Cheap hardware fails: film at eleven

I was wandering through my local Coles supermarket last night and found a $40 M-TV brand SD Set-top box. I figured that sounded like a good deal so bought it. It plugged in, tuned up, worked well and supported my 16:9 TV. It proved that the digital reception issues I’ve been having are not the fault of the TV cards.

This morning the sound had almost died. Very quiet, and with popping and such overlaid.

In the hardware industry, this is called “infant mortality“. If the cost of handling returns is high, you try to catch the early failures by running a burn in test. We did that at my first job, because we were experiencing massive infant mortality rates – they all worked fine right out of the box, but run ’em for a day and poof! they were dead. So we built a rig to have them scan a barcode over and over again, and software to capture the results and check for accuracy. Shipped a bunch of duds back to the manufacturer, who smartened their game up, and stopped pissing off our customers.

I guess STBs sold by supermarkets don’t have high return handling costs.

2 thoughts on “Cheap hardware fails: film at eleven

  1. Andrew

    Ultra cheap digital set top boxes don’t work well and are not user friendly at all. Thankfully Dick Smith take their el cheapo model back without any bother.

  2. daniel

    Funny, I spotted the same product in Coles the other day. Wondered how reliable they were. Not very, appears to be the answer to that one.

    Not that one should ever trust something that’s an obvious brand cash-in like MTV brand.

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