Monthly Archives: July 2013

Selling a Sony rear-projection LCD HDTV?

I’ve been perusing local “for sale” listings for Sony rear-projection LCD TVs.  Built in the mid 2000s, most of these sets failed due to an overheated blue LCD module (and often, the accompanying polairzer) within the optical block.  The symptoms are blue dots (pixels) that appear around the edges of the picture, sometimes accompanied by a yellow haze.

The overheating is often seen after the original lamp is replaced–there is a fan-powered ventilation system within the optical block which gets gunked up with dust over time, restricting airflow.  As the bulb is used over the years, it dims, making the block run slightly cooler; replace the bulb with a new one, and the original heat is back.  Combine that with the poorer ventilation and you’ll see a failure in the LCD panel where the pixels burn out or, in more severe cases, the polarizer over the LCD panel also distorts and gets damaged.

How common was the problem?  There were a handful of class-action lawsuits against Sony for the early failures of these sets and, for a time, they offered a discount on certain replacement flat screen LCD TVs to owners of these sets.  Peruse the local Craigslist in any major city and you’ll likely see at least one or two listings for sets with this problem.

Why should I care about it?  I am seeing a lot of these sets listed for large sums of money.  Thing is, consumers today are educated, and can easily plug the model number into a Google search and find out all of the information about the set, including specifications and complaints.  As such, someone asking $250 to $500 for one of these LCD TVs that is failed, or beginning to fail, is never going to see that amount.  Three weeks ago, I saw a final Craigslist posting for a really nice KDF-60XS955 that had the blue dots: either pick the set up within two days for $15, or it was going to the curb on trash night.  This was after two months of starting at a price around $50, dropping it every couple of weeks.  Other sets go unsold, working or non-working, at $100 or higher.

Bottom line: these sets just aren’t selling.  Even repaired, they are not worth much, as the failure will simply happen again in a few years’ time.  And the parts for these are no longer being made.  Basically, an expensive time bomb.  The good thing is that for someone who is reasonably handy with electronics, these can be repaired for a modest cost and brought back to life for a few more years.  Replacement optical blocks can cost anywhere from just under $100 to $350, or the LCD panels can be purchased and replaced, along with the polarizers.

In an upcoming post, we’ll be tackling just such a project, replacing the optical block in one of these sets, along with dismantling the old optical block to analyze which part overheated, and to harvest other components we could use for future repairs.

Until then…buyer beware!