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How long should a TV last?

by Paul Criger / July 26, 2007 3:24 AM PDT

Recently my Panasonic CT-32HX41E a.k.a. 32" Direct View (CRT) HDTV suddenly stopped working. I called Panasonic and they told me that since it was six years old and out of warranty (1 year parts & labor) I needed to take it to the nearest authorized service center (which they gave me address and phone number for).

The guy at the service center told me that it looked like the flyback transformer had a problem. He then told me that the CRT had flashed when he tried to power it up, which indicated a short. He said if the CRT was shorted it was not worth repairing.

Panasonic has requested a copy of the service documents. If it unrepairable, they will give me a discount on a new Panasonic LCD or Plasma set. Despite their good reviews on CNET, I'm not sure I'll buy another Panasonic.

This was the second time that the set had stopped working. The first was one week before the ($400) 4 year extended warranty expired. The tech replaced the flyback transformer and 4 or 5 IC chips.

This TV cost $1530 (plus $400 for the extended warranty) and only lasted six years! The Panasonic TV that it replaced was 15 years old and was never serviced once!

How long should a TV last? How long will an LCD or Plasma that you buy today last? Do they really "not make 'em like they used to"?

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27 years.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 26, 2007 3:45 AM PDT

My neighbor's is 27 years old. One of mine needed a minor repair and it's now about 20 years old.

My newest is a RP CRT unit which has been repaired twice since 2000. I think the new sets are considered disposable?

One thing is different about me. I'm an old electronics person and know to keep the units clean so that flash over issue shouldn't occur to my units. However how many people would die if they opened up their set to clean it?


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How long do tv's last.
by arbee / July 28, 2007 6:46 AM PDT
In reply to: 27 years.

Bob, did you attend Electronics at Western Tech in the 50's? Small world. Back to the question at hand. I purchased a 17 " Sony Trinitron when they first came out around 1962. It has worked since then (45 yrs.)without any problems and I gave it to my niece still working with great colour. Later purchased a 27" Sony XBR in 1982 and it still works great in my, (25 yrs.) except I get remarks about the curved screen. Both have never been repaired, but kept clean as I have always been aware that dust particles can cause shorts. The XBR had a 5 year warranty and modular parts so they could be replaced without having to take the entrire set to the repair facility. I recently purchased a 36" Sony Flatscreen and it only has a one year warranty. I do believe the length of warranty the factory places on their units gives you an indication of how well it's constructed. I think my 1982 model will last longer than the most recent one!


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Sorry not me.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 28, 2007 6:57 AM PDT
In reply to: How long do tv's last.

My college days were 20 years later...

But I think you get the general direction the consumer TV market has taken. They are thinking of something less reliable now...


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Life span is a crap shoot
by Dan Filice / July 26, 2007 4:44 AM PDT

We're talking about electronics, so many factors can affect life-span. I had an old 27" CRT go for 8 years before I gave it away and bought my first HDTV. My first HDTV (Toshiba 50" RPTV CRT style) is now 5 years old and I just received a notice in the mail that my extended warranty just expired. I could continue to extend the warranty, but I chose not to. I think most companies offer to extend the warranty, at a price. If life-span is a concern, the extended warranty is probably the only safety net we have. Some LCD TVs claim 60,000 hours of life, but that's the display. This has nothing to do with other electonics that may die unexpectedly.

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by stewart norrie / July 26, 2007 6:27 AM PDT

How spoiled are we.Just look back 30 years You had to be a t.v. repairman just to own one. new tubes every 3 months rip the whole thing apart to clean the cascade tuner, flyback transformer going up in smoke. etc etc. Look at it this way most folks donet even know where the hood releace button is on there new car totally trouble free. same with hi-def t.vs. my old monster d.l.p. set is now almost 2 years old and most cnet folks state that it is a horrible t.v. ,rasinbow effect, color wheel and lamp problems. that may be true, but I have never had a problem and picture quality is still amazing, yes the newer display types plasma, l.c.d. are almost bullit proof. If I have a problem in the next 20 years I will let you know ha steweee

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Panasonic really stepped up!
by kcfvegas / July 26, 2007 8:05 AM PDT

It amazed me that you said that you don't think you'll buy another Panasonic after what they offered you. You have a six year old TV that is five years past the expiration of the warranty, and Panasonic is offering you a discount on a new TV to make you happy! What more could you ever ask of a company! I don't work Panasonic or any electronics company, but I do own a store and it always amazes me when a company bends over backwards to accommodate a customer and they don't appreciate it.

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Lack of Appreciation
by Paul Criger / July 26, 2007 8:24 AM PDT

My lack of appreciation for their offer stems form the fact that I didn't pay over $1500 with the expectation that the TV would only make it to the end of the warranty. I expected this TV to last for 10 years or more.

Would you buy another car from a manufacturer whose repairs after the warranty expired were more than the residual value?

I am a longtime Panasonic customer (since my first cassette recorder 37 years ago). I own 2 -VCRs, 1 DVD player, a phone, a boombox, a portable AM/FM cassette player. I expected more utility from the TV than 6 years (with 1 expensive repair already).

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We're not talking cars.....
by kcfvegas / July 26, 2007 8:38 AM PDT
In reply to: Lack of Appreciation

But if the car company said to me that even though I've had the car six years, that they are going to allow me to buy a new car for five thousand below invoice to make up to me the fact that their car didn't last as long as I thought it should, especially if I had owned several of their cars before and was always happy with them, then yes I would buy another car from them in a heartbeat!

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But if it was a Yugo......
by kcfvegas / July 26, 2007 8:49 AM PDT

Then maybe I'd think twice.... Happy

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Yugos :)
by Dan Filice / July 26, 2007 9:45 AM PDT

Why do they put rear window heaters in Yugos?

To keep your hands warm while you push them. HappyHappy

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Take the discount
by HTHMAN / July 26, 2007 9:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Lack of Appreciation

As you stated, you have gotten good life on all the other products. You agreed to buy a set with a one year warranty from the manufacturer. That is all they owe you.

Everything fails eventually and I agree you got the short end of it, but at least they are standing behind the product to keep you as a customer.

I had a similar experience over 20 years ago with Phillips. I bought a Sylvania RP TV and it was a lemon. They repaired it a couple times at no charge and after out of warranty they supplied the parts at no charge but I paid several hundred in repairs. Finally they credited me my entire purchase price toward a new set that they shipped to me. It cost me 400 dollars more for a new, bigger Magnavox set. It is in the corner of my basement, but it still works and has never been repaired.

I was very grateful for the help. They owed me nothing, but stood behind the product. Stick with Panasonic.

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by Riverledge / July 26, 2007 12:35 PM PDT
In reply to: Take the discount



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it's an electronic device...
by woodygg / July 26, 2007 11:34 PM PDT
In reply to: Lack of Appreciation

stuff happens (to them).

get over it and move on. ANY electronic component can die like that - they all use many of the same compononets - it's the nature of the beast. there's no reason to think the current panasonic televisions will last longer or shorter than most other brands.

most asic failure rates begin to rise around seven years - although this has much to do with power on hours (how much you've had it on) - and how often you turn it on and off (the less the better). anyway, i digress....

besides... you need a REAL (i.e. HD) tv now! just a good excuse to dive in!

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Define Stepping Up -
by Paul Criger / July 28, 2007 7:36 AM PDT

KCFVEGAS - I'm responding to you because you were the first to reply that I was "looking a gift horse in the mouth". This is directed to all who thought I was being ungrateful.

I didn't get into details about my negotiations with Panasonic on my original post. My negotiations are now concluded here are the details-

Panasonic originally offered a loyalty discount on the TH-42PX77U (the unit I had chosen based on CNET reviews). The discount was quoted as original price of $1599.95 for ONLY $1359.96 - plus tax and shipping (which wasn't quoted).

Nice except that by using CNET's "Check Price" on the review I found that I could buy it for $1236 delivered from Electronique Plus. My wife found that Sears had it for $1299 with 18 months same as cash.

I explained this to the person at Panasonic and they said that was the best that they could do. I asked to speak with their supervisor. I explained the situation to the supervisor, Jeff, who put me on hold for a few minutes and came back with $1200 plus tax and shipping which again wasn't quoted. The sales tax alone would have taken me over $1236! They didn't really step up at all. Furthermore, this price would only be offered after I signed a waiver (which they faxed over to me) indemnifying Panasonic from any further grievances in this issue.

BTW - I chose to pay more to buy it from Sears because of cash flow considerations. I also didn't like the terms of their waiver.

What surprises me is that so many respondents thought that it was perfectly all right that a six year old $1500+ TV would have a catastrophic failure. Personally I expected that set to last at least 10 years. There were plenty of stories of older ones lasting decades. Why have our expectations diminished so much? I guess we believe that they don't build them like they used to.

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Maybe I was wrong....
by kcfvegas / July 28, 2007 8:34 AM PDT
In reply to: Define Stepping Up -

Paul, from what you just wrote it looks like Panasonic wasn't stepping up as much as I thought. The way you wrote it originally, it looked like they were doing something more than what their final offer was. But they did still offer you something, which they didn't have to do, so I wasn't totally off base. I do agree with you that our expectations have been lowered on how long the new electronics should last. And that's a shame. You were not wrong in expecting your TV to last at least 10 years. You got a good deal at Sears, and I hope this TV lasts longer than your last one. Panasonic is definitely not a Yugo. By the way, the reason for my reaction was that there have been times that a customer would have a complaint about a product that they had for a long time after the warranty had expired, and after I would talk to the manufacturer they would step up and make a good offer to the customer, and the customers reaction would be, "and what else are you going to do". Customer service has always been very important to me, but sometimes, no matter what you do, it's never enough. Good luck with your new TV, I think you'll be very happy with it. Happy

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luck of the draw?
by coffeecan / July 28, 2007 12:49 PM PDT
In reply to: Maybe I was wrong....

We have a Hitachi from 1983 and recently passed it along to a friend, Also have a mitsubishi from 1989. Still going strong. The mitsubishi was even involved in a lightning strike.
The mitsubishi is on 24 /7.
Since 1983 we have also owned 3 panasonics and they have all ceased to function after only about 3-4 years of ownership.
We have stayed away from panasonic in the last few years. They just don't seem to be the same product that they used to be.
Some folks seem to do ok with them though but not us.
Have a sharp that is now in the 4th year and seems to doing ok.
Will soon be in the market for new tv and don't have the slightest idea where to begin with all of the new types and hd.
Good luck with your new tv and it seems you were prudent concerning the "same as cash" transaction.

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So, they offered you-----nothing
by HTHMAN / July 29, 2007 3:15 AM PDT
In reply to: Define Stepping Up -

If they would have sent you a 2-300 dollar coupon or voucher or even a rebate, that would at least be something. To offer you a set at a higher price (plus shipping) than you can pick up down the street is more an insult to your intelligence.

I have a 50" Panasonic plasma and love it, but my brand loyalty could end with an offer like that.

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15-20 years!
by colquhoun3709 / July 26, 2007 10:25 PM PDT

My first bought color TV (Mitsubish) lasted 20 years when I gave it away.

TVs used to last virtually forever, because they were easily repaired (TV repairmen or repair shops were great small businesses) by pulling a tube here and there.

With big business, improved and totally different technology, higher expectations (more than the original 3 channels <g>)and astounding prices, they seem to last a coupla years.

Makes me want to buy cheap and hope it lasts for 2-3 years. I sure wouldn't spend the money for an expensive TV that is quickly discardable.

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Bigger is not better
by tintinmilou / July 27, 2007 12:28 PM PDT

Similar to what others have mentioned, my parents gave us their 15-year-old Hitachi 19-inch TV, and we kept it another ten years before giving it to charity because it couldn't tune cable channels. I even opened it up and re-soldered the sound card because a cold-solder joint was giving it fuzzy sound.
Now we have a 36-inch CRT TV that has had to be repaired twice in the five years we've had it. According to the crusty old repairman we took it too, the larger the unit, the shorter the lifespan. If you want long life, go low-tech, go modest. It takes more power to run a big unit. More power means more burden on the electronics, more deterioration, more heat, etc. Buy technology that is mature, well broken-in, and fine-tuned. Bleeding edge is just that, bleeding.
As I understand it, the plasmas are expected to last five years. LCDs a little longer. Get yourself a nice 27-inch CRT, and you'll have it a very long time.

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27" crt?
by woodygg / July 27, 2007 12:59 PM PDT
In reply to: Bigger is not better


yes... i know what you mean and am not making fun of you...

i watch hd on two of my tv's... five years? who cares. i'll never go back.

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Should vs WIll? That is the question...
by jalywol1 / July 27, 2007 12:55 PM PDT

I have had fairly bad luck with tv's over the years. My average run is about three years before problems arise that need repair. Some cheaper sets I have had have been as little as a year (fuzzy sound). I had one ancient Sony 13" that needed a tuner cold solder joint repaired, but kept going and going... and a second Sony 20" that had the same thing happen. I gave that to a friend who is still using it on video in, but 10 years later! The last CRT I got was a 24" Sony. It had a fantastic picture, but the picture began to shrink away from the edges after about 3 years. I gave it away (it weighed 100 lbs and there was no way I could move it to get it repaired anyway!) and purchased a Sharp LCD TV. So far that has been working with no problems for 2 years. Plus, I can move it around if I need to.

The moral of the story is, I think if you got six years out of a TV, you should be very happy with it. Take them up on their offer and buy another. Just don't expect it to last more than a few years... and consider yourself lucky if it does.

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'Til the end of time.....
by Spiritboxer / July 27, 2007 3:23 PM PDT

I'm currently using a 31" JVC I bought 15 years ago. Still works perfectly and the picture is just as great as when I bought it. Did lots of research before I made my purchase, relying heavily on consumer reports. It came down to a Mitsubishi and this JVC, the rest is history. You better believe I'm knocking on wood as I'm keying this in......

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how long should a t.v. last
by maggiedev / July 27, 2007 6:16 PM PDT

i don't think they last very long now days. my parents bought a motorola in the early 50's. they used it for several years and gave it to my grandparents. they used it for over 20 years. never had to be serviced. in my adult, t.v. buying years (i am 59 now) i have never had a t.v. last longer than 9 years. that is the one i have now. it is an RCA. i hope to get several more years out of it as t.v.s are expensive, or at least the one i want is. my own personal opinion is t.v's are "throw aways". so many electronics are these days.

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Good gone bad
by OMIGHTY1 / July 30, 2007 12:27 AM PDT

It seems like all TVs that start out really good end up quickly being crud. The TV in our living room is about 6 or 7 years old and is already going down. The color and sharpness settings jump around (even though it says they're where they're supposed to be in the menu), depending on what's on the screen. It's a Zenith, but I'm not sure what kind. Also, the 6-8 year old TV in my room all of a sudden just stopped working one day. The night before it died the screen flickered a lot. It's a Sylvania 13". Our best TV is the one in my parent's room. It's clear and colorful.

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Low price or last a long time take your pick.
by jcrobso / July 30, 2007 7:51 AM PDT

Maybe it's not quite that bad but there is some truth in it.
Last week I had a power supply stop working in on of my studio units.
I pulled it out and had a look, I very quickly spotted the bad capacitor in the PS, a 100uf at 200vdc.
I took a catalog and looked up a replacement. I had a choice of 3 different ones by 3 different makers, priced at $2.45, 2.57 and $3.85 each. which one did I get??? Since I didn't want to do this over again I got the $3.85 one, it has the best specs.
Now what if I had to buy hundreds of them and had to keep the price down? Most likely I would get the lower cost one knowing that it would be reliable in my units 95~98% of the time. This means that 2~5% of the units built will have a failure.
As Stew said we grew up it the time that TV repair man came out to fix the set 2~3 times a year.
But as TV sets became solid state(except for the tube) we got use to them lasting a long time.
Back in the 1980's there was very fierce competition between the US and Japanese TV set makers. The Japanese sets had better picture quality and last longer with fewer problems and won. Thus the many stories about 20+ year old TVs still working.
The cost of HDTVs is coming down, mass production will do this, so will using components that cost less(and have a shorter life span), reducing the warranty time or what will be covered and passing this cost on to the end user in the form of an extend warranty.
Yes CRTs can last 15~20 years now by the electronics driving them may not.
So: low price, great free warranty, last a long time, you can have any two but not all 3. John

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by Riverledge / July 31, 2007 10:42 AM PDT


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