Just Who’s in the LEaD

Since I pulled out the bad service post this month I figured it would be a good time to produce a bad product post.  In truth, I have seen a great product trump a bad service experience, but I have never witnessed a great service making up for a crap product.  Case in point is a situation I experienced with a gift Linda gave me for Christmas (yeh, I know it has been awhile, but to say that I have too many irons in the fire at the moment is an understatement to the size of the fire).  To set the stage, the viewing quality of a movie or TV show really doesn’t rate high on my viewing experience.  Analog was just fine with me for what little TV I actually watched since it is more of a background noise device than a center of attention.  Trust me, baseball is just as exciting when you can’t see every pimple on the batters face.  What really comes out of this type of viewing experience is how good the plot is (or the talent of the players based on your viewing pleasure).  As a result, the old 14 inch Magnavox Analog TV had been a fixture in my den for years.  I’d turn it on as white noise whenever I was on the computer and from time to time catch a show while writing posts etc.  Hit the power button, turn it to channel 14 or 3 (more on this later) and with the reliability of Biden saying something stupid every time he opens his mouth, I was watching a show .. out of my peripherals of course, but it was on and playing without any hassles.  Linda decided it was time to enter the current decade so took it upon herself to purchase a new LED TV as a present.  I have to admit, the flat panel had a nice benefit of freeing up some space on my shelf top, but the hassles this brought were totally unexpected.

I hauled the new 24 inch Insignia upstairs and began the process of switching out the old TV (with a tear in the eye – like losing an old friend).

  • Take the cable off the old TV
  • Haul the old TV off the shelf and put it in the backroom
  • Take the new TV out of the box
  • Take all the protective coverings and stickers off
  • Find a screwdriver to attach the stand to the base
  • Attach the stand to the TV
  • Attach the cable to the new TV
  • Put the TV back up on the shelf
  • Unwrap the remote and batteries
  • Load the batteries into the remote and start navigating menus to program the channels
  • Wait for it to find channel 3 and 14 and ….ugh

The new TV would not find channel 14.  A quick jump back, we have Dish Network for our TV subscription on two receivers.  This allows me to watch Top Shot while Linda watches drivel.  One receiver mainlines to a the coax on channel 3 while the second receiver’s output has the channel pushed up to channel 14 and then unsplit (technical term for running a splitter backwards) to combine it back into the mainline.  Turn to channel 3 you can watch one satellite, simply switch to channel 14 and you can watch the other – add in UHF remotes and we have complete freedom to watch our shows on any TV we want.  Apparently this new LED TV isn’t recognizing the uplifted channel.  No big deal, I’ll just add it in manually.  A few menu clicks and sure enough there is an Add Channel option.  Sweet, just keypad in the number 14 and … and .. and .. umm there is no entry field.  All it provides is a list of channels it found allowing you to delete or add from what it found in the scan.  You have go to be kidding me.  A quick check on the internet confirmed this.  There was an account of someone who had a rotating aerial to pull in Canadian and American signals.  The company’s response to his issue (same as mine, not being able to add manually) was “The menu is acting as designed and simply running the rescan every time you move the aerial will solve the problem”.  His response – I’m boxing it up and sending it back immediately.

Hit the jump to see how this story turns out.

That sounded like an excellent idea – they might want to check the V.O.B. next time you bring a product to market.  Play the steps above in reverse and add a trip back to Best Buy to return it.  Linda was insistent that I pick another one out since it was a Christmas gift.  Fine, a review of all the TVs on their display shelf (which included a check that I could add channels manually) ended up with the purchase of a Magnavox LED TV – my other TV was a Magnavox, it has worked reliably why not.   We bring it home and.

  • Take the cable off the old TV
  • Haul the old TV off the shelf and put it in the backroom
  • Take the new TV out of the box
  • Take all the protective coverings and stickers off
  • Find a screwdriver to attach the stand to the base
  • Attach the stand to the TV
  • Attach the cable to the new TV
  • Put the TV back up on the shelf
  • Unwrap the remote and batteries
  • Load the batteries into the remote and start navigating menus to program the channels
  • Wait for it to find channel 3 and 14 and yep, good to go.

It found the channels alright, but the sound was similar to piping the audio through a PC chassis speaker – and mono sounding to boot.  The audio menu provided little help even with the bass turned up and the treble turned down.  If there is one aspect of the TV I use, it is the sound so the primary use was already taking a hit.  Maybe I could learn to live with it.  Then another odd quirk was noticed.  Fortunately, there was a show involving night driving which identified this defect immediately.  Whenever a brighter white light came across the screen, it would produce a horizontal line out from that spot to both left and right edges of the screen.  Not just a small line either, but one about 10 or so pixels – visibly annoying for sure.  Not wanting to take another one back I tried my best to get used to it.  After a day of this my tolerance was full.  Reverse the steps above all the way back to Best Buy where AGAIN Linda convinced me to try once again.  Sigh, what to do, what to do?  Turns out that there was a larger LG version on sale – it was a 28″ LED TV again, but as probably guessed more expensive that the two worthless product acquired previously.  LG has delivered good products for me in the past (my computer monitor is gorgeous)  so what the heck – one final try.

  • Take the cable off the old TV
  • Haul the old TV off the shelf and put it in the backroom
  • Take the new TV out of the box
  • Take all the protective coverings and stickers off
  • Find a screwdriver to attach the stand to the base
  • Attach the stand to the TV
  • Attach the cable to the new TV
  • Put the TV back up on the shelf
  • Unwrap the remote and batteries
  • Load the batteries into the remote and start navigating menus to program the channels
  • Wait for it to find channel 3 and 14 and yep, good to go.

With little expectations I flipped to a show.  Wow, the screen looked fantastic on both channel 3 and the uplifted channel.  Not only that, the sound was awesome and even rivaled the quality on our much more expensive sets.   Okay, the real test – find some white lights.  This turned out to be a chore, but eventually we had a test case.  Houston we have a QUALITY PRODUCT.

Clearly there is a leader in the LED TV space and that leader is Life’s Good.  The intriguing part of this is I have to be the easiest person to please in the TV market.  Video quality is low on my list beyond a level that was met decades ago (do not remember white lines across any of the TVs I’ve ever had).  Topping it off, my phone has a better speaker than they put in the Magnavox and yet these two products made it to the showroom floor.  Which company do you think is going to get my future business and it never even got to a service call.

2 thoughts on “Just Who’s in the LEaD”

  1. I would guess that Best Buy might not be a company you would prefer doing business with in the future, either. They should have better quality control on the companies and products they choose to distribute.

    Ron

    Like

  2. So here is the thing… I tried putting them on my infamous LIST, when they screwed me over with Windows XP issues many many year ago. Against my best wishes they had me – Circuit City was ridden out of town leaving myself captive to their electronics department. Eventually my ban caved and I had to start frequenting them again – for the record this is the ONLY LIST item that I’ve ever lifted (well, not entirely correct, the Park District sent me an apology which got a local golf range off the list but I considered that a victory). But I agree, their quality department needs a lot of work!!

    Like

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