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Portables (Games)

Sony Recants on Dead Pixels (Sort Of) 490

Ayaress writes "As reported on Gamestop, Sony will now warranty PSP units suffering from dead pixels. Sony still insists that dead pixels are a common problem in all LCD displays, saying "A very small number of dark pixels or continuously lit pixels is normal for LCD screens, and is not a sign of a malfunction," and asks that PSP owners use theirs for at least a week or two, to see if it still bothers them. User who encounter, "persistent and aggravating dead pixels," are instructed to contact Sony customer support, and will be allowed to mail in their PSP to recieve a unit with a new screen."
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Sony Recants on Dead Pixels (Sort Of)

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  • New screen (Score:5, Informative)

    by nearlygod ( 641860 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @11:51AM (#12088903) Homepage
    I unit with a new screen does not neccesarily mean a new unit.
    • [A} unit with a new screen does not neccesarily mean a new unit.

      It probably doesn't mean a very old unit either, however, since PSP hasn't been around that long and it is unlikely they can send you a banged-up unit in replacement.

  • not malfunction? (Score:5, Informative)

    by seanadams.com ( 463190 ) * on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @11:52AM (#12088909) Homepage
    I love it. How are "not functioning pixels" "not a sign of malfunction [reference.com]"?

    I've bought well over a dozen LCD montitors from Apple, Dell, and Philips in recent months and I have not seen a single dead pixel on any of them.

    This is just a case of Sony reducing cost by widening manufacturing tolerances. It's fine as long as you manage expectations properly.
    • Maybe they mean most Sony LCD have these problems?
    • you probably just never noticed a dead pixel on such a large monitor. Dead pixels ARE common with LCD screens. As manufacturing techniques improve, the frequency of dead pixels decreases, but doesnt disappear completely.
      • While dead pixels are common to LCD screens, Sony ought to have a policy of not more than X on the screen, and no more than 1 in the central area of the screen within the first year of ownership. Also, I'd like to see some reliable statistics on how widespread the problem is (with an emphasis on comparisons to similar products - GBA, camrea phones, etc.) If there was a substantial issue, I probably wouldn't buy a PSP without first verifying the screen.
      • My laptop's LCDs do not have any stuck "on" pixels, nor any dead pixels.

        Don't say I simply haven't noticed any, because I can easily tell with standard low res (100dpi) desktop displays.
      • Re:not malfunction? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Phisbut ( 761268 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:30PM (#12089372)
        you probably just never noticed a dead pixel on such a large monitor. Dead pixels ARE common with LCD screens.

        They used to be common for all LCD screen, but today, quality LCD screens have none of them. Where I work, everybody has a 17 inch LCD and nobody has a dead pixel. And it's not because we don't notice it, we test them all, first with a white screen (to see dark pixels), then with a black screen (to see bright pixels).

        People shoud stop saying dead pixels are common to all LCD's, that is soooo 1999...

    • Re:not malfunction? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by b1t r0t ( 216468 )
      I have one dead pixel on my 17" Powerbook. The blue is stuck on. I don't normally notice it because usually something white or bluish is over it, but I can notice it when the screen is black. Sometimes it fails white, but if I rub at it with a fingernail, it goes back to blue.
    • But have you bought cheap-o LCDs? I was considering getting a Spectre 19" LCD, but newegg [newegg.com] says they'll only allow a refund for >6 dead pixels. I took that to mean, "the majority of our LCDs contain no more than 6 dead pixels", and that to mean "all of our monitors have exactly 6 dead pixels".

      For those who DO have an LCD with a few dead pixels, how annoying are they?
      • My girlfriend's 17" Sony LCD monitor has a single dead pixel, and it's really frikkin' annoying. It's near the middle of the screen, and is always full red. It makes me really nervous about getting an LCD monitor of my own, because such a flaw would drive me mad very quickly.

        It's too bad there's no simple way to manually break a few pixels (in a way that doesn't make it look like they were broken on purpose) in order to get the dead-pixel count above the threshold required for a warranty repair/replacem

      • Re:not malfunction? (Score:3, Informative)

        by badasscat ( 563442 )
        For those who DO have an LCD with a few dead pixels, how annoying are they?

        I personally own 4 LCD's with no dead pixels at all, but my wife was using her office laptop at home one day and while we had it I took the liberty of installing some security updates and anti-virus software on it (I could not in good conscience let a Windows PC leave the house without even having Service Pack 1 installed), and it had one stuck blue pixel right at the top of the screen, about 1/4" from the bezel.

        I would not have b
    • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) * on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:04PM (#12089086)
      You're lucky.

      I've bought 4 LCD panels in the last two months. Two from Dell, One from Hyundai, and one from Acer, and all of them have had either dead, or stuck pixels. Each time the manufacturer (reluctantly) replaced the display, but they were there. My wife couldn't see them at all until I shoed her through a jewelers loupe... Of course once you know where they are, they seem to stand out.

      Dell doesn't have a "no dead pixels" policy, but if you mention that you're going to return the monitor to their "LCD support center" (I.E. Some cheap warm bodies on the other end of a long phone line to india) they'll replace your display... Just don't be surprised if the one you get is worse. They consider up to 5 dead or stuck pixels "acceptable".

      On high resolution displays, stuck sub-pixels are really small. They're hard to see. If you have bought 12 displays and haven't noticed a stuck pixel, chances are you haven't looked hard enough. You almost certainly have at least one. (Or you're incredibly lucky.)

      Check out some dead pixel test patterns [gdargaud.net] and see if you missed something. You have to use all of the patterns. They may all look grey when you load them up, but they really are made up of different colors and will test every sub-pixel on your display.
    • Can you imagine if your DRAM had a few bad memory addresses? I am purchasing over 20 256MB DDR chips for my work and expect all 2,147,483,468 bits to work properly.
    • I've bought well over a dozen LCD montitors from Apple, Dell, and Philips in recent months and I have not seen a single dead pixel on any of them.

      I've got an iBook G4. It's got several dead pixels. Except they're almost impossible to spot - there's an always-off red pixel a little below the middle-right of the menu bar, for instance, which I've just spent the last minute finding again. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of apparently-dead-pixel-free screens were like this.

      Dust on the screen is a bigger pro
    • I love it. How are "not functioning pixels" "not a sign of malfunction"?

      To be a little nit-picky, a dead pixel is better considered a "defect" and not a "malfunction". Of course, Sony's not really admitting that either. Think of it this way: I bought a bike on Craig's List recently that was an extra good deal because it was missing a little flange that buttresses the rear drop-outs on one side. Now, that's a defect. It affects the bike cosmetically, and has the tiniest possibility of causing problem

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @11:52AM (#12088915)
    All of the dollars I spend on my new monitor work just fine, thank you. So guess what... all of the pixels on that monitor had better work just fine, too.

    If a manufacturer doesn't consider "a few dead pixels" to be a warrantable issue, then I'm going to make damned sure that the monitor they get back does have a warrantable issue. Applying 120VAC to the 14VDC power jack for a few seconds should do the trick.
    • And since when is something you broke yourself on purpose warrantable?
    • Hear hear.

      If the technology's not ready for the marketplace don't market it.

      I too am not going to buy a flat panel display until it's guranteed not to have a dead pixel. I wouldn't pay hard earned money for a CRT display that might have a small crack in it or a RAM module that may have a few dead chips on it would I ?

      Mind you this should hopefully be the case by the time my lovely Iiyama 19" dies (my last 17" lasted 7 years until I dropped the fecker... bugger...)
  • by PxM ( 855264 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @11:53AM (#12088916)
    Why does Sony seem to have a higher level of complaints than all the other LCD makers? Was it a rushed process resulting in dropped quality or do they have the same quality as others and the media is just picking up on their problems?
    BTW, requisite PA comic [penny-arcade.com] on the topic
    Want a free iPod? [freeipods.com]
    Or try a free Nintendo DS, GC, PS2, Xbox. [freegamingsystems.com] (you only need 4 referrals)
    Wired article as proof [wired.com]
    • This is Sony we are talking about here. They are not known for quality video game hardware (ala Nintendo). Look back at the original PlayStation and the PS2 - Lots of dead motors in those. Why their other lines of electronic products such as the Walkman and their CD Players don't have as many burnt out motors, we may never know. But, I have, sitting no less than 3 feet from me, 3 Sony PlayStations with dead motors.

      Sony's video game hardware is not known for quality. Now, if they had the same quality of man

  • Yes, it bothers me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by daveewart ( 66895 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @11:53AM (#12088929)
    "Yes, it bothers me. Replace it."

    How can they say it isn't a defect? Of course it's a defect.
    • How can they say it isn't a defect?

      You obviously haven't upgraded to the New Speak 9 Directory. You just have to say it loud enough and long enough and enough people will believe it to save Sony a great deal of money. Then they can replace the units for the few remaining protesters that won't go along with the deception.

      Just look how other words (which I won't mention for fear of being labeled flamebait for telling the truth) are being relabeled, sometimes after hundreds of years of known common usage

    • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) * on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:44PM (#12089536)
      "How can they say it isn't a defect? Of course it's a defect."

      Because it has the "Sony" logo glued on it. It's the same kind of corporate hubris that gave us disk read errors on the PS2 and cracked lenses on the PSX. They're able to push it through by having the device seen as a cultural icon, one that must be bought despite of its manufacturing flaws.

      It may catch up to Sony and bite them in the ass at some point, but that doesn't look like it will be today. It might hurt Sony for the launch of the PS3, which will be happening when this whole disk-ejecting, button-sticking, pixel-killing debacle will still be fresh in peoples' minds. Ultimately, of course, I wouldn't bet on it.

      So long as they take the attitude of "We're Sony, you'll like what we give you" (the attitude that gave us Betamax, Minidiscs and now Memory Sticks), you're going to continue seeing "logic" like the "It's not a defect!" statement to continue to pour out of them.
  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @11:53AM (#12088932)
    While commonly referred to as a "defect," Sony says the off-colored pixel problem is common in all LCD screens. "A very small number of dark pixels or continuously lit pixels is normal for LCD screens, and is not a sign of a malfunction," a representative for Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) told GameSpot.

    How many pixels are we talking? I have no problem with one or two dead pixels (depending on the screen size). I would think that for the size/resolution of the PSP that 1 or 2 would only be noticable and that would depend on what color they are permanently (white would likely be annoying on dark games).

    I received 0 dead pixels for the first time in my life when I purchased a 17" LCD panel (I forgot which company as it's not in front of me at the moment). The second time I received 0 dead pixels was on my work computer's Dell 23" LCD. I would think that in this day and age, at that screen size, if I would end up w/0 dead pixels a PSP could too.
  • laptop screen (Score:5, Informative)

    by phorm ( 591458 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @11:53AM (#12088935) Journal
    My laptop screen is 1440x900px. Of those pixels (1296000) in all, they're all healthy.

    Similarly, even the cheaper laptops we get in tend to have fully functional screens to start with.

    Sorry guys, but dead pixels are not as common as you might want us to believe. Maybe in a poorly designed portable wherein the manufacturer doesn't care so much about quality, yes... but lately other devices seem to have less pixel-problems.
  • Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @11:54AM (#12088937)
    They're just going to reship the units sent back to them without servicing them, so somebody else will get your dead pixels.

    • Re:Of course (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ubergrendle ( 531719 )
      This shouldn't be modded as +5 Funny, it should be modded as +5 Insightful.

      They might not ship it as a new unit, but they will keep it onhand in their warranty bin...if someone's unit breaks for OTHER reasons and they're entitled for a replacement, guess what? "Refurbished" is an evil word in many circumstances.
  • It is a common issue (Score:4, Informative)

    by Catskul ( 323619 ) * on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @11:54AM (#12088939) Homepage
    Its not as if they are making it up. Virtually all lcd manufactures accept screens with a "few" bad pixels. Look it up [wikipedia.org]
    • by Cecil ( 37810 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:29PM (#12089359) Homepage
      I know it is a common issue in manufacturing. That doesn't mean it should be a common issue in the marketplace.

      My AST laptop 10 years ago had zero dead pixels. My IBM laptop after that had no dead pixels either. My Toshiba after that had no dead pixels. And my current Powerbook has no dead pixels. I'll note that cellphone for example has no dead pixels either, nor my Gameboy. Particularly noteworthy, I have not heard the same complaints about Gameboys having dead pixels that people are making about the PSP.

      So why do modern LCDs suddenly have this problem, anyway? They always did. The difference is that while they used to throw them away and only sell the good ones, now they are simply saying "Well, we've always had this problem in manufacturing, and we've decided that since we can't fix it, we're just gonna start selling these broken screens and hope you have bad eyesight and don't notice. That way we can skimp on our QA budget and reduce our manufacturing expenses. If you do notice, we'll just throw up our hands in frustration and insist that that's just the way it is."

      I did have a Samsung desktop LCD with a dead pixel which they wouldn't replace. It irritated me so much that I gave it to a friend and just pretend that I had accientally flushed the $500 down the toilet or something.
      • The relaxed standards in passing units with dead pixels is a not-insignificant reason for the price drop in LCDs. The cost of an LCD would still probably be 2-3x what it is today, otherwise.
    • by WebCowboy ( 196209 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @01:30PM (#12090141)
      Virtually all lcd manufactures accept screens with a "few" bad pixels

      Yeah, but you see there is a little problem with Sony's excuse. It might be somewhat common for a notebook or desktop LCD to have 1 to 10 defective pixels (I've never seen more than a couple though), but keep in mind we are talking about 12" to 19" screens with 800,000 to well over a million quite small pixels. A Sony PSP has less than 135,000 pixels--and even accounting for the screen being smaller, the dot pitch is still larger for the PSP than for a notebook or desktop display.

      Since the pixels (and thus the transistors) are larger and there are fewer of them, I'd expect the Cadillac of portable game devices to be equipped with a flawless display, not to have a similar defect rate to displays that are much more complex.

      Remeber that early PSP units in Japan had this and more problems (too many defects with controller buttons and motors). It seems to be indicative of overall quality problems Sony is having with most of its consumer electronics in the past few years--something consumers won't tolerate if their products remain high priced. Maybe the recent overhaul in executive/management at Sony will remedy the problem, but it'll take some time (hopefully for them they'll get the PS3 right--it seems with each successive game platform they release the initial quality gets worse).
  • Sony still insists that dead pixels are a common problem in all LCD displays

    Dead pixels ARE a common problem in all LCD displays. Why is this written like Sony is the only company saying this?

    • My personal experience would beg to differ.

      I've got 2 17" samsung 173T monitors, and a 15" thinkpad. Not one single dead pixel on any of them. For that matter, neither of the cell phones in my house have dead pixels on their screens either.

      Now, I do realize and understand why manufacturers have defined tolerances for acceptability. Most tend to concider 2-3 dead pixels on a large monitor to be acceptable. This I can accept as it is indeed quite expensive to scrap any displays that come out of production w
    • Re:They're right! (Score:5, Informative)

      by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@w o r f . n et> on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:13PM (#12089192)
      Dead pixels ARE a common problem in all LCD displays. Why is this written like Sony is the only company saying this?

      Not really.

      Firstly, the common ISO thresholds for dead pixels typically range about 1 to 3 full pixels, and up to 7 subpixels on a typical 17" (1280x1024) display (note: cheaper brands may go with lesser quality panels - BenQ, will allow up to 7 full pixels and 17 subpixels(!) before considering replacement). Going for the worst (3 dead pixels == 9 dead subpixels) - there are 1280x1024x3 subpixels on a 17" panel or 3,932,160. If 9 of them are bad before returns, that's ~0.0000023 dead subpixels, or one dead subpixel for every 436,906 subpixels.

      The PSP has a nice 480x270 LCD, or 388,800 subpixels. There should be no dead pixels at all on a screen this small!

      In a more anecdotal sense, I remember when color TFTs came out and it was really difficult to get 640x480 screens with zero dead pixels (this was over a decade ago). Fast forward a few years, and the incidence of dead pixels dropped quite significantly, and these days, getting a monitor with dead pixels and laptops with dead pixels tend to be a rarity. It does happen, but rarely (unless you just happen to be really unlucky).

      I'm pretty sure people don't complain of dead pixels on PDA screens (QVGA and higher, including oddball 320x320 and Half VGA, to full VGA) - and the incidence of dead pixels on these screens is extremely low.

      On screens that are VGA or lower resolution, dead pixels are such a rarity that honestly, it shouldn't be tolerated.
  • Hopefully one without more "functioning" dead pixels.
  • I can't help but say that the confusion and conflicting messages of the last week has made Sony look rather unprofessional. They knew they were shipping a handheld that used an LCD screen. Everyone knows LCD screens have these issues. They should have figured out their policy BEFORE they launched, not bumble around for a week and then come to the plate.
  • Well of course it's normal. LCD manufacturers typically write off a large portion of what they make because of minor defects, right? So what ... now Sony has decided to accept lower quality parts?

    That's a good thing overall I would think.... less waste=lower cost... but they should give the consumer the option of what they want, maybe with a minor price reduction for the more defective version.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    To stop those pixels 1-2-3,
    Here's a fresh new way that's trouble-free,
    It's got Paul Anka's guarantee...
    Guarantee void in Tennessee.

    Just don't look! Just don't look!
    Just don't look! Just don't look!
    Just don't look! Just don't look!
  • Can someone please explain to me how having an LCD with dead pixels (even one) is considered "normal"?

    I'm sure there is an obvious reason, but unfortunately the only way I see it is that I've paid good money for a good display and if one pixel has failed within the warrenty period then I consider it to be malfunctioning and therefore not doing what it was originally intended for.

    So is this a classic case of manufacturers trying to get us to accept mediocrity?

    • Sort of, but it is a balancing act. Producing an LCD screen and then throwing it out because of 1 dead pixel out of 1310720 is certainly wasteful and drives cost up. If there is an acceptable balance as to what consumers will accept as functional for their money, then it makes sense to do so. Most monitor manufacturers specify that 2-3 dead pixels is acceptable. I've also never heard of a manufacturer that flat out refused replacement when pushed on this anyways.

      Now, if dead pixels aren't acceptable for yo
    • A single dark (on) pixel will probably never be noticed. A single colored pixel (half-on) will not be noticeable depending on position and color and screen colors. A single white pixel (off) is very noticeable and will be seen on most any screen.

      The problems is that the lcd production is prone to producing screens with a fixed pixel. The take a sheet of glass, line it with velvet, lay the pixel on the velvet, and then afix a matrix to the pixels. Think how likely in this process that out of millions of
    • Manufacturing things like integrated circuits and LCD screens face a very predictable statistical distribution of defects due to the nature of the manufacturing process. There is a definite probablilty that a defect will occur on a device of a given size. This scales directly with the device area.

      Lets say it costs $10 to make a screen. Lets say there is a 1% probability of making a screen with 0 defects and a 50% probability of making a screen with 10 defects.

      The average cost of perfect screens is $1000.
    • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:16PM (#12089226)
      Can someone please explain to me how having an LCD with dead pixels (even one) is considered "normal"?

      Because the manufacturing of LCD displays produces a lot of devices with dead pixels. It is normal. The only thing that alters that is whether or not the company distributing the end product is willing to charge enough for that product (and whether the consumers are willing to pay enough) to cover their having to throw out any sub-perfect displays.

      I've paid good money for a good display

      Actually, you've paid the price the manufacturer and their dealers have asked, for what it is they say they're selling. If they say they're selling a unit with an LCD display that may have a dead pixel or two, then that's what your money buys. If they say they're selling you a unit with a flawless display (something Sony is expressly saying that they are not providing at that price), then that's another matter.

      So is this a classic case of manufacturers trying to get us to accept mediocrity

      But we accept mediocrity all the time. That's the only thing that makes life affordable. If everything we made and purchased was "the best," then that would be the new average, or middle-ground (or mediocrity), and we'd just complain because, gee, at that price, shouldn't it be gold-plated and read my mind, too? This isn't about excellence, it's about price. No doubt Sony weighed very carefully the price they expected to get, the distribution costs, the manufacturing costs, and came to this decision. It was probably tone-deaf from a marketing/PR point of view, but it was no doubt a very deliberate decision made to keep the retail price down a notch or two.

      Why does everyone even care about this? Because they want the product, and consider it to be within reach, money-wise. If the thing cost $1000, no one would be talking about it. If the thing cost $49, we'd all shrug at dead pixel or two. It's finding that sweet spot, for Sony and for us, that's hard - and Sony probably gambled a little unwisely with this, and didn't have the PR engine in place as well as they should have. They're not idiots, and it's not like they don't want you for a customer. And if you're absolutely sure that this is an evil plot by a mediocrity-driven company, then surely you don't want their entertainment product anyway, right? I'm being rhetorical, but you get my drift. It's price point, price point, price point.
      • If they say they're selling a unit with an LCD display that may have a dead pixel or two, then that's what your money buys.

        Big if, I've never seen an LCD product say that there may be defective pixels.
        Unless they put this type of condition on the box, on the outside where I can see it, they are not telling me.

        It is a fair assumption when you buy a brand new LCD display with ??x?? pixels, that they are going to be function, not just sit there.
    • It is defective, return it.

      If enough people accept defective products it becomes normal. Look at MS Office, nice bloated and horribly unstable, but this type of behaviour is almost expected today.
  • by Kirby-meister ( 574952 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @11:56AM (#12088986)
    I guess Nintendo's stance on the dead-pixel, offering to replace any DS that has a dead-pixel, forced them into this...otherwise it would've been a blackeye for them. Competition is already making the handheld war good for the consumer. It should make this a good handheld war, much like the golden days of SNES vs Genesis...
  • by sp5 ( 867987 )
    I wonder if it would be covered under the extended warranty that every high tech store seems to be pushing these days at the time of sale. I normally don't go for these warranties -- they are a waste of money IMHO -- but it might make sense for the PSP.


    • Aren't those things supposed to be for covering you after the manufacturer's warranty expires?

      If so, how are they relevant to this? Since you'll know as soon as you boot up your PSP for the first time if the LCD is borked or not.

  • My 19" LCD screen has 1280x1024 pixels, and none of the 1.3 million are dead. What gives?
  • meh.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Viceice ( 462967 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @11:58AM (#12089011)
    Personally, I find that regardless of how much the industry tries to insist that dead pixels are normal, consumers tend to have zero tolorance for them.

    Having worked retail before, my experence is that if you even try to hint that it's not a defect, they'll throw a fit and think you're out to cheat them.

    And who can blame em? Anything with a colour LCD on it comes at a price premium and nobody in their right mind would want to pay a premium for something that in their mind is defective.

    The iritation from that one tiny discoloured dot alone is enough to wipe out any satisfaction to be had from owning that product.
  • This is coming from the same company that told users that a faulty button was intentional and that they should deal with it.

    Of course, they later recanted that atrocious statement assuring design changes, so I'd expect tehm to stop saying stupid things like this at some point in the future. That is, until the next broken thing about their new portable is found, in which case, there will be no problem with that, either (you fools).

    Come to think of it, is their PR person that Iraqi Information Ministe
  • It was meant to read that "Sony still insists that dead pixels are a common problem in all broken LCD displays."

  • wow.. (Score:2, Redundant)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 )
    Thankfully my new 24" 1920x1200 panel arrived with no dead pixels.

    If Samsung/Dell can get it right, why can't Sony with a much smaller/lower res screen?
  • by tritone ( 189506 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:02PM (#12089061) Homepage
    Maybe: "Life is Random."

    Nope. Apple already has used that.

    What about: "Sony Introduces PIX, the Personal Identification indeX. In case your PSP is lost or stolen, it can be easily be identified by checking the pattern of unactivated pixels!"

    Yeah. That'll do.
  • Too many defects (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gribflex ( 177733 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:04PM (#12089080) Homepage
    My wife - she works at Futureshop (the Canadian arm of Best Buy) - came home last night to tell me of her hatred for the PSP.

    On the opening day, about 17% of the PSPs sold were returned due to defect of some kind. Many of them didn't even turn on.

    Yesterday, she had person after person coming into the store complaining about dead pixels. With one guy, she went through an entire crate of PSPs to try and find one that didn't have a dead pixel. No luck. He ended up settling for a PSP that had only one dead pixel - rather than the average 3. One of them had an entire vertical column gone.

    From what I'm hearing from my wife, it would be much, much better to wait until revision B before thinking about purchasing a PSP. The ones on the shelves today have far too many defects.
    • by beldraen ( 94534 ) <chad.montplaisir ... m ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:55PM (#12089682)
      I used to believe in Sony. I actually didn't buy their products much because they were so much more expensive; however, if you wanted something that would last for 10 years, Sony was often the way to go, especially in audio/video equipment.

      Something sorta' happened with their computers. I think they realized that marketing won over with their computers because they became more haphazard. While the equipment was generally pretty good, it was utterly proprietary and had a simple support policy--"Oh, you want to upgrade your equipment to do new things? Sure! Here's a new computer you can buy!" I bought a Sony Clie NX80; although, I knew their generally policy. I figured at least some of their software, if it had bugs, would be fixed. The most annoying thing is that the thing is designed to be upgraded, thanks to flash memory, but they wouldn't even fix the web browser that has some severe flaws. The Clie has a CF slot which can take bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc, but Sony refuses to do anything for it (and this was long before they discontinued the line). In fact, the movie transfer program was so buggy you generally had to convert the movie to a format that the program would be willing to tolerate before you can convert it. And, half the time the converter would just drop sound at some point. When I heard that the PSP was going to use the Clie format for video, I knew people were going to be in trouble. Sure enough, complaints abound.

      I used to play Star Wars: Galaxies. If you know anything about that fiasco of a game, they give a whole new definition to "quality control." Just read the forums and you'll see their attitude is "we'll fix it if we feel like its something bother to fix." Half the time the "fix" introduces ten more bugs than what was fixed. And, I am not talking about minor graphic bugs. I'm talking about whole broken professions, personal buildings (with stuff inside) going poof, creatures you are attacking disappearing, and the mobs stop dropping any loot. The very basics of the game mechanics are not reliable and their policies have encouraged griefing and malicious play.

      Few months back Sony got rated as the worst of the big name companies for support, and it appears they are quickly added quality to that list. I, for one, refuse to buy Sony. Before, I could at least count on that it worked, so I didn't really need support. Now that the products do not work..
  • Because they have spare units to replace the ones with dead pixels.
  • by John Seminal ( 698722 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:04PM (#12089090) Journal
    I purchased a Sony Vaio GRX-520 for over $2,000 when other laptops were selling for half that price. I picked Sony because I expected the best quality moeny could buy. But then I got 2 pixels that are always red. I tried to return the unit to Sony to get it fixed, but they would not help.

    It is frustrating, to spend twice as much as other options, to get something that turned out to be lower quality. And what really burned me was their non-existent customer service. It took forever to get a human on the phone, only to be told they could not do anything.

    • by merlin_jim ( 302773 ) <James.McCracken@ ... .com minus punct> on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:10PM (#12089150)
      And what really burned me was their non-existent customer service.

      A close family member used to work at their american tech support center. Turnover was high. Expectations were high. Typical "get the customer off the phone" policies. He was there for about 9 months IIRC, and at that point was the senior member of his team.

      IMHO, (and this is an informed second-hand opinion) Sony really needs to stop treating customer service as a cost center, and give it the same branding treatment they give all their other products BEFORE sale.

      Or to rephrase: branding doesn't stop just because the consumer has bought your device.

      It continually amazes me that a company that is SO great at branding (see: playstation, XPlode, SonyStyle, Walkman, VAIO) drops the ball at such a crucial part of the branding experience.
    • I gave up on Sony a long time ago. I've had far too many high end Sony items go bad, usually weeks after the warranty expires.

      We used to have a Sony LaserDisk player, where the drive motor went bad 4 times under warranty. When it failed the 5th time, the whole unit was chucked.

      We also had an expensive Sony receiver for our home theater. It would not turn on, unless you picked it up about half an inch and dropped it first. Also, if you tried using the remote to turn the volume up, about half the time i
  • by Swamii ( 594522 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:05PM (#12089092) Homepage
    I see dead pixels.
  • "Dead pixels are part of the experience we wanted to deliver with the PSP. You don't criticize an architect if some windows are broken. The PSP is a beautiful machine, and you fail to understand its screen fully".

    Bottom line: dead pixels are a feature, not a bug.

    Since the power shifted at Sony, and Kutaragi isn't the CEO, I guess the high honchos told him to STFU and replace the defective units.
  • If they mean "persistent and aggravating", shouldn't it be more like "cancerous" pixels?
  • Are there any studies which show the impact to the environment from throwing away thousands of nearly brand-new, 99.99% good LCD screen?

    I think dead pixels are annoying, but I'd have to think twice about what the demand of perfection does to the environment.
  • I hope you get better luck out of sony for you p2p that I did out of them for my th-55 clie. It stopped working. I sent it in for repairs. They fucked it up there and blamed it on me even. Now I have a pda worth shit. Buy sony shit only at your own risk

  • "A very small number of dark pixels or continuously lit pixels is normal for LCD screens, and is not a sign of a malfunction,"

    "Normal" does not imply "acceptable".

    Today's "value engineering" paradigm means that out of every batch of manufactured products some number will be duds. True, we all benefit from the low cost of this approach, but it is unfair to ask a few unlucky consumers to get stuck with the bad ones. Everyone (including the company and other purchasers of the product) should share in the

  • Typical Sony? (Score:5, Informative)

    by blueZhift ( 652272 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:22PM (#12089286) Homepage Journal
    This sounds like typical Sony behavior. Wasn't there a problem with the first batch of Playstations overheating that Sony tried to ignore and finally, probably at the nudging of large U.S. retailers, began to address? I'm guessing that retailers like Best Buy and WalMart have enough clout to force Sony to change their position. Afterall, consumers are going to return what they think is defective merchandise regardless of what the manufacturer says. That means angry people at the returns section of Best Buy or WalMart, which means unhappy managers and execs. Since WalMart basically runs the world now, when they complain to Sony, Sony listens.

    In Sony's defense though, they usually clear up problems with new products without a year or so of introduction. That's one reason I'm in no hurry to buy a PSP right now.
  • I bought my PSP at Target, because I knew they would take it back for pretty much any reason (flying UMD disks, stuck button, dead pixels...you guys know all the rumors as well as I).

    Everything was actually great with the PSP, except the screen. 10 dead pixels on my first. I played for a bit, and didn't really notice them too much, but decided, "Hey, I did pay $250, let's get something that I feel is up to par..."

    I headed back and got another unit at Target, this time with 9 dead pixels. Didn't know wh
  • by TheMCP ( 121589 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:24PM (#12089308) Homepage
    Check your state's consumer protection laws. In Massachusetts, a store is required by law to give the consumer's choice of repair, replacement, or refund if an item is defective upon purchase... and I think bad pixels could reasonably be called "defective".

    So, if you bought a PSP in Massachusetts (or a state with similar laws) and it has bad pixels, take it back. They have to deal with it for you.
  • I can't stand dead pixels, and I really can't stand manufacturers saying it's normal. It's like if I went to buy a car, and the car already had a scratch on the fender before I even got it. The dealer saying "Oh, there's a lot of paint, it won't affect the operation of the car. Cars get scratched a lot. You'll take this car with the scratch and like it."
  • Yeah, like you'd accept a new car with scratches in the paintwork.

    If it's got dead pixels, i'd be returning it for replacement/refund.
  • by garyebickford ( 222422 ) <gar37bic@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:31PM (#12089381)
    Back in the day, most vendors would not replace an LCD with a few dead pixels unless they were somewhere intrusive, like the middle of the screen. It was then very hard to make an LCD with all 100 jillion little elements working perfectly, and back then they were a lot more expensive for system vendors to buy. (As recently as 2000 over 1/2 the cost of a laptop was the LCD.) I don't know the actual numbers but I expect that allowing, say, three dead pixels in nonintrusive areas even today may double or triple the production yield.

    Non-demanding users (IOW, not hackers, graphic designers, ...) with high resolution LCDs may never notice as they are just pulling menus and writing documents. How long have you worked with a piece of dust or a smudge on the screen before you: a) noticed; b) findlly got irritated enough to do something about it? In my experience many users either never notice dirt or dead pixels, or just put it out of their mind. Therefore I assert that vendors can "get away" with allowing a few dead pixels - most users won't do anything about it, and those picky ones can return for a different one, and costs are kept lower.

    A few years back when I could afford such things (and LCDs were no doubt less reliable), I bought an Apple Powerbook. It had (IIRC) three dead pixels in the 800x600 monochrome LCD. When I talked to the Mac shop where I bought it, they checked with Apple. Apple's policy at that time was that fewer than (again, IIRC) five pixels did not constitute failure, because LCDs almost always had a few dead ones. As it happens, shortly thereafter and still within warranty, the wiring between the top and the base got flaky, and they had to send the laptop back to Apple to fix it. (No, I didn't arrange this, it just happened!) Their fix involved a new top, which had a new LCD. It only had 2 bad pixels, and they were in out of the way places.
  • by AnyNoMouse ( 715074 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:39PM (#12089460)
    If you've got a bright pixel (stuck on), then it's definately a LCD defect. Dark pixels on the PSP aren't necessarily LCD problems, though. If you tilt the unit side-to-side you might notice that the "dark pixel" moves across the front of the screen slightly. Apparently, there are defects in the clear plastic in front of the screen that makes some of the pixels appear dead. Add in the gratuitous amount of dust under the screen and it can really look like the LCD's are crap.

    I unscrewed the front of the case from mine and blew some air under the cover (didn't take it completely off as that voids the warranty). Some of the sub-pixels I thought were dead turned out to be just dust. The other spots appeared to be in the clear window of the case itself.

    I'm not saying this is the case for everyone, but it seems to be the problem with mine.

  • Un-stick my pixel (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AvantLegion ( 595806 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @01:46PM (#12090331) Journal
    On each of my last few laptops, I've had issues with a couple "stuck" pixels... but "massaging" the pixel (pressing against the screen a bit on that spot) always un-stuck them. My girlfriend freaked the first time she saw me do it to her new iBook (because the screen image distorts around your finger when you do it, and it looked to her like I was "breaking" her new laptop), but she soon saw the pixel would be un-stuck and the problem thus solved.

    In each case that I've had to do this, the pixels would stick a few more times before ultimately giving in in defeat and bowing to my will. They then behaved like good working pixels for the rest of their useful lives.

    I know the PSP screen is shielded so that you can't make direct contact with the screen. I wonder just how many "stuck pixel" issues could be fixed with a nice little massage to the pixel area, if only you could get to it...

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?