Some TV viewers may face more excitement than they bargained for: Their Sony Bravia flat-panel LCD televisions could overheat and melt, the company warned Wednesday. The electronics giant and No. 3 global TV seller is recalling 1.6 million of its 40-inch sets.
Sony said a component "in rare cases" could overheat and "at times ignite," causing the cabinet to melt. But Sony said it had no reports of injuries or damage to other property. A spokesman told Bloomberg News the recall is based on 11 reports of overheating. Sony said the incidents do not happen when the TV is not operating.
Free Evaluation, Repair
Sony promised to address the issue promptly, offering a free evaluation of affected products and, if necessary a repair, and warned anyone whose Bravia is behaving abnormally to disconnect it and contact Sony.
"We know our customers choose Sony based in large part due to the trust associated with our brand and the products and services we so strongly stand behind," said Brian M. Siegel, vice president of Sony Television. "We will not take our customers' trust for granted and are committed to addressing this issue proactively."
The affected model numbers are KDL-40V3000, KDL-40VL130, KDL-40W3000, KDL-40WL135, KDL-40XBR4 and KDL-40XBR5. Information for consumers is available at www.updatemytv.com.
Charles King, principal analyst for Pund-IT, said that while the recall likely would be expensive for Sony, it's not likely to be of major consequence.
"Less than a dozen incidents have been reported so their occurrence is rare," King said. "Still, it's the sort of thing you'd like to avoid. To my mind, it's always better for vendors to get out in front of a problem like this, rather than wait for clients to post videos of flaming TVs on YouTube."
Consumer devices analyst Avi Greengart of Current Analysis said recalls don't necessarily have to mean a big hit to sales.
"It certainly sounds like a pricey recall, and nobody wants their TV to melt," he said. "That said, as long as Sony has caught this before the potential fire hazard turns into actual destroyed homes and lives, Sony should be OK.
"There are plenty of consumer electronics products that have survived massive problems. The Xbox comes to mind. Microsoft spent over a billion dollars fixing bad consoles and it is the strongest selling console years later."
The Bravia recall is part of a bad week for Sony: Chief Information Security Officer Philip Reitinger also announced on the company's PlayStation game console blog that a hacking attempt was detected, and 93,000 PlayStation Network accounts were locked down as a precaution.