoying.

My girlfriend thinks I am crazy...

She just told me she was worried about me writing this.

"Who will read that????"

"It's so long!"

So to answer her, and any poor soul that happens upon this page, I am writing this to chronicle my arguments with Toshiba. My first post has been from memory, but from now on, I will post after each discussion or update.

I love a good fight, and toshiba is putting up one helluva a fight.

This will also, if I am lucky at all, stop at least one person from buying a Toshiba TV.

The beginning of the story

This story begins with me moving. I had just graduated college, got a good job, and moved to a nice big place with my girlfriend. The problem was, my current TV fit well into my old apartment, but wouldn't be nearly big enough for the new place.

So I saved up. I did some research. I waited for a couple of weeks to find a good deal. Finally, I found a coupon at Best Buy for 20% off all clearance TV's. I was estatic! The items were already clearanced, so they were cheap, PLUS 20% off? Amazing!

I talked to a Best Buy sales guy, and they explained that they just had to make room for the new models. Figuring that last seasons models would still function correctly, I thought I was getting a deal of a lifetime.

I ended up with a Toshiba 46HM95. After the extended service plan and all that stuff I ended up paying about $1900. For a 46" 720P TV with great speakers, it was a pretty good deal.

The TV was delivered, and it looked FANTASTIC. Really amazing picture. Especially for a projection TV. The only problem was the fan noise coming from the back of the TV was a bit louder than I had expected. I knew there were fans, but these fans were LOUD. To the point where, even at loud volumes, you sometimes couldn't hear what was being said.

(Another point to be made is that there is also a fan running 24/7! You *cannot* turn it off. It is clearly audible across the room or the house. This didn't bug me that much, but it will come up later)

Anyway, I called Toshiba to ask about the fan. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Hi. I have a 46HM95 TV and was wondering how loud the fan is supposed to be"
Toshiba: "If you have the TV at about volume 14 you shouldn't hear the fans."
Me: "Oh. If I have the TV on volume 20 the TV and the fans are about the same volume."
Toshiba: "Oh yeah they are definitely too loud. That happens. It should be easy to fix. We contract repairs in your area out to Stereo Component Service. They should be able to fix it real easily."
Me: "Great! Thanks a bunch!"

I was terribly excited. My TV would become perfect! Apparently I am very naive.

I got in touch with Stereo Component Service (SCS), and they explained that since my TV was so big, in order to properly diagnose and fix the problem, they would have to bring my TV into their shop for about a week. Obviously I liked my TV, and it was still watchable, but it is better to have a working TV for 9 years and 51 weeks, than a noisy TV for 10 years.

This is where shit started to hit the fan.

The man that came to pick up our TV was clearly nuts. He barely spoke english, would agree with just about anything I said, and kept mentioning how he needed to get the TV back to his "LAB-OR-A-TORY". I don't know what kind of experiments he was performing, but if he was going to fix it, I suppose I could deal. He also mentioned it would be "More one week, definitely less two". I helped him carry it into his super sketchy minivan and he was off (after potentially having a flat tire).

The next day (a tuesday) a different man with a thick accent calls me and tells me there is nothing wrong with my TV. I tell him there is, and he agrees to check into it some more. I hear nothing until I call back that Friday. They told me that they ordered new fans on Wednesday and that it would take 5-7 business days to arrive.

Again, a bummer, but at this point what could I do? I wait til the 7th business day (the next friday), and call them up. The man I spoke to was confused as to why they weren't in, and told me that sometimes stuff gets delayed an extra day and to call in that monday.

Again, a bummer. I wanted my TV that weekend, but I guess I was being optimistic. I call back that monday and they me that the parts are backordered.

I flip out.

Somehow it took this inept group of people 9 business days to let me know that these fans were backordered. They told me, several times, that the parts were on order. Yet when they were supposed to arrive, they suddenly become "back ordered". Someone lied to someone. And I was pissed.

I called up Toshiba. I ask them how long the parts will be back ordered. I was told it would take them 3 to 5 business days to FIGURE OUT HOW LONG THEY ARE BACKORDERED.

I flip out again.

For the life of me still, I cannot fathom how it would take that long to figure out an approximate length of backorder. That is besides the point as they magically "found" some fans, and fedex'd it off to SCS.

At this point they had my television for FOUR WEEKS. Best Buy has a 30 day return policy on TVs, so I had surpassed that by a couple of weeks. I was stuck with this TV now. It had better work.

By the following tuesday I had my TV back. The same crazy man came to deliver it. There was a lot of traffic and a lawnmower outside so I let him go before I could really hear the TV again. When he was gone and everything quieted down, I realized that it was EXACTLY the same as when it left my house four weeks earlier. Nothing had changed.

What followed was a flurry of aggrivating and annoyed phone calls to Toshiba. Some highlights included:

Me: "I just want it to work. They did nothing."
Toshiba: "I'm sorry about that sir. We can put you in contact with a different repair service."
Me: "Will they fix it."
Toshiba: "They should be able to do that without a problem"
Me: "But you would say that about SCS. They didn't do anything."
Toshiba: "I'm sorry about that. The other place can fix it."
Me: "Why would I trust your system? I went through it for 4 weeks and nothing happened!"
Toshiba: "But the system works!"
Me: "But it doesn't!!!! AGGGHHH! I just want it fixed!"


Me: "Why is there a fan running 24/7? I can really hear it. It is very distracting"
Toshiba: "It is a silent fan. It is needed to keep the bulbs cool."
Me: "But the TV is off for 10 hours. Why does it still need to run?"
Toshiba: "There is still current running through the circuits."
Me: "But that isn't hard to fix. I actually know something about that.... "
Toshiba: "Well it has to keep the whole unit cool"
Me: "So... if I unplug my TV is it in danger of breaking?"
Toshiba: "That should be fine"

Anyway, I agree to have this other repair place look at it - under the conditions that they do it in my house. The TV still works - the fan is just noisy.

They came and ordered a new "light engine" about a week and a half ago.