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TV companies paying for a good review?

Discussion in 'Televisions' started by Bristol Pete, Feb 13, 2003.

  1. Bristol Pete

    Bristol Pete
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    Firsty, if possible, please read my last post found here.

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=67674

    I have heard this said before, but does anyone else think that some electrical compnaies who produce and sell AV gear could actually sway a magazine review with lets say, a few quid in the back pocket of a writer?

    It happens in the video game industry, so what are the chances of it happening in the AV media?

    As, like everything in life, its subjective, but to me, lately, reviews seem to differ wildly from mag to mag, and yet with my own eyes, the Thomson set that was dismissed out of hand in one magazine clearly produced the best picture.

    I think that maybe I will stop buying AV mags once my new TV is in place as I have learnt that like my AV amp and DVD player, everything changes but you.

    The quesion I have to ask is under what circumstance do they test these sets, for how long and so on. Would I really only notice niggles after a two week bedding in period, despite the fact that I spent a good hour and a half looking at one set in comet, which provided me with enough evidence to ratify many reviews.

    As evidence to this, I refer to the fact that in the recent Av media, the Sony PX2 which has many happy owners here has been described as having a soft picture. Yet, shaun the dude has advised people that the sharpness can be adjusted from an off air image as this actually sharpens up an RGB image.

    It seems that magazines summarise the sets, hey dont actually live with them. So, is that a fair review.

    Any thoughts?


    Thanks
     
  2. ryanos

    ryanos
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    I would not be surprised if this was happening just for the fact of the difference in opinions that I have seen between reviews and this forum.......two examples that spring to mind are the Sony fq75 which I have seen rated in a mag as a 10/10 set yet you try finding a good review on these forums for it, and the Philips pixel+ which I have seen rated at 9/10 'best buy' I bought the Philips on the strength of the review (and a reccomendation from a friend it has to said..........some friend) and was really dissapointed with its performance so I sent it back but it did also win EISA euro Tv of the year!!!.....again mixed reviews on this set but in the main probably less good compliments than bad:confused:

    I'm not saying that either of these companies have chucked a bung at the reviewers but it seems that either the reviewers have not got a clue ( or look at the sets for 2 minutes) or something else is going on:(
     
  3. leeoh

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    Don't know about paying for, but for sure the mags have gotta make a living like everyone else. Remember the mags are dependent on selling advertising space to raise revenue from dealers and manufacturers alike. In turn this gives joe public a reason to buy the mags i.e. keep upto date with new developments, new equipment reviews, advice about what to buy and not to buy, dealers looking to entice you to buy from them once you've decided what you want.

    So it figures that if the mags reviewed products properly and came to the same conclusions as people on this forum and printed accordingly, for sure more mags would sell to Joe public as they make for a damm good read like some tabloid newspapers and up the circulation figures.

    But this would be short lived as certain manufactuers get ****** off with their products being exposed for what and publicised as such, they don't co-operate with submitting stuff for review = no new stuff to review = no reason to buy next month's edition so nothing to sell next months edition on = drop in circulation numbers as nothing new to read = big drop in advertising revenue from dealers and manufacturers who look elsewhere to reach maximum % of target audience for their advertising budget = mag ultimately goes bust :suicide:

    So in the end its about keeping the manufactuers sweet, rehashing their press releases, and being journalists they are professionals in choosing the right words to convince anyone at the end of a review a certain product featured is the best and only one in the world they would be happy with.

    caveat emptor...
     
  4. nathan_silly

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    I do know of someone who reviewed items, if he gave good reviews he got to keep that reviewed item.

    for example... Lexicon MC-12. Excellent!

    Aiwa £50 subwoofer. Rubbish.

    and so on...

    Easy way to aquire a top-end system! :p
     
  5. bash

    bash
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    Im positive that this goes on in all magzines. Its put me off reading reviews tbh.

    The amount of garbage that What Hifi as well as a few others go on about, and when you demo the thing its not half as good as they've made out to be. Then you realise how expensive the thing is and images of 'Big Brown paper envelopes' (as someone from Richers described to me long ago) appear in your head.

    Always decide for yourself, not some over paid, immoral 'journalist'!!
     
  6. jim.rae

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    As a journalist, I don't consider myself either overpaid or immoral...

    The more likely reason for varying reviews is clearly demonstrated on these threads - we are all looking for different things from our kit, the same TVs are set up very differently by different people - and most journos are working against tight deadlines.

    So they don't have the time - or the patience in some cases - to spend hours coaxing the best performance out of something - especially if they don't even have a handbook for it.

    The advertising is sold by a completely different set of people and most manufactures will accept criticism if it is fair.

    Brown envelopes are not on the agenda and it would be the Job Centre quick for anyone who took one...
     
  7. Bristol Pete

    Bristol Pete
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    I was not of course referring to individuals or certain magazines.

    The reason I opened this discussion was that I have seen so many varying reports on certain sets of late that it got me thinking about the urban myth of bunging, as I truly wonder how a set can vary from mag to mag.

    Maybe it does not go on in the Av world, but, what about football transfers. Now there is a different story. :clown:


    Captain Benefit.
     
  8. Adlopa

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    jim.rae: Absolutely right, on all counts. I doubt that any magazine has the luxury to perform extended testing of *anything*, whether it's a TV or a car. Manufacturers simply don't give enough time for this -- products are usually supplied near to their launch, which means reviews need to be turned around quickly if they're to be timely.

    A review is one person's opinion and if course it's subjective -- that's what makes a review interesting to read. If you want to make your own mind up, simply look at the list of specs and try to examine the thing yourself. I'd like to think that all reviews try to be as objective as possible in their subjectivity (I think that makes sense) but I know that's not the case. Rather than brown envelopes full of fivers or the promise of keeping the kit though, this is more dependent on whether or not the reviewer likes the manufacturer, has been dicked around by the PR company or is simply having a bad day.

    No magazine (well, no magazine worth reading) let's its advertisers influence its editorial content -- As Jim said, editorial and ads are two largely independent departments. When ads do influence editorial, it's usually very obvious ('advertorial'). It's possible that some magazines do pull their punches when giving bad reviews but this is usually down to the reviewer lacking balls or the editor tempering the review -- seldom is it to avoid offending an advertiser.

    And finally, yes, manufacturers do often let reviewers keep the kit they review and some even give it away at launches for this very purpose. While I'm sure it does lead some reviewers to think more favourably about the kit in question, it doesn't make all that much difference, particularly since as much crap is given away as good stuff.
     
  9. Orbitalzone

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    As a former TV/Video retailer, I too used to wonder at the logic behind some of the reviews.

    Sure some reviews seemed quite fair and balanced, but others, (Which? magazine springs to mind) seemed to be the worst and least consistent. Their annual reliablity reports often seemed way off track... a couple years back Matsui and Amstrad stated as being very reliable (TV or VCR) while Panasonic and Sony being medium in relibility!... now we all know anything can go wrong but most repair workshops would laugh at the idea that Amstrad products might be more reliable than Panasonic? well... really :rolleyes:

    Oh and when Which? stated that Toshiba VCRs were very reliable and Ferguson were the least reliable... don't Thomson (Ferguson) and Toshiba share the same VCR factory and basic design? hmm.

    I think as mentioned already, the reviewers have deadlines and the product probably only gets a brief test unlike perhaps a commited retailer who studies each model carefully over a period of time...
     
  10. Chris Muriel

    Chris Muriel
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    Not TVs but I have reviewed a couple of satellite receivers for the specialist magazine Tele Satellite International , published every 2 months (www.tele-satellite.com) .
    I didn't get to keep the receivers - got a good price on the 1st one though & then kept it.
    More important, the editor declined my 3rd review because the STB manufacturer refused to advertise in the magazine !
    I have since avoided writing reviews - have had technical articles published in the mag instead.

    Chris Muriel, (author of Digital Satellite FAQ),
     
  11. jim.rae

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    These replies are very interesting and confirm that (I think) there is no great conspiracy about all this - it's just the way things are.

    Unless of course Jeremy Clarkson is involved and then it's sheer bigotry and sensationalism which prevails - preferably accompanied by old and very loud music - which drives the reviews - and me - to the off switch...
     
  12. MartinImber

    MartinImber
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    Which is rubbish!

    Seen a list of vcrs the Sony SLHF 950 had 4 out of 5 for picture

    At the time it was the best picture VCR on the market by a long way!
     
  13. Davo

    Davo
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    The Which? annual reliability reports are actually the results from surveys they send out to their members. The figures are not just made up!
     
  14. Orbitalzone

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    Yes I realise the results are from Which subscribers.. but the figures still seem a little odd in my opinion. Also I wonder what constitutes as a real fault... many customers complained that their video was at fault when really it was the customer not being able to use the video properly.

    Whilst these reliability guides have their uses, it's not something that I believe should be taken as gospel.

    These are just my experiences running a TV store / repair centre.
     
  15. MartinImber

    MartinImber
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    I think Which qualifies as a work of fiction:thumbsdow :thumbsdow
     
  16. Orbitalzone

    Orbitalzone
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    Thanks goodness it's not just me then ;)
     

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