Sunday, November 17, 2013

Product Review: Westinghouse 46" LED TV

From J:

Our house has a nice, large space above the mantle that's perfect for hanging a large TV. Naturally, we went out and bought one. It was a bit of an impulsive purchase - we were at Sam's Club one day and I saw this Westinghouse TV on sale. I was familiar with what TVs cost at the time and it was a very good deal; I pulled up some reviews on my phone and they were generally good. Awesome, we found a TV. Bought it, crammed it into the back of the Accord and hung it on the wall.

TV features:
  • 1080p, 46"
  • LED edge-lit backlight
  • 2x HDMI, 1x composite, 1x VGA video inputs
  • Multiple cinema presets
  • Randomly turns itself off and won't turn back on after 1.5 years
Pretty good, amiright? Except for that last part...let's see if we can do something about that. A little bit of research on the internets reveals to me that, unlike the reviews that were posted when this model was new (when we bought it) the more recent reviews are terrible, echoing the exact same issue that we were having. So what's an enterprising young doctor to do? OPEN IT UP AND FIDDLE WITH THE INSIDES (this phrase is only appropriate for doctors of engineering).

23 screws later, the back plate is off and I can play around with the ribbon cables. Discovery: the right hand LED strip is shorting (dramatic sparking! Seriously, be careful doing stuff like this). I pulled the front bezel off and removed the bottom LCD screen retainer (14 screws) to expose the LED lighting strip.

Not working.

Ideally, I would pull off the LED strip power connector and try and put some insulation around it to prevent the short. The LEDs are mounted on an aluminum bar (the silver strip along the bottom) that's grounded, so that's where the short is occurring. But Westinghouse decided to glue the connecter into place, so that's a no go. Next solution: fiddle with its placement as much as possible to try and get the offending wire out of contact with the aluminum bar. A few minutes later:

Missing is a photo of the intermediate step when I just had the left side LED strip lit up. I also reassembled it so that there's minimal pressure from the bezel around that connector. We'll see how long the fix lasts, as there's really no permanent fix that I can see that's available to me. Suggestion to Westinghouse engineers: save $0.05 by using fewer screws and buy nicer ribbon cables that won't self-fray and ruin your product. Suggestion to everybody reading this: don't buy a Westinghouse.
Verdict: 1/5. Would not buy again.
Update: 15 hours post-fix, TV is dead again. Never again, Westinghouse. Never again.

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