Disappointed in Sony – LCD TV Servere HDMI Sound Issues (KDL-52V5100)

So the wife and I love to play Xbox 360 together and up until recently we only had a single 32″ LCD TV (Sony) that we’ve had for nearly 4 years and it has been an amazing problem-free TV. We decided to pick up a second Xbox 360 and a new TV and we figured if we were going to get a new TV we might as well get something we really like and ended up choosing a Sony 52″ LCD TV because it’s a beautiful TV, has a wonderful picture, and we’ve had amazing performance out of our current Sony LCD TV. As it turns out our decision to choose the Sony TV was a mistake.

I’ll admit that I didn’t do the appropriate research before choosing this TV and had I done so I likely would have avoided this model but at this point it’s too late to do anything about it. Almost daily the TV will begin having HDMI sound issues where the sound signal loses it’s continuity – it sounds almost as though somebody is muting and then unmuting the sound very quickly once every second or so which is at the least very annoying and it doesn’t stop there. About 5 minutes after the sound begins having issues it will start to cut out for extended periods of time of up to 15 or 20 seconds and then go back to cutting in and out quickly. Sometimes the sound simply drops out all together and doesn’t come back – the solution to all of these problems is to unplug the TV and to plug it back in. We’ve tried simply powering off the TV, switching HDMI ports, switching Xbox 360s, trying other HD input sources, trying different HDMI cables and the result is that the TV has issues.

I hope that this article will come up in a search and help anybody considering this model to choose another less problematic TV. I’m not trying to bash Sony here (they do make some good products) but they obviously didn’t test this TV thoroughly and once the issue was reported they did release a software update that hasn’t fixed the issue. When I called Sony about this they told me that I had the latest software on the TV (which I had already verified on my own) and that there was no solution to the issue.

I uploaded a clip of the TV acting up – it’s fairly long and I do discuss the issues with my wife a little in the background. I was holding an Xbox 360 controller as well as the TV remote during most of the video. I did hit Mute a couple of times during the video to demonstrate that we’re not just muting the sound (it would show up in the bottom left hand corner) and to illustrate that it’s an issue with the TV.

Update – 04/23/2010

So after doing a lot of research and reading I managed to get my hands on a “secret” copy of the firmware for this TV with a release date of 12/04/2009 which is 4 months newer than the latest version on the site and that was previously on the TV.  This came directly from a Sony engineer here in the US and due to the nature of the firmware it wipes out all existing settings on the TV (any customizations made to picture, etc) which is why it’s not posted on the site or so that is what I was told.

I’ve installed the new software, tweaked all of my settings back and so far so good.  We played about 5 hours of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 without any HDMI audio issues and personally I think the picture looks brighter/better than it did previously but that could just be me looking closer than I did before.  I’ll definitely update this post in a couple of weeks after I’ve had enough time to conclusively say that it’s resolved the HDMI sound issues and if that’s the case I’ll make a download of the firmware available.  If you have this TV and want to try the firmware drop me a comment and I’ll get it over to you via email.