Thursday, April 03, 2008

What's the Buzz...? [UPDATED!!!]

I know I lose some of you on these tech entries, but I do them to keep a document alive. For me to reference in the future and for other people to stumble upon if they've got similar issues.

Full disclosure time, on my new, 50" flat-panel plasma screen...

Samsung FP-T5084

About two weeks into owning it, it started making a noise. I looked it up on the internet and a lot of people report a "buzzing" problem with this model.

Mine has been more of a squealing. Almost like a teapot boiling water. High-pitched, audible whether the volume's all the way up or all the way down.

Seems to be affected by onscreen imagery. The screen goes mostly black, the sound might cut out completely. Only to come back once brighter imagery prevails.

The Samsung FAQ suggests that a "buzz" may occur if the brightness/contrast is set too high... which almost sounds like it might be my issue, but turning the brightness/contrast down to nil doesn't affect my squealing sound one jot.

What *might* be worse is that this migraine-inducing noise is not consistent. It can go away for a really long time. And it can stay on for a really long time.

THIS is a concern because I've got a Samsung-approved tech scheduled to visit me Thursday, sometime between 10am and 5pm. (From WILLISTON PARK TV.) If I can't get it to make that noise when the tech arrives—and if he's not familiar with the issue... well, I just don't want this to be the beginning of a big tech-problem saga, like my infamous Time Warner cable box problem the other month. And there's a real chance he may have to take the TV into the shop, which would leave me *painfully* TV-less for an unknown stretch...


Technician arrived a little past noon. Nice enough guy.

Don't ask me how, but I'd managed to set up my TV so that it was squealing/chirping like crazy.

I turned the volume all the way down so that he could hear it...

He furrowed his brow. Placed his head near the screen. Stepped around and tried to listen to the backside.

"Where is it...?"

An older man, maybe in his late 40s, early fifts. Human beings hear less and less as they age. As loud as it was, I was afraid he might not be able to hear it at all...

And then --

"Oh... that little chirping sound?"

He was decidedly unimpressed with the noise. But quickly diagnosed it as a "power supply" issue -- which is what I'd read it was on the AVS FORUM, which made me feel better.

I helped him flip the flat panel around so that he could perform the operation necessary to replace the power supply board. As we went, he proceeded to go on a gentle, fatherly rant about how there's always gonna be "SOME noise" and some people seem to want absolute silence which you'll never achieve.

I momentarily considered presenting a counter-argument. That he's driving all over the noisy city all day, he spends a few minutes with a defective television—he might not be the best judge of what an acceptable level of noise is.

But I chose not to argue it. He was fixing the problem and that's all that mattered. And I was thankful that he knew what it was so quickly and didn't need to "take it into the shop".

Sooo... problem solved? Crisis averted? For now, at least. You'll, of course, be forced to read about it again if the problem returns, or if new ones arise.


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