Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Electronic Woes: LCD TV

I think I could consider myself really unlucky with electronics this year. I bought my mother an EEE PC netbook which, after 9 days had a noisy fan and the store didnt want to have it replace or refunded.. But thats a different story.. This is about my LCD TV problems.

I got an HSBC credit card for 2 reasons. 1: the Caltex rebate and 2: the MyScreen LCD TV.

You could scroll down and skip this back story and head to the "Testing the TV: Here Comes the Bad Part" if you're not particular with my reasons in buying the TV. If you're interested with why I got it, carry on.


The MyScreen MYS-22 (22 inch) TV is priced 11,500 pesos thru the promo of HSBC. With that you get 1080i, and HDMI port, an audio out, an audio in, VGA in, RCA in, Component in, a remote, and pretty much thats about it. You could read the full specs here. I did my homework, Ive read reviews and so far, and a positive feedback was given by SonOfKratos in his review in TipidPC. You could read his review here. So what is not to like about it? If the reviews says that only the sound was lousy.. Then add a good speaker! Not to mention that it has VGA! So I could plug in my PS2, I could plug in my PC, I could watch TV and.. It has HDMI! It would welcome a PS3 anytime! .. Whats not to like about it!? Not to mention that they have service centers all over the country (you'll find a good reason for that later) .. Its like those China brands that you never heard of but seems like a good deal. My decision was set. MYS-22 through the HSBC promo!

Obtaining My HSBC Credit Card

Honestly, this is my first credit card. I have 2 golds as an extension of my mother's credit card. My mom complained that I charge around 3k to 4k on an average so why not get my own? It was also a good time to start a good credit line and im responsible enough to maintain a good credit standing (if thats what they call paying on time etc etc.) Anyway, I applied and it took some time though it got approved eventually. As I got my card on the mail, I called HSBC immediately to activate it. Then headed to AV Surfer to get the TV.

Obtaining the TV

I was too excited that when I had my card activated, I rushed to ATC to get the TV. I looked for AV Surfer and as I found it, it was already 8:45+ .. I told them that im going to get the MYS-22 and I would just have to photocopy a valid ID to go with the claim stub. I rushed to the 3rd floor to find out that the photocopying store was already closed. I went back to AV Surfer, defeated as I was assured by Chris (the guy at the counter) that there are still 2 units left on their stock. I went back some days after and got the TV. Being a diligent electronics shopper, I asked if I could test the connectors or at least some.. They tested the component then was stunned when they tested the HDMI port. 1080i aint that bad. I took the baby home after accomplishing everything.

Testing the TV: Here Comes the Bad Part

I unboxed it and set it up at home. I got my shiny vga cable, plugged it in. I connected my old PS2 unit. It felt amazing, like anything and everything is connected. After testing the ports, (I dont have any component device or an HDMI device) I jumped into bed hoping to watch some good-ol-cable channels. I scanned the channels and was really amazed that it got everything! I tried switching it off and see if it will resume where I left off.. Then there it was, it forgot every channel it scanned! Come on! Even a cheap surplus TV could remember the channel it scanned even if its turned off or unplugged.. How can this hi-tech tv fail to have this very basic feature?

Return of the TV

I called AV Surfer the next day and Chris was accomodating and said that if I want to return it, I could, though he suggested to call Solid Service aka Sony Service and ask regarding this problem. I called and guess what they told me, they would have to take in the unit and it would take around 1 to 2 weeks. I bluntly told them "I just bought this yesterday and you want me to risk my 7 day window for returning this?" The customer service rep cant seem to answer. She even dont want me talking to the technicians. Sige, good luck intindihin yan. My dad and I decided just to return the TV to AV Surfer and wait til the next batch arrives.

Another TV Arrives at Home and Leaves Home Immediately

Guess what? Same problem! So its already past the 7 day and it seems like Chris is a bit agitated on having the thing back. So he suggested to bring it to the service center in Alabang. My dad brought it there and as he was explaining the situation, someone was getting back their unit. Guess what, MYS-22, HSBC promo. Problem? Channels doesnt save. So, my dad was already pissed finding that out, wanted to talk to the technician. Guess what the lady attendant told him? "Sakin ninyo sabihin yung problema! (Tell your problem to me)" .. Its annoying that there needs to be a mediator, rather having the end user talk to the one who will directly fix the problem. So, swallowing our prides, we left it there for 2 days.

Finally, It Goes Back Home for the N'th Time

Before my dad got the unit, he asked the lady if ever it is still defective could we have a document stating that the item is really defective (so we could give it to AV Surfer as proof that its really problematic) The lady said that the document would take 1 to 2 weeks. Wow. A document stating that 'the unit with the serial xxx-xxx-xxxxxx is problematic' signed by the technician or the manager would take TWO FRIGGIN WEEKS!? So benefit of the doubt, my dad took it home to have it tested. I tried it out, yeah they fixed it alright BUT, if you tried completing the scan (up to channel 104) it doesnt save. If you tried stopping the scanning up until around channel 70, it saves.. So what if I want to watch Karera in channel 99?! Or if I want to watch Arirang or something!? Sorry nalang ako!? Pissed, I told my dad that we're returning this unit and will file a dispute to reverse my payment.

Imagine the Hassle

My dad going back and fourth to Alabang, to ATC, to the service center, back to our house. My wasted time calling the service center, contesting this problem then being advised to check on the store. Calling the store, explaining the situation again.. It all gets very tiring. All for SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE WORKING PROPERLY IN THE FIRST PLACE. Im really disappointed with Solid Broadband Corporation. Think about it, its not even dirt cheap! Its 11,500! A decent 22-incher Samsung would cost you around 13,500.. This is utter crap.

Action Plan

1. Call up the service center saying that we will be returning the TV to AV Surfer since it is still broken.
2. Call up AV Surfer saying that its still problematic and tell them that the manufacturer/service center would take 1 week for the letter.
3. Call up HSBC to file a dispute

Final Words

Please spare yourself the trouble and get yourself a branded unit. Now ive realized that being a cheap-o leads to more hassles than what you have saved.

I will be updating this time to time so you could track how much hassle im in. Ill also add pictures ive taken before I returned it to the box this evening. Since SonOfKratos might shoot me with his 'those who have less talk more' quote. I bought. I tested. I got crap.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Buying Guide for Hard Drives

It has been argued on by so many computer enthusiasts when asked "Is it worth it to buy (insert brand here) (insert drive space here) for (insert price here) ?"

Given the example above, how can you say that its better to buy the 1.5 TB drive and just adding a bit more money than buying the 1 TB drive? Ive explained this approach to a batchmate of mine in DLSU some years ago. I wasnt able to remember it until we had a YM conversation last night.

Given the prices from the PCX price list:
4910 pesos for a 1Terabyte Seagate SATA 16mb
7720 pesos for a 1.5Terabyte Seagate SATA 32mb

So, if you have a 1000 Gig (~1TB) drive for 4910 Pesos what you need to do is just divide the amount by the size of the drive.

4910/1000 = 4.91 Pesos per Gigabyte
7720/1500 = 5.15 Pesos per Gigabyte

Its safe to say that for the price to space ratio, you would get a better deal if you buy the 1TB drive rather than the 1.5TB drive. Though you might want to hold off buying a Seagate for this matter.

But when it comes to usability after several years, its a different story. I have an old 1.2 Gig Seagate drive at home and I cant really think of any use for it except as a drive for my legacy systems.

* thanks to PCX price list dated 8/5/09 for the prices