BBC Watchdog Comes Under Fire Over Playstation 3 Criticisms

Japanese manufacturer Sony has lambasted BBC's flagship consumer programme Watchdog for exposing the "Yellow Light Of Death", a well-known technical issue with the Playstation 3 Console.

According to a number of experts that the BBC has consulted when preparing the programme, the problem might have been linked to what is essentially bad soldering.

Those in the business of repairing PS3 Consoles, say that heating the console's motherboard enough to make the solder re-flow should help making the console functional again.

The Yellow Screen of Death tends to occur between 18 and 24 months after the original purchase, possibly as the hardware starts to fatigue. This is well outside the one-year warranty, which means that PS3 owners have to fork out around money to get their PS3 repaired.

Sony would charge them £128 to do so and it does come with free delivery and collection and did point out to the fact that only 12,500 of the 2.5 million or so gaming console sold have been affected by the technical fault.

This amounts to only 0.5 percent of the PS3 user base, significantly less (by some estimates 30 times less) than Microsoft much-loathed "red ring of death".

Others have also pointed out that the accepted failure rate of any hardware in the electronics industry is around 5 percent, far more than Sony's publicly published figures.

Sony also criticised what it calls a stunt by the BBC who sent technicians in a van outside Sony London headquarters to offer free repairs for out-of-warranty YLoD-stricken consoles.

The console manufacturer added that the exercise "treats with inappropriate levity an issue which may do serious damage to...the Sony and PS3 brands" to which the BBC replied that "we presented a fair and accurate account of their stories, using expert advice and we broadcast Sony's response".

Our Comments

We haven't seen the programme yet but this gives us a reason to do so which is what sensationalist journalism is all about: attracting eyeballs. We don't remember seeing the Xbox 360 featured and it would have been better if BBC Watchdog actually pitted all three major consoles against each other in a comparison over failure rates. Now where is Which? when we need it.

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