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Sony HS95P monitor problems and Sony response

Last response: in Computer Peripherals
December 23, 2005 12:11:57 AM

Unfortunately about 2 months ago (about a week before THG reviewed the Sony HS95P monitor), I purchased the Sony HS95P monitor. Immediately I noticed that the backlight dimmed or brightened when using Game or Movie mode when an object was placed or removed from the screen. Also when slow scrolling a document, I noticed that the characters in the document would dim and brighten. The monitor was brought back to Circuit City and tested on their system and the same results were seen. I then picked up another monitor (same model) and it had the same problems. I then went to Circuit City and Best Buy to try to reproduce the problems on their floor displays without success. Circuit City would charge a restocking fee if I returned the monitor so I decided to work with Sony to try to resolve the problem.

The Sony monitor was sent in for repair due to the 2 problems that their support personnel claimed that they never heard of. After being on the phone for the next 6 weeks trying to get the status of the monitor (excuses: Still in with tech, waiting on parts, the tech is very busy now, etc.), I finally got an e-mail saying that these problems are normal for that monitor and that they would be returning the monitor. The following is the reasons given by Sony.

Problem 1: The HS95P model has a specific feature on the game and movie picture setting. When using this setting, the backlight is adjusted automatically based on the input signal the monitor is using. This adjustment is a best attempt (using fluorescent tube backlighting) to increase and decrease the monitor contrast ratio when very bright and/or very dark images are displayed on the screen. The concept is to give brighter whites and darker darks with fast moving images. This is why the 3D flower screen saver creates such a dramatic shift in the backlight intensity. In addition, the action of clicking the windows start button with a specific amount of image intensity (i.e. specific background color/pattern) will elicit the same response from the display backlighting circuitry. This condition is completely normal for the display and thus is not a defect.

Problem 2: When the user is in the PC and/or auto mode a very different condition is set within the display but both conditions use the same adjustment feature. For both the PC and auto mode, it is assumed that the user wants a very accurate and stable picture. Unlike the moving video pattern assumed with the movie and game modes, when the PC/auto mode is set, the display will "take its time" to adjust the picture for an optimum setting. What this translates to is a very slight amount of drag on the screen when displaying text which can easily be mistaken
for backlight intensity adjustment. Since display accuracy is not as critical on a moving picture BUT image speed is, this drag will not occur on the movie and game mode setting. Again, this is completely normal with this display and thus problem 2 is not a defect either.

I suspect that the problems are caused by response time issues as stated in the review by THG. Since I'm not a gamer, the backlight dimming/brightening problem is not a big issue since I just won't use those modes. However, the scrolling issue is a major annoyance.

The scrolling problem shows up in the following ways.

1> When scrolling slowly (slightly erratic) using the scroll bar on a page, the text flashes.

2> When using the down arrow (slow smooth scrolling) on the scroll bar, the text will either go dimmer and remain dimmed until the scrolling is stopped or become darker and remain darker until the scrolling is stopped. It will work either way depending on the color of the text and background of the page.

The strange thing is that graphics on the page does not dim or brighten when they are scrolled on the page. Is this really a response time problem since it appear that the graphics scrolls cleanly or does this monitor have some problem with the character generator also?
January 5, 2006 6:20:04 PM

I have had the identical problem - both auto and pc mode with pulsating light. The 4 month old monitor was sent for repair at the end of November. It was identified as need ing a new TFT panel. According to Sony, they come from Barcelona and are very hard to get. After much aggro and confusion at Sony, I got it back yesterday with a new panel. The new panel (it says manufactured November) seems very inferior with only about a 10 degree viewing angle before picture degradation - and very different colour settings. I have checked and both old and new screens had settings "as delivered". The new one goes back next week.
January 6, 2006 3:49:51 PM

If sony says thats how its designed and is functioning normally and you dont like it, return it if they still let you. You could try to avoid a restocking fee by exchanging for a different model if they have another you like.