The lesson of the cheap TV


Categories: Personal

Okay, first things first: I don’t like Sony anymore. In the years since they made the TV I like, they’ve become a fairly nasty, evil, company, with a really strong commitment to screwing consumers. They are in every way diametrically opposed to any kind of rights for the consumers of media, and they go out of their way to introduce shiny new incompatibilities (Memory Stick, anyone?) for no reason other than to try to make themselves be the holders of the patent on a new toy.


I got a Sony 27” TV about ten years ago. It was \$500. It was a \$750 TV, with busted speakers, and Best Buy was selling off the display model. It came with a remote and a TV, but no manual or box.

It still works. It’s still got nice, clear, pictures. It still does picture-in-picture. It has S-video in on its main input, and it is smart enough to use a composite signal if the S-video jack is quiet.

Just under a year and a half ago, I wanted a second TV. I got the cheapest TV I could find which had an S-video jack, an Advent 20” TV, model #Q2035A. Right away, I found nuisances; for instance, this TV has no audio out jacks, so you have to use its speakers, or mess with signal levels on the headphone jack. You caan’t just run an audio cable to a reciever from it. Secondly, if there is a cable in the S-video jack, it simply ignores all composite signals. Finally, it has a set of video inputs on the side… which you cannot use if you’re using the ones on the back. This serves no function at all.

Anyway, the real problem is the way it fails completely a bit over a year after you get it. I’m not alone in this; a couple of other people have reported the exact same behavior. The failure mode is that, instantly upon being plugged in, it acts like it’s powering up fully, instead of going to standby mode. The little green LED comes on, and it makes tube warming noises… The only thing is, there’s no signal at all.

If you touch any of the buttons, whether power, or channel up/down, or input source select, it goes into standby mode, where it waits. You cannot turn it on.

What’s interesting is other people reporting the same mysterious behavior; powering up right away on being plugged in, and not displaying any signal.

What’s especially interesting is that it seems to do this reliably AFTER the one year warranty.,Q2035A/PRD_173757_2724crx.aspx#reviews

There’s a few other similar reports. Curious, huh?

Anyway, I’ve learned my lesson. No cheap TVs for me. The question is, who does decent TVs? Sony’s hostility to end-users strikes me as a major negative. Who else does a good job?

Comments [archived]

From: seebs_lawyer
Date: 2004-02-21 09:41:48 -0600

The horror of the decline of quality brands …

Once upon a time, Advent made excellent speakers at a reasonable price. Henry Kloss had a dream of bringing decent sound to consumers at a decent price. The original Advent loudspeaker was a simple two way design that put out a prodidious amount of bass from a (relatively) small enclosure. The upper midrange was a little weak, but it was (and is) a very nice speaker. The sound was much improved if you used two pairs wired in parallel.

They are readily available in thrift stores now. The most I have paid is $30.00 for a pair of first generation speakers with real walnut veneer in great shape.

The surrounds for the woofers “rot” out after about a decade. A lot of people think the speaker is ruined after this happens. Those of us willing to get our hands dirty know you just have to strip out the old, dried out surrounds and glue in new ones. Ten of twenty dollars later and you have a set of great speakers for a total cost of less than fifty bucks.

I like to buy ‘em. rebuild ‘em, and give ‘em away. I have a pair of Advent Loudspeakers in the vinyl utility cabinets sitting next to me right now destined for the home of a friend who loves music, but has always had crappy little steros. I already gave him a Pioneer SX-737 I rehabbed–I think he will need something with a little more power to drive the Advents. The acoustic suspension woofer is a power hog. Maybe one of the Sansuis …

Strangely enough, Henry Kloss, the founder of Advent, had a dream of bringing large screen television to the masses, just as he brought high quality speakers to the masses. He poured as much of the meager profits of Advent as he could into the project and eventually did produce one of the very first projection televisions avaialbe on the consumer market.

As well as Advent speakers, I have also picked up an old piece of Sony gear; specifically a STR-6040 receiver. I figure it was made about 1969. It is a beautiful piece, with a very “tall” look like a tube receiver, although it is solid state. The sound is very nice and mellow. I don’t use it very much because it only puts out about 17 watts so it has trouble driving my Advents and Genesis Physics speakers. All in all, though, it is a very nice and well-built piece of consumer electronics.

Fast forward … .

Advent changed hands at least two times. Henry Kloss was long gone. Advent’s products now, while not junk, are not the products it once made. My thirty year old Advent Loudspekers will absolutely WALK over any current advent speaker product. In short, the name Advent has is just a brand to be attached to whatever junk shows a profit margin.

I am not as familiar with the history of Sony consumer electronics. All I know is my old STR-6040 is a nice little unit that still puts out sound even though it is thirty years old. If I had some more efficient spekers, it could easily replace one of my stereo set ups. But if products last for thirty years, the manufacturer won’t have replacement sales.

From: seebs
Date: 2004-02-21 12:49:22 -0600

This “ADVENT” TV is really a remanufactured Chinese TV owned by “Prima” brands. The manual for it can be found for download on

So, yeah… Just a label. Sorta like Atari is dead, but Infogrames bought and reanimated the corpse.

From: Mike Estep
Date: 2004-03-30 20:07:58 -0600

I need to replace the woofer surrounds for my Advent speakers (30 years old). Where do you get the surrounds. Any tips on the replacement processs (I’ve never done this before). Thanks.

From: Dennis
Date: 2004-07-25 11:18:10 -0500

I need the info on how to replace the surrounds in the larger Advents too, please. Also need info on sources for potential replacement speakers, if surrounds can’t be replaced. Thanks much.

From: Rich
Date: 2004-12-06 18:02:40 -0600

I’m looking to buy a pair of “The New Advent Speaker”s

From: John Ervin
Date: 2005-04-03 22:48:52 -0500

I bought a new 27” Advent flatscreen TV about two years ago - I bought it because of the price, features, and the reputation of the speakers of the seventies. The sound quality leaves somthing to be desired, but I love the TV and everyone I know wants to buy it from me. It has exellent picture quality and color - and all of the connections you could possibly need on the back. Now that I know the history of the name - I am a bit dissapointed. However, I would buy another Advent television due to how happy I am with the one that I have.

From: Chuck
Date: 2005-04-12 20:50:49 -0500

I purchased an advent 27” television in sept. ‘03. I am very impressed with the picture quality and sound quality. I have however recently experienced a problem that I cannot find a soloution to. I was using a Philips Magnavox touch screen all in one remote with the Advent Tv, and upon pressing the CC button on the remote the television screen became a bunch of lines and I could not shut it off. After unplugging and replugging in the set, it reloaded with chinese subtitles (easily corrected through the menu), but also there was approx a 1 12 “ black bar on the top and bottom of the screen, and the picture now extends past the edge of the viewing surface. The picture is also curved at the edge of the screen. I was wondering if anyone has ever heard of this problem before and if there is any soloution for it??

From: Nancy Gould
Date: 2005-10-07 21:01:38 -0500

I found this site searching on “quiet advent tv”, because ours, after one year, is so quiet, even when pinned to 100, is impossible to hear if someone is eating pizza in the same room.

From: Lynette
Date: 2006-01-23 02:51:29 -0600

Advent stinks! We bought a 32 inch flat screen in 2003 as a wedding gift to ourselves and 1 year later the darn thing stopped working! the sound suddenly went out and the color too. We bought it from Best Buy and they wouldnt help because we didnt buy their warranty. (It was too expensive.) We tried 3 different places but nobody can fix it! I dont plan to ever buy any Advent product again and I dont want anything out of Bad Buy…uh Best Buy either. Thanks for letting me vent.

From: Bill
Date: 2006-02-05 11:31:17 -0600

Need help finding the surrounds that need replaced on my 30 year old advent large speakers and how to do it or where to buy replacemeent woofers. THANKS

From: Joe Mayer
Date: 2006-03-01 23:16:39 -0600

Re-foam kits can be found on E-Bay for around $20 and are really easy to do. Just do an advent search and you will find them. I have done this process with my genesis physics speakers and they sound great!

From: peter
Date: 2006-03-08 16:48:17 -0600

I just used a Phillips remote on an Advent TV.I clicked the CC button and experienced the same as Chuck April 12 2005. Chinese characters, lines everthing Chuck described.

Any ideas from anybody would be welcome.


From: kathy
Date: 2006-04-15 02:47:22 -0500

I got an advent tv about two years ago, its still working but it makes a high pitched noise for about ten minutes upon starting up. My question is, does anyone know if there any danger of it blowing up, blowing a fuse, or something along those lines? The noise varies as time goes by and after awhile either it subsides, I get used to it or it goes away completely.

got any clues?

From: Bruno
Date: 2006-05-11 01:02:31 -0500

I need NEW REPLACEMENT WOOFERS,TV shielded, for ADVENT 5002 (12”diamtr.?),AEO 01520, circa 1982, excllnt performance, possib. Rome, Italy or Europe.

Welcome notices about.

Thank You. Bruno

From: Jim
Date: 2006-06-12 21:13:08 -0500

I have a 20” Advent TV and have had no problems with it. My remote is wearing out and I can’t find codes to program a new one, any help out there?

From: Don
Date: 2006-08-08 09:46:33 -0500

Where can I buy a refurbished pair of Large Advent Speakers?

From: Tom
Date: 2006-09-19 13:31:41 -0500

I’m getting a new amplifier and need to know the impedance of my Advent speakers. The speaker has a 10 inch woofer and a 1 inch tweeter, the front of the enclosure measures 16” wide x 28” high with black grill and walnut base and top, and the Advent name is on the right of the base. No other information or identification. Thanks.

From: Sarah
Date: 2006-09-25 01:21:10 -0500

I bought my advent tv – the floor model at kmart – 1 12 years ago. It died tonight. As mentioned above, the picture is gone entirely.

Regarding the advent speakers, I was able to download the owner’s manual from the advent’s website, but it offers little information about product specifications.

If you can’t get that info on their site, let me know and I’ll give you what little info I have.

From: Ruth
Date: 2006-11-01 14:27:54 -0600

Wish I’d found this forum/blog earlier. Bought an Advent 27 “ TV 11/5/05, it went our- no picture –10/6/06- I have the extended warranty, but even though it’s not a year yet, that empty space may well have to stay empty….

What IS a good TV product anymore?

From: Jodi
Date: 2007-01-13 19:07:46 -0600

Bought a 15 inch LCD Advent tv day after Thanksgiving…it died tonight, not even 3 months later. Same as everyone else…no picture.

From: Jeff
Date: 2007-01-20 21:16:57 -0600


Ummm … why the hell would you expect a retailer to “help” you a year after you bought the TV? If you have a problem within the first year you ought to go to the company that actually manufactured your TV.

After one year, if you didnt buy an extended warranty, blame yourself for being penny wise and pound foolish. Did you even take any precautions like using a proper surge protector? I feel sorry that your TV failed but it’s your fault that you didnt take any precautions to protect your investment.

Every time you buy a digital TV you ought to get

1) a clean power unit to protect the ultra-sensitive digital circuitry

2) an extended warranty to protect your investment

If you can’t “afford” these “extra costs” for a certain TV then you ought to think about getting a cheaper TV. Welcome to the digital age.

From: Julio C
Date: 2007-01-28 00:02:53 -0600

does any one knows the remote control code for the universal remote control?

From: Richard
Date: 2007-03-02 14:49:18 -0600

Foam surrounds to repair the large Advent’s are available at Comes with a how-to DVD also.

From: Brian
Date: 2007-04-05 19:23:06 -0500

Like Jim, i too need the code to program another universal remote to control my tv, help as to what code this is would be greatly appreciated.

From: Robert
Date: 2007-04-28 07:52:33 -0500

Bought my 27” HD Advent TV (CRT) 1.5 years ago @ Best Buy (w/ Premium Warrenty). After 6 months horizontal deflection went up (single line in center of screen, audio OK). Repair center picked up @ house, returned 1 week later fixed. Last week same TV developed hour glass shaped picture. Repair center diagnosed as defective yoke, non servicable. Warrenty pro-rated me $400 towards purchase of new TV. I did not (will not) buy another Advent!

From: William H. Barham
Date: 2007-07-18 03:34:37 -0500

Glad I tripped over this site.

Some years back, many years actually, I read a review by Stereo Review and Julian Hirsch about some speakers that he said were very cheap but would stand up to any speakers on the market at the time. They were Advent and consisted of two smallish bookshelf speakers and a bigger sub woofer, the first I had ever seen. Does anyone remember what version or model number those speakers were? They may have been Advents first speakers?

I bought a pair along with the sub woofer and they sounded great, but they couldn’t stand up to my Bose 901’s at the time. Please e-mail if you can help. Thanks so much.. Bill

From: Jordan
Date: 2007-08-14 16:51:24 -0500

Hey Jeff, i never had any problems like this, nor have i ever had any electronics device fail on me since my 14 inch Daytek monitor that came with my computer purchased from Future Shop way back in 1997 when i was 12 and that was running on a surge protector, and it still failed so i fail to see how you can stick up for these multi-billion dollar companies that should be making good products, not shoddy pieces of crap, like how Wal-Mart and Costco get cheaper Sony products made from Mexico, and if your one of the unlucky ones (most aren’t unfortunately) within a couple years my dads 4,000 dollar 32 inch Sony was not only just past its warranty, but when we took it straight to Sony’s big repair shop in Coquitlam BC, they said after a few weeks that its “unfixable”, that was also always on a surge protector. And i knew right away that those sony guys looked inside and said, “he’s got one of those cheap costco units” (altho it was 4,000 dollars) and just said screw it, cuz they probably had to replace the whole tube, and then i start to wonder, whose fault is it really? I can tell you right now as someone who can fix almost anything without jury-rigging that most of these companies are looking to make a quick buck and if your in the minority they won’t pay crap for you, except for Microsoft who finally realized this problem when the x360 had way too many problems (much like the original xbox) and have extended their warranties on all xbox 360’s, because they were made cheaply, great graphics or not, PS3’s aren’t much different, just not as good warranty. So Jeff, i have to say you are quite an idiot, and should be hung along all the buisness men that rip people off everyday and hide behind “law” when you try and get them back. To me its like a “legalized” theif.

From: tommy
Date: 2007-10-20 12:26:57 -0500

Got an ADVENT H12751A digital HD and when the warranty ( 1yr ) went out the TV died wit no picture just blue screen ( video )where could I get a video part from or do I just junk it like the rest of digitals..bad product from the beginning seen the warning signs when I had to return it within 60 days ( Brandsmart Return Policy )because of the same problem, but was blindsided by the viewing, trash will never buy another ADVENT product….help

From: James
Date: 2007-11-17 12:37:01 -0600

I have an Advent ADV32L1 32 inch LCD TV, but it has no audio out jack. Does anyone know if and how I can use any of the other jacks to connect headphones to the tv?

From: Peedy
Date: 2008-02-27 07:05:29 -0600

Bought a 32” Advent LCD TV in Jan2006. Failed in Feb 2008. Will not switch on. It stays in standbye mode. The vendor wants me to get a diagnostic report including the methodology used before they will even consider reairing or refunding me. I find this deplorable when according to this site these were “known problems” or should have been.

From: Casey
Date: 2008-05-05 21:44:25 -0500

I have two of the same model 27” Advent TV’s, and within a month of each other, I also had the same problem Chuck did. Both acted funny, then showed Chinese characters and have bars on the top and bottom, with a run off screen. Did anyone ever find out if this is fixable? I have no more money to buy new TV’s..these were cheap, thats why I bought them…now I see why.

From: Julie
Date: 2008-05-16 16:27:37 -0500

My Advent HT3251A just died… no power or anything. Have had it for three years. this sucks.

From: Dick
Date: 2008-06-27 17:16:51 -0500

Advent ADV 32L1.

2 years old. Standby only. As mentioned above, Xoceoc company. Chinese crap. Designed to fail. Fuming! If above writer of “Get cover” mail would wake up. Cover worth nothing cos of get outs. Have found to cost in past. Also long term cover most of cost of replacement! *^ck it I’m going back into my studio with my bass.

From: diane
Date: 2008-10-15 09:43:08 -0500

I bought my Advent TV at Kmart about 2 years ago. Picture is still great but NO SOUND about 2 months ago. Any sugguestions? Thanks, Diane

From: june
Date: 2008-12-25 12:43:43 -0600

We have an Advent - we don’t use it alot but it works - except for the universal remote codes thats why we don’t use it- no remote after reading the above emails we are going to unplug the cable tv then try to find the codes? Our fav brand of tv is Hitachi we had one that lasted 20+ years. If anyone can help re: the remote I would appreciate it! thanks for all your help*