By Craig Zammit and James Wells

SYDNEY: Samsung Australia has distanced itself from the three Bravia LCD televisions which have been identified by Sony Australia as requiring an upgrade to its proprietary software to avoid malfunction after 1,200 hours of use.

To produce the Bravia LCDs, Sony entered into a $US2 billion partnership with Samsung called S-LCD, to create seventh generation motherglass for the televisions. Samsung has since begun construction of an eighth generation factory without Sony’s investment.

“The software is Sony proprietary software which is not featured in the Samsung LCDs, even though the glass is sourced for panels from both companies,” said Samsung corporate marketing – general manager, Kurt Jovais.

The affected models include the KLV-V26A10, KLV-V32A10, KLV-40A10 and the KF-E42A10.

Sony has confirmed it will not recall the televisions, but it will conduct site visits, which could involve to up to 400,000 households worldwide.

“That’s a lot of site visits,” said an executive from one of Sony Australia’s local flat screen competitors, who did not wish to be identified.

The problem with the television involves a firmware failure which, after 1,200 hours of use, will either fail to switch off when the power is in ‘on’ mode or will not switch on when in ‘stand by’ mode.

“We have informed our customers via notices on our website, and our customer contact centre is scheduling free site visits for the upgrade to be performed. I would like to stress that not all units in the market are affected and that there aren’t any safety issues surrounding the matter,” said Sony product manager LCD/plasma/home projectors, Graham Keogh.

“Furthermore, while the affected sets will not show any symptoms for several months, we are offering the simple upgrade now in order to pre-empt any incidence. We urge customers to check their model’s serial number before calling the customer contact centre, and of course we regret any inconvenience to our customers," he said.

Consumers who purchased the Sony Bravia or Grand Wega televisions in question before November 2005 in Australia, Asia (including Japan and China) or North America are advised to contact the Sony customer contact centre on 1300 13 7669.