Fail Is The New Black: Panasonic Sued Over Defective TVs

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News Posted: Wed, Mar 3 2010 4:18 PM
Panasonic is facing down a class-action lawsuit alleging that the company's G10 line of plasma televisions is defective. The 'alleged', in this case, is a bit of a misnomer, as the issue has been independently confirmed and admitted by the company itself. The question at hand is whether or not the change is picture quality constitutes a breach of contract. The brouhaha started last July when a member of the AVS Forum noted that his Panasonic G10 was displaying a much brighter black than it had previously. Discussion of the problem burbled along, as such things do, until the company admitted to CNet that the issue existed and is caused by an automatic voltage adjustment as time passes.

 From the email: As a result of this automatic voltage adjustment, background brightness will increase from its initial value. After several years of typical use, the internal material characteristics will stabilize and no additional automatic voltage adjustments are required. The Black Level at this stabilized point will yield excellent picture performance. The newest Viera plasma HDTVs incorporate an improved automatic control which applies the voltage adjustments in smaller increments. This results in a more gradual change in the Black Level over time.



When asked if Panasonic intended to fix the televisions that had shifted to a brighter black that their now-unhappy owners deemed unacceptable, Bob Perry, Senior VP of Panasonic Consumer Electronics responded "Since the TVs work as designed, there's nothing to fix." That answer hasn't proven popular among Panasonic owners aware of the issue; today's lawsuit is the result. Thus far, the company has attempted to duck behind claims that the image changes are "subtle," but this may not fly in court if the plaintiffs can demonstrate that the difference is both un-subtle and particular to certain models of Panasonic displays. At the same time, however, image quality is a nebulous measurement that's highly dependent upon each individual's eyesight and ambient light conditions.

If you own one of the affected models, drop a comment below and let us know.
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rapid1 replied on Wed, Mar 3 2010 5:14 PM

This is good to know, as I have not yet upgraded to a HD set. Although I am planning to do so when tax returns come in this year if possible. Panasonic was one of the brands I was considering as well. So this is very good to know!

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acarzt replied on Wed, Mar 3 2010 7:05 PM

Yea, i've been following this too.

They supposedly fixed this with the G20 series. Yet they still claim nothing was wrong with the G10s lol Why the fix then? lol

The reason behind the voltage increase in the first place is to compensate for the degradation of the screen.... but the over compensated and cause the brightness. Panasonic denies that it is an issue tho.

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This is very poor PR from Panasonic. When Xbox RROD fiasco happened, at least Microsoft owned up to it and offered extended warranties to the consumer. If Panasonic had done the same, they would have avoided the lawsuit and negative publicity. I'm guessing consumers will be less likely to buy a Panasonic HDTV vs another brand.

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rapid1 replied on Thu, Mar 4 2010 12:44 AM

Yeah gibbersome as I said in my first post Panasonic is kind of off my maybe list. I definitely do not like item manufacturers pulling poor QC. It is however OK when they make up for something that's their fault anyways. Seeing a company as big as Panasonic try to skirt an issue which they knew about before hand though makes me think they will try and get away with whatever they can. So Panasonic has lost me as a potential customer.

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acarzt replied on Thu, Mar 4 2010 3:46 AM

I would like one of their new G20 series plasmas. They added netflix streaming and fixed this issue lol

The G10 is still one of THE best plasmas, it's just that one minor draw back. And from what I read, Panasonic DID replace a lot of the panels.

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Panasonic had a similar problem years ago with their LCD Rear Projection sets, unfortunately one of which I had bought. I ended up wiht a $2600 brick. search for pt50lc13 on avsforum and you can find out more. it was also a voltage problem then. Panasonic would not stand behind their product, even after the class action lawsuit. I resigned never to buy a Panasonic tv again, and I recommend the same to everyone who asks.

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rapid1 replied on Sun, Mar 7 2010 1:46 PM

I hear you loud and clear razor, although as I said when this first came up they (Panasonic) are off my list for anything. Yes they may have "fixed" the specific issue in following components, but if you have an OEM who does not back there products up in any instance what do you have? You have a product that if you have an issue with it has in general and at best selective support of the consumer.

So Panasonic is now on my no consideration list. Of course I don't nor have I ever had a major product by them (I think I had a Panasonic Boom Box when I was a teenager) other than that which I got as a gift anyway, I am not a Panasonic customer any way.

 

 

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