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Thu, Feb 16, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Sony finds glitches in about 400,000 Bravias

SOFTWARE UPDATE A Sony spokeswoman said consumers in Taiwan could call a customer service hotline, and staff will be sent out to upgrade the TVs

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Sony Corp, the world's second-biggest consumer electronics maker, said about 400,000 Bravia-brand liquid-crystal display (LCD) televisions the company sold have a software glitch that makes it difficult to turn them on and off.

About 350,000 LCD units were sold in the US, 18,000 in China, 6,500 units in Japan and 30,000 units in Singapore and Hong Kong, Mina Naito, a spokeswoman at the Tokyo headquarters, said yesterday.

The faulty software affects about 10 percent of the LCD TVs and LCD rear-projection units the company expects to sell this year.

Sales of Bravia televisions and PlayStation video-game players helped improve earnings at Sony, which reported a record quarterly net income in the three months ended Dec. 31.

Last month Sony raised its full-year forecast to a ¥70 billion (US$596 million) profit, from a previous estimate of a ¥10 billion loss.

Sony didn't disclose how much it is spending on fixing the glitch.

The company has booked the cost in its fiscal third-quarter earnings, Naito said.

In Japan, the glitch can be fixed by downloading software through a digital broadcast signal, while analog broadcast viewers will need to call Sony for a free repair, Naito said.

In the US, LCD TV owners can download a software update through the unit's USB memory port, while owners of the rear-projection sets will need to call Sony for servicing. The TVs sold in China will also need to be serviced.

TAIWAN REPAIRS

Sony Taiwan Ltd said some of the TVs, which arrived in Taiwan last November, were also sold to local consumers.

Sophie Tsai (蔡宜凌), a public relation spokeswoman for Sony Taiwan, said consumers who purchased these TVs can call the company's customer service hotline, and Sony will send staff to upgrade the TV's software for free at their doorsteps.

Tsai, however, refused to reveal how many of the affected models were sold in this country.

The affected TVs include 32-inch model KDL-V32A10 (serial number: 7000001 to 7000626) and the 40-inch model KDL-V40A10 (7000001 to 7000300), Tsai said.

Sony overtook industry leader Sharp Corp in the US as the No. 1 LCD television seller last December.

In Japan, Sony surpassed Sharp last November to become the top seller of LCD televisions measuring more than 38 inches, and has held the top spot for the three months to January, Tokyo-based market researcher BCN said.

In August, Sony scrapped its eight-year-old Wega brand televisions and started sales of flat-panel TVs under the Bravia name.

The company expects to sell 2.8 million LCD and 1.25 million LCD rear-projection televisions this fiscal year ending March 31.

Additional reporting by Jason Tan

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