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HDTV Reliability and Satisfaction: LG is the Brand to Beat

HDTV reliability and service
Illustration by Florafauna
Among our readers, at least, LG seems to have emerged as the brand to beat in the high-definition television market. Readers gave LG sets high marks for ease of use and reliability (along with Panasonic), as well as for features such as connection ports and the remote control. Mitsubishi owners, on the other hand, were dissatisfied with their HDTVs' design, durability, and ease of use.

Highlighted in the two charts below are our survey participants' ratings of HDTV manufacturers in two general areas: reliability and features. These results are drawn from our 2011 Reliability and Service survey of some 63,000 PCWorld readers. The other product categories covered in this survey were desktop PCs, laptop PCs, tablets, digital cameras, printers, and smartphones. For a closer look at the methodology we used in our survey to gauge manufacturer reliability and customer satisfaction, see "Reliability and Satisfaction: What the Measures Mean."

Notes and Quotes

In the HDTV portion of our R&S survey, we found some statistical details and some comments from PCWorld readers worth highlighting:

• Among HDTV owners regardless of model, 46.6 percent said that they were less than completely satisfied with their set's speakers. Though Magnavox received positive marks on this measure at the highest rate of any HDTV manufacturer, 31 percent of Magnavox TV owners still were not completely satisfied with their speakers' sound.

• On our ease-of-use measures, the manufacturers with the highest approval rates ("extremely satisfied" or "very satisfied") were Panasonic and LG; meanwhile, Mitsubishi and Sony limped to back-of-the-pack finishes on these measures.

• "I'm very pleased with design, screen clarity, ease-of-use of the remote; and it's very light for its size." --LG HDTV owner

• "Mitsubishi bought defective light engines from a manufacturer. TVs with this part are developing white spots. I have contacted Mitsubishi; the part has been ordered. I shall see if they want to charge me for their problem." --Mitsubishi HDTV owner

• "The bulb went out, and some kind of motor quit. Had we not purchased the EXPENSIVE extended warranty, which replaced it, we would have had a 65" piece of 3-year-old junk." --Mitsubishi HDTV owner

Reliability

Four HDTV vendors received better-than-average marks on two of our four reliability measures: Both LG and Panasonic won kudos for "any significant problems" and "overall satisfaction with reliability"; Magnavox drew praise for its record on "problem on arrival" and "severe problem"; and Sharp distinguished itself on "any significant problem" and "severe problem." Relatively few manufacturers got tagged with worse-than-average grades on our reliability measures, but Mitsubishi ran the table with negatives--a sign that it needs to reexamine its quality assurance processes.

The oddball result on this chart relates to Samsung, which received one of two worse-than-average marks (for "severe problem") assigned to a vendor other than Mitsubishi and yet scored one of only three better-than-average marks (along with LG and Panasonic) for "overall satisfaction with reliability." We're not sure what to make of that anomoly.

LG and Panasonic Score Best in HDTV Reliability

BRANDProblem on arrivalAny significant problemSevere problemOverall satisfaction with reliability
LG Average Better than average Average Better than average
Panasonic Average Better than average Average Better than average
Magnavox Better than average Average Better than average Average
Sharp Average Better than average Better than average Average
Insignia Average Better than average Average Average
RCA Better than average Average Average Average
Sony Average Average Better than average Average
Westinghouse Average Average Better than average Average
JVC Average Average Average Average
Olevia Average Average Average Average
Pioneer Average Average Average Average
Samsung Average Average Worse than average Better than average
Toshiba Average Average Average Average
Vizio Average Average Average Average
Philips Average Average Average Worse than average
Mitsubishi Worse than average Worse than average Worse than average Worse than average

Better than average Better than average Average Average Worse than average Worse than average

Features

On our features measures for HDTV manufacturers, LG, Samsung, and Sony were the stars. LG chalked up better-than-average marks on five of the eight criteria, including the only plus score on the chart for "warranty." Samsung an Sony followed close behind, with four and three positives, respectively. At the bottom of the heap, with two negatives and no positives, are a clutch of vendors: Insignia, JVC, Philips, and Westinghouse. Still, no manufacturer scored exceptionally poorly on features.

LG, Samsung Owners Are Most Satisfied With Their HDTV's Features

BRAND3D image qualityBuilt-in speakerDesignOperating noisePortsRemote controlWarrantyWeb-connected features
LG Average Average Better than average Average Better than average Better than average Better than average Better than average
Samsung Average Average Better than average Better than average Better than average Better than average Average Average
Sony Average Better than average Average Average Better than average Average Average Better than average
Magnavox N/A Better than average Average Average Average Average Average N/A
Olevia N/A Average Average Better than average Average Average Average N/A
RCA N/A Average Average Average Average Average Average N/A
Sharp Average Average Average Average Average Average Average Average
Toshiba Average Average Average Average Average Average Average Average
Mitsubishi Worse than average Average Average Average Average Average Average Average
Panasonic Better than average Average Average Average Worse than average Average Average Worse than average
Pioneer N/A N/A Average Average Average Worse than average Average N/A
Vizio Average Average Worse than average Average Average Worse than average Average Better than average
Insignia N/A Average Worse than average Worse than average Average Average Average Average
JVC N/A Average Average Worse than average Worse than average Average Average N/A
Philips Average Average Worse than average Average Average Average Average Worse than average
Westinghouse N/A Average Average Worse than average Average Average Worse than average N/A

Better than average Better than average Average Average Worse than average Worse than average

N/A = Not available (too few responses to rate the company on this measure).

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