The market is full of fake tvs that don’t seem to last for a year. Some miraculously last for five years and stop working. People take their hard earned money to buy an LED tv for their family, only for it to stop working within months. There are no words to express the sadness on our kids’ faces when they can no longer watch their favorite cartoons, because the TVs are not working, and there’s no money to pay for the repair.
I bought a VON tv for KES 33K (a 33 inch tv) sometime back in 2016 only for it to stop working after serving me for three years. As I got on a boda boda to take it to a repair guy, I started talking to the nduthi guy about my tv woes. But he surprised me when he told me that I was lucky because he bought a tv from an online store, and it turned black (i.e. stopped working) within months.
The truth is that the life cycle for most LED tv brands in our market is frustratingly short. So what should we do and where should we go for backlight repair?
Read on to figure this out, plus more.
The Backlights in The LED Tv
Let’s go to class for a moment and learn what an LED tv is all about. A LED Tv (Light Emitting Diodes) refers to a type of LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) television that uses light-emitting diodes to backlight the display in the tv.
The LED Tv is the most popular make in the market because it has low power requirements. This tv can convert power to light more efficiently. Each manufacturer has their own way of lighting the Tv. But as a rule of thumb, the fewer the LEDs the cheaper the Tv.
The Frustrating LED Market
The LED tvs come with some common problems. When it goes blank, the common issue is the power unit behind the Tv. Sudden power surges disrupt the power supply as they cause a leak or bulge in the capacitors on the power supply board. A common issue in most houses is power surges. As such,it is always advisable to invest in a quality electrical extension that comes with a surge protector (I prefer England made extensions and they are available in all leading supermarkets).
Secondly, it is advisable to treat your Tv the same way we handle a fridge. Most people use a fridge guard to protect their fridges from unstable voltages. You should invest in a fridge/tv guard to protect your tv as well.
Leaving your flash drive on the tv can also spoil it. Most people don’t know this but leaving the flash drive plugged in all the time can cause mechanical damage due to overheating.
The truth is that today’s electronics have a short life span. Whereas this may be tolerable in the developed world, to the common mwananchi (#wanjiku) this is an added expense and a frustrating experience. Whatsmore, the environmental impact of electronics with a short-lifespan is catastrophic.
Remember The Golden Rule: Cheap Is Expensive
After going through the painful experience of a spoilt tv, I dedicated to follow in the footsteps of my father and invest in the brands that have an outstanding reputation. I am talking about the likes of LG, Samsung, Panasonic, and Sony. I invested in a Samsung tv that came with its own AD/DC adapter, and e-manual, and a sleek appearance. Overall, I find that this brand lives up to its goal of providing smart living and great value. Samsung remains the best tv brand in Kenya.
Still, there are modern brands in the market that have some positive reviews. Some of the best tv brands in kenya are:-
Check out this video on the best tv brands in Kenya here. But the truth is that some brands automatically rise to the top (e.g. LG, Samsung, Sony) and if you want something good, you’ll have to budget and spend for it.
Separate The Quality From The Fakes
The frustrating LED market is also suffering from fakes. But there are ways that you can protect yourself from this. One of the best ways to tell if your tv is original is to buy from reputable stores e.g. Carrefour, Quickmart, e.t.c. Alternatively, you could look for an authorized distributor for the brand you are interested in.
The sad reality is that 60% of the electronics in developing countries are clones or fake. Most of them are made in China and shipped into the country. Still, this is not China’s fault. Remember that Apple’s iPhone and iPad are made in China. The issue is that there’s a demand for cheap products. So, dealers go to the country to ask for fake or substandard products that they’ll sell to the uninformed customer.
To protect yourself from the fakes, it would be best if you:-
- Check for a product review on youtube about the model or make you want to buy.
- Look for the manufacturer’s official website and see if they have guidelines on how to spot a fake.
- Check the serial number online.
- Ensure you get a warranty card with information on how to claim your warranty.
- Know the manufacturer’s customer care hotline in the country.
In most instances a fake tv tends to be unbelievably cheap compared to its price online. E.g. The Samsung UA-24H4100 Full HD Flat LED TV: SERIES 4 goes for KES20,995. If you get it from a store in town that sells it at KES10,000 then you are definitely buying a fake (unless there’s a promotion on that tv).
Fake tvs also tend to come in an attractive package and have no manual. Some have a manual that’s not comprehensive and don’t come with documentation that you would get if it were original.
Where Do You Buy An Original TV?
Personally, I have always bought my tv from the leading supermarkets in the country. Still, it helps to check the serial number online and do a bit of tv research before settling on where to buy it. You can check out the authorized dealers of the brand you want, and you can check out online to get some information on what you want.
It would help if you avoid researching on the basis of “the cheapest deal in the land.” If you find a brand that you want and it’s a bit costly, then you can set a date when you’ll buy it and save up for it. There are great tools like Mshwari and Wezesha wallet, that you can use to save up for the tv of your dreams.
Also, when you go tv shopping, be calm and try not to show the dealer that you are informed. Simply put, don’t be too smart or too forward. Instead, be cool, calm and collected. Request the dealer to give you the original one.
One of the questions in most people’s minds is where do you buy an original tv? Again, with so many fakes in the market, it is quite a challenge to get an authentic brand that’s durable, efficient and affordable. But here are some pointers that will help you get the best deal:-
- Don’t buy a tv without a warranty
- Buy directly from the authorized distributor or from Carrefour (this supermarket is yet to disappoint). In short, if you are buying locally, then buy from a seller with high integrity and support.
- You can look for someone who has the exact type of tv that you want and familiarize yourself with its features. Also, you can check online reviews and utilize youtube.
- Make sure you get an invoice or receipt for your tv.
- If you like shopping in online stores in the U.S. or U.K, make sure you get a credible seller. Again, I avoid Jumia like a plague. I’ve heard complaints about their electronics, tvs, laptops, and phones. There’s a growing concern whether Jumia products are genuine. The argument is 50/50 with some claiming that they are (including the company) and others claiming that they are not. Overall, it’s up to you to decide if you want to use a local online store.
- Remember to search the serial number online.
How To Ensure Your LED Tv Lasts Longer
Earlier we talked about the flashdrive and the need to use a fridge/tv guard. There are other helpful things that you can do to make your LED tv last longer.
- Make sure your tv gets good ventilation. One of the reasons LED Tvs fail is because they tend to overheat. You can prevent this from happening by ensuring that there’s space between your tv and the wall (at least 4 inches of space). Most people mount their LED tvs on the wall, but this may lead to overheating. Maybe you should consider placing it on a stand or entertainment center.
- Turn the tv off from the main switch. This is a great idea when you head off to sleep at night or when you head off to work and no one is left at home. This will not only help you to save energy but ensures the longevity of your device.
- Don’t leave the tv on if you are not watching.
- Adjust the contrast levels. The higher the contrast levels the more your tv uses power and deteriorates. You should adjust the contrast to standard or movie for the best experience. Avoid vivid or dynamic contrasts as the lights on your tv will burn faster.
- Adjust the brightness levels. At the showroom or in supermarkets, they usually enhance the brightness level to attract the seller. Don’t maintain this brightness level when you purchase the device. Instead, opt for ‘medium room’, ‘home’ or standard light.
- Read the manufacturer’s manual and follow their guideline.
- Don’t set the tv where it is likely to accumulate dust e.g. near the floor or an open window with direct sunlight and dust coming in.
- Avoid leaving your tv in standby mode.
Where To Go For Backlight Repair
As the saying goes, “Once the repairer opens that device, then that’s the beginning of the end.” The truth is that we have a history of taking devices to a repairer only for the device to end up getting damaged again. As such, if you want LED repair services you consider leveraging social media e.g. Facebook to look for a credible technician. Make sure you check out the reviews for the technician before reaching out to them.
Face to face recommendations are another way you can get a good repair guy. You can ask around from your friends or neighbors if they know a good technician who can get the job done.
Also, if you are a fan of gadgets and love fixing things, you can check out DIY (Do It Yourself) videos on how to repair LED backlights on youtube.
Alternatively, you can sell it (at a throw-away price) and buy a new model.
Many manufacturers are pushing LED tvs at affordable prices. But it would help if you did a bit of research before buying one and practice caution when buying. Also, remember to take care of your tv by following the guidelines from the manufacturer and the other tips that we’ve shared in this article. Always go for a reputable dealer and don’t be afraid to sacrifice a little bit of extra cash to get the best device.
Most reputable sellers have deals at around the holiday season. If you’re short on cash, then you can work towards buying a good tv at that time. Still, check out the serial number and ensure you get a warranty and an invoice for the tv.