Wednesday, January 24, 2007

User BigPanda on the AVSForum thread has confirmed he has a January 2007 build XBR with clouding. Looks like the issue hasn't been remedied in the new years sets.
I took the plunge on Saturday last weekend, January 20, and purchased the KDL-46XBR2. After about 3 hours at my local Circuit City, haggling prices and almost getting the 52 inch, I ended up going to Best Buy on a last ditch effort.

They not only matched the haggling price, but gave me a lower 4-year service plan as well. After 3 hours at CC it took me 20 minutes and I was out the door with my new TV.

Took it home, left it in the box in my hall for a day until Sunday when I unpacked it. Wasting no time I plugged it in right there in the hall to check it out and see if I had any clouding or mura effects. It appeared not on any of the black inputs.

I prepared my and lugged it upstairs. After about 30 minutes of cleaning and cable hookup it was all set up. So far the blacks look uniform and crisp to me. I thought I noticed a slight whiff of clouding in the top left of the screen but it's only evident when a really bright scene cuts to black. I will investigate this more and post my findings here, but so far on any blank input the screen looks to be in good shape.

First picture is taken in normal lighting with camera flash. It's the Nintendo Wii's Opera web-browser.
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The rest are in a completely dark room with no camera flash.

Picture Mode: Vivid
Input: Xbox 360 420p DVD
Backlight: Full
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Friday, January 19, 2007

Interesting post on the AVSForum regarding using the VGA input and a solid black screen to "clear clouds."

It has been confirmed to NOT work, furthering our belief the defect is hardware-based.

" IT'S OFFICIAL! "PC input"MAKES NO DIFFERENCE whether you are watching through the PC input or any other inputs, THE CLOUDS ARE ALWAYS THERE, and will always be there....

I connected a PC via VGA to a 46" XBR2 AUGUST build(with slight clouding on left side). And I used a program called "DPT"
to test for dead or stuck pixels, it allows the screen to be completely black, with no windows borders showing on the outside. This program created the ideal Black screen to test for clouds.

People, make sure through a pc you have NO windows borders with START at the bottom of the screen, SCREEN must be completely BLACK. THIS is why the "DPT" program is useful.
In my tests, I had PICTURE turned up to max and Backlight to max... Clouds were clearly visible just like Cable thru HDMI and component!! The PC makes no difference!! The software Patch may also make no difference!! The panel is physically creating the clouds."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

AVSForum user ransome posted this picture.
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Sony 46" 1080p in front of Sharp 52" 1080p.Both with no image.Any light you see on the sharp is a reflection from my computer screen,it is solid and black.The Sony is from Oct 2006.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sony posted this on 1/12


The Sony BRAVIA line of flat-panel LCD televisions reflects our commitment to the highest picture quality standards. The KDL-40XBR2/3 and KDL-46XBR2/3 series televisions have received exceptionally high ratings for picture performance from many well respected home theater sources, including the Editor’s Choice Award from CNET™ and critics at Sound & Vision Magazine.

To achieve this high level of performance and picture clarity, Sony utilizes a very bright backlight setting. This helps deliver the brightest picture possible, as well as exceptional picture clarity even in the darkest image sources.

However, the setting, under certain dark viewing conditions, especially blank screens with no video source, may cause the screens on some of these televisions to exhibit slightly uneven uniformity. This condition is not usually visible under typical viewing conditions, such as watching movies or television programming, and generally should not affect your viewing experience.

Should you find that this condition does affect your viewing enjoyment; there are a few settings that you can make to minimize this condition:

* Setup Menu --> Light Sensor: ON
* Setup Menu --> Power Saving: Low or High
* Picture Menu --> Reduce the Backlight Level (Factory Setting: 10)

A combination of the above changes may be applied as necessary.

If your television still does not meet with your approval after these setting adjustments, Sony Electronics will provide a Self Service Software Update that will further minimize the condition. Upon request, Sony will ship this update with directions directly to you when it becomes available in mid-February.

All terms of your Sony limited warranty continue to apply. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause, and we continue to stand behind our product and our loyal customers.

Please contact Sony at 1-800-222-SONY (7669) for more information."

See the page here.

Perhaps Sony is starting to take note of the issue!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Here are two more shots of a pristine XBR set with clouding/mura effect.

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Experiencing a problem with your Sony set?

Send a letter to Consumer Reports.

We love to hear from our readers concerning what experiences they have encountered with a product or service. Our readers’ correspondences help shape the work that we do here at Consumers Union.

If you would like to share your experience with us, you may send it to our mailing address at:

Consumers Union
Attn: Customer Relations
101 Truman Avenue
Yonkers, NY 10703

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Here's some comparisons of what is considered a good, non-defective screen vs. defective ones:

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A good screen.
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Visible clouds in Star Wars.
I've created a Frappr map to get a worldwide view of people who have defective, replacements also defective and good LCD TV sets from Sony.

Sony Clouding Frappr Map
Interesting post from Kdogs on the AVSForum:

:So I'm at the Sony booth at CES today and I walk up to the rep standing in front of the new 70"LCD XBR.
"Have you fixed the mura production problems with your LCD fab in Mexico that affected the XBR 2 and 3 since August?"

Reply - "We are not aware of any issues. You can go over to the tvs on that wall playing Spiderman - they have a lot of black and you can see if you notice any lighting issues."

Interesting. So I walk over and a guy is asking the Sony rep about the clouding issues. He says the TV is beautiful but that in his research this is a big asterisk on the TV.

The reply - "I've heard about this. It's a bunch of internet crackpot bloggers. There are no problems with the TV."

I step into the conversation and explain that several hundred people on the AVS Forum have reported the problems. He basically says if it is a real problem then people can get it fixed as a warranty repair."

Further Understanding Mura

from the AVSForum has sent me two links to interesting Mura effect posts/articles.

Article 1

Article 2 (PDF file)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What Is Mura??

Excerpts From This Article

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"Mura Effect type 1 corresponds to a lack of homogeneity in control circuit adjustments. From one cell to another color control can change and it will lead to permanent defects in intensity in displayed images.

Mura Effect type 2, or Cell Gap Mura comes in two forms. If liquid crystal cell sizes are superior to the normal size in an area of the panel, the images produced in this area will be brighter. This is a White Mura. In the opposite way, if the cell size is too small, it will be darker. This is a Black Mura. Cell distortions sometimes come from a « normal » defect in manufacturing, but most of the times are due to an impurity in the panel such as dust, a drop of some chemical or an accidental ionisation of liquid crystals, which then misalign. For the first two cases, it is possible to move the defect by gently pressing the panel with your fingers to move the Mura to the side from a useful area in the screen. In the case of ionisation, the defect can fade or even disappear with time. For us it was the opposite with the appearance of a Mura on two monitors after a few years of use (three and five years, respectively). It looks as if you were pushing on the screen with your fingers except now it´s permanent.

Mura Effect type 3 is related to distance or defects between the panel and liquid crystals. This occurs when the panel is sealed and side pressure is imperfect. If it´s too strong, cells are crushed and there is a bright halo in a corner along the panel."

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(Images taken from here)

Price-slashing could be a culprit in the Mura effect. Is Sony is cutting costs on the quality of the parts, on their flagship top-of-the-line LCD tv no less? It is outright unacceptable.

Previous Digg Submission

We have submitted a new Digg article request, but in the meantime you can check out an older submission brought to my attention by AVSForum member Luna5.

What An LCD Screen SHOULD Look Like

AVSForum user Irunnoft has sent in photos of his cloudless September-manufactured KDL-40XBR2 set. Here is a prime example of what the Sony LCD displays SHOULD look like. He's taken full screen shots from movies and video game systems (like the PS3), as well as of the screen corners.

Links to the Flickr Gallery

Below are some good sample pictures from the above link of the crisp blanks in the XBR line. Note the absence of clouding in this set.

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Low backlight
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High backlight
Poster califfo1975 on the AVSForum states:

"I have called Sony France and I have been told that they are aware of this issue but that they consider that it is acceptable since within the tolerances....stronzate (as we say in Italian for bulls...).
I told the Sony woman that this was not satisfactory for me even if they consider 'normal', overall for a 3500 euros TV. I have decided to launch a disclaiming campaign against SONY: I have started today by sending an article to a LCD magazine here in France. I do not like their false superiority and sufficiency to the customers like us, and I believe that other people, not looking at internet forums, shall be made aware of this issue in order not to buy this TV and to be in the same disagreeable situation as us.

Swizzir, an AVSForum member has collected a number of pictures taken by Bravia owners.

Here is a link to a Flickr Slideshow.

As you can see the effect ranges from barely visible to extreme in some cases. It is important to note on some of the less-noticeable occurrences that an almost uniformly black screen is visible. This is what all Bravias should look like.
A user on the AVSForum has a post detailing the recommended settings of a fellow forum user, and settings from Sony to decrease the mura effect.

"I played the HD-DVD Batman Begins (you know, the other DC Comic Hero besides Superman!) and paused the film in two spots. One spot is a dark scene in the movie (indoors, minimal lighting) and the other scene contains lots of light (outdoors and snow). I have paused the film in two locations and used the following settings:

Vivid (default factory settings)
Standard (default factory settings - BTW - this is the setting I use w/ some tweakage, but for the purpose of this photo shoot, I put Standard settings back to default)
Custom (this is where I dialed in your settings. I used minimal backlight, picture set to 90, light sensor ON and power saver HIGH)

Granted, the photography isn't the best in the world, but the camera setting was the same for all three test groups and the pictures speak for themselves.

Here they are in the following order: Vivid, Standard, Andrew's Settings (Custom)"

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Sony's Official Statement

"Sony's Bravia LCD line of televisions are among the brightest and most color rich televisions in the world. To achieve this level of performance Sony utilizes a brighter backlight output and setting. With this exceptional brightness, under certain dark viewing conditions, especially blank screens with no video source, the backlight may exhibit a slight unevenness of uniformity. This condition is not usually visible under typical conditions such as watching movies or general television programming and should not affect your viewing experience."
Summary Of Problem

This blog has been created as a means to track credible information on the defects that have been reported in Sony LCD televisions.
The opening scene of a Star Wars movie clearly shows how noticeable the clouding is.
Sony Response

Sony's official comment to it's owners that are experiencing clouding on their new XBRs* has amounted to one of the following:

a) If you can still return the TV, do so. (This is what I was told when I first called about my cloudy 40XBR2)

b) It is normal. The clouding is "normal" and "acceptable." It is neither of these two things. It is clearly a defect.

Several have speculated that the problem could be due to stress on the structural frame of the TV that is causing the panel to warp. Others have attributed the clouding/mura defect to the lack of quality control in the Mexican plant where these TVs are made. TVs that were manufactured before the move to the Mexican plant appear to be devoid of defects. One thing is for sure, there are many irate owners who demand Sony both acknowledge and fix the problem!

Here is a link to the AVSForum thread that was created 11/10/06 for discussion on the issue.

Official Sony 46" XBR LCD Uneven Backlight/Cloudy Thread

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*The Sony XBR 40/46 inch and KDL-4xV2500 models have been reported to have clouding and mura defects from the screen backlight.