Vizio, Hisense Dispute Poor TV Reliability Ratings

Vizio has issued a scathing rebuttal to the results of a Consumer Reports (CR) TV reliability survey that led the magazine to remove its “recommended” designation from seven Vizio TV models.

The report also singled out Hisense and removed the “recommended” badge from two of its TVs.

Findings of the survey led CR to “estimate that 20 percent of Hisense and Vizio TVs will experience a problem within the first five years” and assigned both brands a “predicted reliability” rating of Fair, which precludes them from being eligible to receive a recommended designation. In the survey, 97,554 consumers who bought a new TV between 2010 and 2018 were asked “whether their televisions broke or stopped working as they should.”

The survey did not reveal what sorts of problems were encountered with TVs from specific brands, but participants were asked “what problems they experienced with their TVs overall, regardless of brand or when the issues started.” Slow or inconsistent internet connectivity and streaming apps that freeze were the most common complaints, according to the report.

In a press release issued late Friday, Vizio said it was “inaccurately represented” and described the survey as “deeply flawed.” The statement went on to characterize the report’s conclusions as “inconsistent with actual Vizio data.”

Hisense also objected to the report’s conclusions and wrote in an email to CR: "As the fastest-growing TV brand among the top six brands, with defective rates of less than 4 percent, we stand by the quality and longevity of our TVs and are committed to developing products that speak to the premium technology advances consumers demand, regardless of the category of TV they purchase."

In its lengthy press statement, Vizio took issue with the survey, noting that it provides no context, no definitions, and no further information to help consumers understand the question; instead, it conflates or confuses the idea of ‘breakage’ with minor frustrations such as internet disruptions or third-party streaming services that failed to load quickly.”

Vizio said the common complaint of inconsistent internet connectivity is “an issue that may have more to do with a home's Internet environment, ISP or other factors not actually attributable to the TV itself” and said the survey is not clear on whether its reliability rating refers to operability or usability. “It inherently assumes that TVs from 2010 should behave the same as TVs today in terms of performance. Over the survey period, TVs have evolved from relatively static non-Internet connected hardware to connected devices reliant upon software integrations and other technological innovations.”

The TV company also faulted CR for not collecting data on the causes of problems or even their symptoms, or the percentage of total TVs that were connected vs. non-connected…” and said the survey “skews toward a narrow demographic that is not representative of the entire purchasing public…”

Requests for more information about the survey’s methodology and results were declined, according to Vizio, which further lambasted the report for making “nonsensical predictions about the ‘reliability’ of future TVs.”

mround's picture

You make TVs that are spyware. Not just contain it, are. Their purpose is to collect data on the supposed owners that can be sold to advertisers (at least).

That doesn't let CR off the hook. Their "testing" and surveys have gone downhill a lot over time. At one time, they provided actual test results; now it's just dot summaries. For TVs, they appear to assume that everybody has cable or internet, so there's no need to even mention tuner (OTA) performance. They appear to assume that everybody has at least a soundbar if not a HT setup, so they don't even mention sound quality any more. And the surveys generally ask very generic questions.

Even so, they provide a useful data point. And for TVs, internet performance *is* an issue. Personal anecdote (with an old Panasonic plasma) - if I want to stream something, it works better to use the apps in the semi-old Samsung Bluray player connected to the TV than the TV itself, ON THE SAME INTERNET CONNECTION. So if people are complaining about hinky internets on the TVs, I can sympathize - only, to make the comment more useful, a survey question about the type of internet connection and possibly about whether any alternative connections such as a media player were tried (the latter, to focus on whether it's the wire or the TV) might have been informative.

HMB's picture

It died after 3 year warranty was up. Luckily I had an extended warranty with Costco and got a new TV (LG).
Video went totally dead. I think it was the power supply boards. In 2012-13 a bunch of "bad" electrolytic capacitors were installed in many TV's built overseas.

jgirado's picture

I have a Samsung PN60F8500 60-Inch that began to show vertical black lines after 3 years. Unfortunately, I didn't buy the extended warranty at Best Buy (silly me). Since it's a plasma it can't be repaid (or so they told me).
So I bought the Vizio PQ65-F1 at Costo and paid for an extended warranty, but I didn't have to wait for that much. From the beginning, ARC wasn't working properly and after 4 months the screen began to turn on/off/on (flicker) after 1.5hs or so of use. Vizio support was very good, they scheduled an appointment and replaced the main board. Now it's working fine (an ARC too). But I come to realize that like it or not, after a certain price threshold, you should always buy an extended warranty, no matter the brand. Sad.

aopu.mohsin's picture

It's very sad and unfortunate how the consumer electronics world has changed over the last few decades.

I remember how ecstatic and proud my dad was when he became an owner of a Technics Hi-Fi Deck Set back in early 90s that was made in Japan. Sure it wasn't really that cheap, but by golly, did it have the extraordinary look and sound quality! Almost 30 years later, he still enjoys music from this unit, and never complained about any major issues. He also held onto his Japan-made old Panasonic Tube TV for the longest time, until we (all his kids) pushed him to get a flat panel HDTV. After all those years, that Panasonic TV only developed a volume issue in its later time.

I am in my 40s now, and have certainly seen and experienced the shift in quality and durability in consumer electronics. Most of the electronics companies seem to make their electronics to last only for few/certain years. Cell phones are probably the worst. I am sure, everyone has some sort of stories to tell about their appliances. And, aside from very few Japanese car brands, we all know how latest automobiles have serious reliability issues and their costly maintenance costs. And TVs?! Good luck if you buy any TV without extended warranties.

What happened to the quality, durability to consumer electronics these days? Don't the electronics companies take pride in their products anymore? Or is it all about just profit or numbers for them? Customer service is a hit or miss and often inconsistent. It has become very hard for me to shop for any new TV these days, although I am long due for a new one. OLED TVs seem to have image retention issue, LCDs suffer from soap opera effect and off-axis viewing issues along with other ones. Every time I go to Costco, I have this instant urge to pick up a new 4K TV, but I always end up getting nothing, as I can't decide which one has the least number of problems or limitations.

I guess, I will just keep enjoying my old, trustworthy Panasonic 1080p Plasma TV that is almost 10 years old. It still puts out a stellar picture quality, and knock on woods, never had to get serviced!