The Fixya 2015 Television Report covers common issues and their solutions from popular high definition TV manufacturers Samsung, Vizio, LG, and Sony, delivering users a unique look into the state of the industry and the common problems associated with the most highly sought-after televisions on the market today. Overall, our report discovered consistent problems across all televisions with their internet connectivity, app selection, and picture quality. However, we also found that each individual brand had varying severity of their common problems, as well as unique and specific issues with their products that could not be found with their competitors.
Televisions are a staple in homes, and the sheer size of the number of options consumers can encounter when deciding on a purchase can be overwhelming at first glance. In addition, with the advent of “smart televisions” that are able to access the internet and do much more than serve as a conduit to display content from cable providers, the feature sets for high-definition televisions is becoming an important aspect to owning the device.
In other words, choosing the right television brand for your needs can be an extremely time-consuming process.
Which is where we come in.
Drawing from our unique and proprietary data found on Fixya, as well as the Fixya Fixboard which provides unique actionable insight on today's top high-definition television brands, we will cover some of the most common issues and solutions that each company has with its televisions and give you the tools to find a solution.
We're putting a spotlight on television problems so you can see all their common issues in high-definition. Let's get started.
Samsung Televisions Synopsis:
A South Korean multinational company founded in 1938, Samsung has gone through a wide variety of evolution over the past 75+ years in business. Its most important growth has come from its electronics business, which has soared to become one of the largest information technology companies in the entire world. In addition, the company ranks as the largest television manufacturer in the entire world since 2006, a fact especially relevant to this current report.
With a wide variety of consumer electronics products, including phones, tablets, televisions, and much more, Samsung's influence in this industry is second-to-none. They consistently deliver a solid product on the television front, and with a wide variety of options for users to choose from, offer plenty of options for a wide variety of consumers with differing needs and desires.
However, Samsung's HD and LED television sets do have a range of issues that afflict a variety of their devices. Let's take a look at the three most prominent problems of Samsung's televisions.
Common Problems for Samsung Televisions
The vast majority of televisions being produced now contain smartphone-esque features that tap into digital assets, allowing users to access various types of apps and services that reflect the digital age we currently live in. These include services such as Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, and mirror features found on set-top boxes such as the Roku and Apple TV. Essentially, Samsung (and other companies in this field) have taken those features and adapted them into the hardware and software of their televisions.
However, this product feature runs into some notable speed bumps on Samsung televisions. In addition to a relatively weak app selection compared to the features found on Roku, Apple TV, Microsoft Xbox One, the Sony Playstation 4, and other like-minded set-top boxes, the apps on Samsung televisions are prone to slow load times and some sufficient lag.
While these issues aren't necessarily game-changers in their own right, consumers should be well aware of the problems associated with their Samsung televisions app selection and performance, and think twice about whether this feature should be a significant selling point for them in the buying process, as well as whether this means they should get rid of their top-set box and exclusively adopt the Samsung app ecosystem instead of keeping their options open.
Similar to the app selection and performance issue, Samsung's televisions also generally come with a wireless functionality that allows them to both browse the internet from a pre-installed browser as well as access the internet to take advantage of the apps and other online features on the device. However, across the board, Samsung's televisions don't provide a stellar wireless experience.
Users report that the connection is often spotty and unreliable, prone to kicking them off in the middle of a show they're watching, and difficult to set up. In addition, users assert that these wireless issues aren't due to a bad network or WiFi connection in their own phone. Samsung television owners are prone to issues with connecting to the internet via their TV even when their WiFi is working correctly on their other connected devices (such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones).
In short, this spotty wireless connectivity can be attributed to the television itself, and poses issues for consumers who are beginning to consume more and more of their entertainment content on their TV via the internet.
With Samsung's long history of delivering reliable television devices, as well as its prominence in the market as one of the largest manufacturers of TV's in the world, there's very little debate as to the quality of the visual experience you get with a Samsung television. Generally, across the board, the colors are crisp, the resolution is pure, and quick movements on the screen are handled well and do not produce any “blur” associated with lower-range televisions.
However, users did report an issue with the viewing of the television when users are sitting to the side of the television instead of straight on. Despite the viewing experience of Samsung televisions being quite good when users are directly in front of the screen, users who watch shows, movies, and live TV from an angle off to the side of the television (either due to how their seating arrangement is set up or if multiple people are watching and they all can't be in front of the screen due to seating limitations) will experience a decrease in the quality of the picture. This includes color desaturation which doesn't look natural, some slight blurring of the picture quality, and a “washed out” look that appears to reduce the sharpness of the image.
For single-family homes or people who don't entertain that often, this issue will not pose that big of a problem. But for users who have their seating arrangements set up at an angle that is not straight ahead of the TV, or like to entertain and have multiple people over at one time, this issue could be an extremely detrimental one which causes a lot of problems for them down the road.
Vizio Televisions Synopsis:
Unlike the multinational electronic behemoths found throughout this report, Vizio is a little different. The private company is based in Irvine, California and known primarily for its television sets, although it does produce other electronics on a much smaller scale. In other words, Vizio is competing with much larger companies whose operations and reach dwarf theirs in comparison, but almost exclusively focusing on televisions to try and create market share.
Despite being a relatively smaller company by comparison however, Vizio is able to aggressively price its televisions compared to its competitors and frequently comes in with prices that are below the likes of Sony, Samsung, and LG. Although purpose of this report isn't to compare prices between TV devices, it is worth noting that one of Vizio's main feature sets is its price points. Consumers should be aware of that fact when going through a purchasing decision.
We'll take a look at the common problems associated with Vizio televisions below.
Common Problems for Vizio Televisions
Considering the remote is a pretty basic feature set of your television experience, having issues with the remote is not exactly an ideal situation to put through consumers through. Unfortunately for Vizio owners, problems with the remote range across a variety of their television lines and are a common problem that users continue to experience.
Issues with the remote control's on Vizio televisions range in severity and cover a wide variety of use cases. Users report the remote not working at all, only the volume buttons managing to work, a certain segment of the buttons not responding to inputs, the mute button not being able to be reversed (i.e. once you hit “mute”, the only way to unmute is to turn the volume up on the TV physically), the remote not being able to issue commands to the TV, and the remote working correctly at one moment, only for it to intermittently not work again.
There probably isn't a need to emphasize the point, but we'll do it anyway—a non-functioning remote is an extremely detrimental downside to your television experience. The only positive is that you'll get some minor exercise getting up to change the channel via the physical buttons whenever you want to change the channel or volume.
Vizio's appeal to consumers has been their ability to provide a quality television experience at a cost generally lower than their competitors. Unfortunately for users however, this decision can leave some general functionality of their devices lacking. One aspect where this shows up is in the speaker system, which doesn't produce a round and full sound compared to the majority of models produced by their competitors.
This issue shows up in a few notable ways— users report that the sound is often “flat” and lacks depth, doesn't have much in the way of bass tones, and has an airy quality no matter how high the volume is turned up. In other words, the quality of the sound on Vizio televisions seems to be lacking.
In addition, some users have reported that the television makes a humming sound when it is in use. This issue typically increases in volume when the sound is turned up higher, although it was also reported to be a hindrance no matter what the sound level is at on your television. This issue presents a host of issues for users when consuming entertainment and can be a major problem for users who expect the audio quality of their television to match that of the picture quality.
As we explained in our Samsung section, televisions are attempting to recreate the features of set-top boxes. However, much like Samsung, Vizio's execution in this department hasn't been exemplary.
Like Samsung, Vizio's app ecosystem has a relatively weak app selection compared to the features found on Roku, Apple TV, Microsoft Xbox One, the Sony Playstation 4, and other like-minded set-top boxes. The apps on Vizio's televisions are prone to slow load times and some sufficient lag. In addition, and something that makes the issues with Vizio slightly different than Samsung, is users reporting issues even connecting to the apps via Vizio's television at all.
While these issues aren't necessarily game-changers in their own right, consumers should be well aware of the problems associated with their televisions app selection and performance, and think twice about whether this feature should be a significant selling point for them in the buying process, as well as whether this means they should get rid of their top-set box and exclusively adopt the Vizio app ecosystem instead of keeping their options open.
Sony Televisions Synopsis:
Like Samsung and LG, Sony is a well-known multinational brand that has a wide variety of products that it produces in the consumer electronics sphere. One of its most popular lines is its television sets, which can be found in various styles, designs, and functionalities. Despite the widespread nature of Sony's television business however, the unit of the company has struggled with profitability over the years. However, potential buyers should note that this isn't necessarily due to the quality of the televisions, but instead can be attributed to a wide variety of factors including research and development, production, manufacturing, and other business related expenditures.
Like most of the companies in our report, Sony's televisions are generally well-respected amongst consumers and offer a variety of options for television users to choose from. However, despite being a big brand name with a wide range of products, Sony televisions have issues that consumers should be aware of when purchasing a device.
We'll break down some of the most common ones below.
Common Problems for Sony Televisions
One of the more common issues with Sony's devices, and something is plaguing the industry as a whole, is weak connectivity when it comes to WiFi and slow internet speeds. Recently produced Sony televisions come with a wireless functionality that allows users to both browse the internet from a preinstalled browser as well as access the internet to take advantage of the apps and other online features on the device. However, users report that this wireless experience is lacking, with problems ranging from spotty and unreliable internet service, slow load times, difficulty getting online, and intermittent coverage that comes and goes depending on what time users are accessing the internet from the device.
In addition, users have also reported that the issues with Sony's internet isn't due to their own internet connection. Sony television owners experience these issues even when their WiFi is working correctly on their other connected devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. In short, this spotty wireless connectivity can be attributed to the television itself, and poses issues for consumers who are beginning to consume more and more of their entertainment content on their TV via the internet.
Sony users also report some issues with the picture quality of their television, specifically when it is related to content that is being pulled from an external source or unique file. For example, picture quality is generally good when a user is watching TV via their cable or dish provider and have limited amounts of issues when watching a movie via a Blu-Ray or DVD player. However, picture quality issues tend to increase when the user is watching something via an online channel (Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Go etc.), YouTube, or another file type such as a digital movie that is either being streamed from the internet or being played via their computer and connected to their television with a USB or HDMI cord. In addition, the media player that comes equipped with Sony televisions also leaves a little to be desired according to owners, as the issues above show up when using this player as well.
With more consumers across the world tapping into digital and non-cable content (either due to “cord-cutting”, price concerns, or ease of use accessing online products), consumers should be aware of the problems Sony televisions have in this area.
Sony television owners also reported some color discrepancies on the screen, with the blacks being too light, colors being fuzzy and not well defined, greens being a little too neon, and some slight shading and blurring occurring around the edges of the screen. However, the vast majority of these users also stated that these issues with the television are fleeting in nature—for some content, the colors look exceptional and well-defined, while for other content the colors experience the issues listed above.
As with the majority of televisions, Sony does offer various types of color and saturation settings that are suited for various types of content and media. However, the process of continuously selecting the correct type of settings each and every time you watch a different type of show, film, or game can be burdensome. Prospective Sony television owners should be aware of this issue, and make a decision whether or not going through this process when they watch content on their television is something they would be happy with in the long-term.
LG Televisions Synopsis:
Just like Samsung and Song, LG is a large multinational company with fingers in various pies, stretching from electronics to chemicals to telecommunications. The company's electronics division, which produces its televisions, can be traced back to the 1950's as a Korean company called “GoldStar” that was eventually folded into the multinational LG company known today.
LG's electronics department has a wide variety of consumer electronic devices available, a list that includes televisions, mobile phones, tablets, smart watches, and home appliances as well. The company is well known for its diverse product selection in its consumer devices, and televisions in particular. LG was one of the early adopters of the internet TV phenomenon, producing its first internet TV in 2007, and continues that in the majority of their television products today. In addition, some LG television remotes enable voice recognition technology and gesture based commands that allow users to input commands for their television without physically touching their remote.
Despite their commitment to progressing the future of television, and being one of the industry leaders in this regard, LG televisions still have some common issues that users experience when using their devices. Here's our detailed look at the problems.
Common Problems for LG Televisions
One of the major expectations of a television is that the picture quality remain strong, consistent, and not pose any significant issues to users when they are interacting with the device. Unfortunately for some users, LG televisions have a “dimming” feature which dims the screen when it is not in use. In theory this is a positive feature—along with saving power, this feature avoids a situation where a picture does not get “burned” into the screen and have a negative effect on the quality of the screen in the future. For example, when a user pauses a movie, game, or show, leaving that picture at full power on the screen has been shown to slightly imprint the image onto the screen for a period of time afterwards, altering the screen and effecting the crispness of the picture of all future media watched on the screen. LG's dimming feature attempts to rectify that.
Unfortunately for LG users, this can sometimes cause problems. LG televisions sometimes will dim even when your media content is not paused, flickering back and forth between the “dimming” feature and regular viewing. In addition, if the media content is dim by nature (i.e. a movie with a darkly lit scene), the dimming feature also has a tendency to kick in and affect the viewing experience. Users reported this was more prominent when playing video games than in any other use case, so consumers who plan to use their television for gaming purposes should be especially aware of the issue.
As more and more consumers choose to mount their televisions on the wall as opposed to placing it on a media cabinet to conserve space, the importance of being able to mount your television on the wall becomes even more important. However, LG television's have difficulties with being mounted on the wall due to the way the back inputs are designed.
We should clarify that no users reported this as a safety issue—users did not report LG televisions falling off the wall, coming undone, are cracking under the pressure of a wall mount. However, they did report decreased functionality as a result of a wall mount for this television.
Due to the way the back ports are set up on the television, as well as where the mounting mechanism is located for attaching it to a wall, accessing features for calibrating your television become difficult when mounting. This includes difficulty plugging in the HDMI ports when the TV is attached to the wall, difficulty connecting the power supply when the TV is attached to the wall, and making any kind of changes to devices that are plugged in when the device is mounted. Users reported that the best way to wall mount the unit was to plug in everything you expect to use before mounting, but along with not solving the issue of changing any connected devices after the television is mounted, can also make mounting the unit much more difficult with cords all plugged in at the same time.
Although LG in general has quality picture and good colors, some users reported issues with the device and how it handled rapid movement on screen and some slight shadowing located around the edges of the television.
The motion blurring issue happens when rapid movement is occurring on screen. This frequently occurs with entertainment that has quick camera transitions and a lot of fast-moving picture, like action films, sporting events, and other similar content. This motion blur obviously poses some issues for consumers, as it detracts fairly significantly from their entertainment viewing experience and can reduce clarity on the screen.
LG users also reported some slight shadowing around the edges of their screen that caused some picture distortion and a lack of distinct colors in that area. Along with reducing the quality of the picture, this type of shadowing gives an uneven tone to the content on the screen and produces an experience that is below the standards of what many users expect out of their television.