PS4 Woes: HDMI and Blue Light of Death plaguing some launch consoles

The launch of any console is an exciting time as next generation hardware is generally pushing the boundaries of current technology and is designed to keep consoles relevant for years, if not a decade. Because of the way consoles are designed, typically most of the components are custom, which means there is a lot of room for components to fail, if not properly tested.

The Xbox 360 is likely the most relevant case of new hardware failing as the infamous Red Ring of Death (RROD) was such a pervasive issue, Microsoft took a massive-chargeback to fix the issue. While Microsoft was able to overcome their initial launch woes, it looks like Sony may be about to face similar issues with its newly released PS4.

The current issues seems to be related to the HDMI port, where users are reporting that the screen is flickering, or in severe cases, the console will not turn on and only shows a blue light of death or BLOD for those who like nice acronyms.

It is hard to gauge how widespread the issue is, as we all know the Internet tends to blow things out of proportion to their actual impact. But, a search on Twitter, using the hashtag #PS4broken, pulls up quite a few users who are reporting their console is DOA.

If you check out the reviews of the console on Amazon, it also appears that many users there also are facing issues with their new device.

It’s a tough issue for Sony as negative press at launch, especially before the crucial holiday shopping season, can be devastating to a product. While they will likely work quickly to fix the issues with those units out in consumers hands, admitting the first batch has a fault may have put off a lot of shoppers this year.

Sony has stated that they believed the PS4 incidents mentioned above are isolated. But the complaints about the console have persisted and it appears to be more widespread than Sony may be leading consumers to believe. We have heard of users whose consoles are working fine, so it's certainly not every console, but the problem is likely limited to a single run or manufacturer and we would hedge that Sony is diligently trying to track down the specific location.

Microsoft will be launching its console next week and you can bet that many will be watching closely to see if their console is plagued by any issues like the Xbox360 experienced at its launch.

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Welcome to the world of modern electronics I'm an electronics repairer and see issues like this all the time. Issues with modern surface mount tech aren't going away while the RoHS crap is still in force, and guys like me are forced to use lead free solder. 2006 was the year of doom for electronics, as things get smaller, the solder joints get smaller and more failure prone, especially with chip technology like BGA. Soft solder and tiny joints are a recipe for disaster.

The RoHS guys will tell you that lead-free solder has higher melting temperatures, it's a load of rubbish, it's softer than lead solder even cold on the reel before it's used, the solder in BGA array balls shift in the middle of the temperature range caused by the pressure of the cooler. It caused nVidia failures, Xbox360 RRoD's, and the PS3 issues. The Xbone and PS4 *might* still have these issues down the line...

The bent pins issue in HDMI sockets proves just how cheap connectors are these days. SATA and HDMI are prime examples, look at how solid SCART sockets used to be.....

Meh if you want to get stuff on launch day this is a risk you have to accept.

I usually try to wait a couple of weeks so these inital bugs get ironed out before buying any electronic device.

The thing that is worrying is that everyone is complaining about the same thing. It would be different if everyone was saying different parts were failing but to have so many similar reports It means there is a trend so there is a definite fault in either design or manufacturing process.


Edit: just seen the above post about possible sabotage by those mis treated interns. Crazy

As with most problems, it will be the vocal few making the most noise. Those with working consoles will be too busy playing on them to leave a positive review.

I'm not saying it's acceptable; just that it's probably not as widespread as it might seem by looking at Amazon reviews!

I recall the PS2 having issues with it's DVD drive back in the day?

I don't think this will be as big as RRoD but there is some indercation that this could be due to rushed hardware.

If you all remember the PS3, the design of the PS3 was made like a year ahead of it's launch, this one came out quite later in comparison, and we all know that Sony released information about the PS4 after rumours of the Xbox One were floating about and they wanted to gatecrash that.

We'll know more in a few weeks how bad the situation is.

Tony. said,
I recall the PS2 having issues with it's DVD drive back in the day?

I don't think this will be as big as RRoD but there is some indercation that this could be due to rushed hardware.

If you all remember the PS3, the design of the PS3 was made like a year ahead of it's launch, this one came out quite later in comparison, and we all know that Sony released information about the PS4 after rumours of the Xbox One were floating about and they wanted to gatecrash that.

We'll know more in a few weeks how bad the situation is.


Well, we know the software was rushed to the point that it ultimately was released in an outrageously unacceptable state... So it would make sense that the hardware was rushed as well.

All rumors considered, this is what I feel is more likely myself...

Tony. said,
I recall the PS2 having issues with it's DVD drive back in the day?

I don't think this will be as big as RRoD but there is some indercation that this could be due to rushed hardware.

If you all remember the PS3, the design of the PS3 was made like a year ahead of it's launch, this one came out quite later in comparison, and we all know that Sony released information about the PS4 after rumours of the Xbox One were floating about and they wanted to gatecrash that.

We'll know more in a few weeks how bad the situation is.

Xbox/Xbox 360, PSX/PS2/PS3, Wii... they all had drive failures. Optical drives have always been flaky.

The internet blows everything out of proportion. A few users can make the loudest noise and make the issue seem huge. Sony used this against Microsoft with the whole "always online" thing and now they are experiencing its wrath themselves. Any launch console will have a few problems with a small %, even the Xbox One will probably suffer from this.

If XB1 goes off without a hitch (both hardware and serverwise) then Sony is going to take a hit this holiday season, at least in the U.S. Not off to a good start for PS4 and those Amazon reviews aren't helping.

They'll fix it but first impressions are everything. Vista anyone? While it ended up being a nice solid OS, everyone still says "Vista? Ew..."

It looks like a 40% so far of Amazon's stock is bad (at least from the response at the store reviews) Not sure about other stores. The PS4's issues appear to be mostly from one particular plant in China. Remember that story about the college students force to work at a factory, yup the same plant and possibly the same students made these devices. I think is mainly with the HDMI video issue, not working out of the box and some Blue Lines of Semi-death. Semi death because some people are able to recover their systems (via safe-reboot ) others are totally non-responsive. Other issues of overheating does not seem to plant build specific so that may be another issue altogether along with issues of bricking or game stuttering after the update.

I know you all are wondering about my PS4 it is fine and working well (nephews playing on it now) , thanks for all your concern Looking forward to my X1 next week (fingers crossed).

pjosephson said,
It looks like a 40% so far of Amazon's stock is bad (at least from the response at the store reviews)

No, it's just that the ones who do have problems will rush as fast as they can to complain on the internet while the others are enjoying their systems.

Yes that may be true but, many of the positive comments (as I read both, negative and positive, were made even before the person received the PS4) makes the skew work both ways in this case. What I am saying is that the issue is much greater then the 2% issue rate that Sony is stating. However, I do not believe there is a massive issue just that it is overall quite a bit larger then Sony is presenting. Further, is the fact that Amazon (probably the largest online retailer for these boxes) received the brunt of the ones from this particular factory at fault. Many of the issues happening with the PS4 product, whether happening elsewhere, is exasperated by the fact it happens to be largely at Amazon because they received a great deal (if not all) their stock from this one manufacturing plant.

The phrase "no news is good news" exists for a reason - sure, there are some positive reviews on Amazon etc but the vast, vast majority of people whose PS4s are working fine won't leave reviews on Amazon. However, people whose consoles are broken will be ****ed and will want the world to know. I'm not just pulling this out of thin air - there's been many studies into this sort of behaviour.

I'm not saying there aren't more failures than might be reasonable, but if the DOA figure was anything *near* 40%, these stories would be far, far worse than "...plaguing some consoles"-type headlines.

Well that was fast...

Sounds like Sony really rushed this to market.

How embarrassing...

And if he's been on hold for 'over an hour', you know this is far from isolated...

Tha Bloo Monkee said,
Wait, you mean, phone lines getting slammed the 2nd day a launch console was released? Whodathunkit?

...because their consoles don't work...?

They're phone lines aren't getting slammed because their customers are calling to say 'Hi'... LMAO!

Tha Bloo Monkee said,
*their
You think Microsoft's phone lines won't get slammed when the console is released?
Don't make me laugh.

First, autocorrect isn't always right...

Second, if they don't have systems failing all over the country / released regions, No... There is no reason to call them just to chat...

You are deluded if you think that being on hold for an hour isn't indicative of the number of customers having problems (On day one!).

Do you generally take the time to call the console manufacturer the day you get a new console just to say hello? Or do you perhaps have other things to do, such as play the console you just hooked up??

Neither does anyone else. LOL

Please call the microsoft support line when they release their console assuming there are no reported issues the line should be free. It would be interesting to see if that's the case or not.

I would assume people would be calling for all reasons under the sun or even for ps3 related stuff

M_Lyons10 said,

First, autocorrect isn't always right...

Second, if they don't have systems failing all over the country / released regions, No... There is no reason to call them just to chat...

You are deluded if you think that being on hold for an hour isn't indicative of the number of customers having problems (On day one!).

Do you generally take the time to call the console manufacturer the day you get a new console just to say hello? Or do you perhaps have other things to do, such as play the console you just hooked up??

Neither does anyone else. LOL


Assuming the XBox One launch will be flawless. LOL.

Brian M said,
The vast majority of reports seem to be from Amazon, and most mention shoddy packaging

1) It isn't just Amazon, but they are an easy place for people that purchased it from them to speak out. If you look at Sony's forums, Twitter, Reddit, etc - there a lot of reports of problems.

2) The MAJORITY of reports on Amazon are not about packaging, they are about overheating, and blue light of death.

It could be a statistically small number of units affected; however, it still sucks for people that got defective units - especially people that preorder months ago waiting for this day and now having to wait several more weeks to play.

Brian M said,
The vast majority of reports seem to be from Amazon, and most mention shoddy packaging

I wonder if the 'shoddy packaging' statement is referring to the console packaging provided by Sony or the shipping packaging provided by Amazon...?

In all of my experiences with Amazon, I've never had an order that wasn't packaged very well. I've never had a problem with them.

It's probably a cumulation of both. People are saying Amazon are packing them by putting the PS4 straight in a cardboard box, and then putting air packs on top - so no protection on the sides/bottom.

Problems at launch are a common occurrence, and have happened with pretty much every console. It's always a gamble to be an early adopter. And that's why I'm only buying my PS4 6 months from now, when all the major kinks have been ironed out or at least documented.

Although I will be purchasing an Xbox One. I really feel sorry for Sony here... This must be so frustrating for them

MOS6510 said,
Although I will be purchasing an Xbox One. I really feel sorry for Sony here... This must be so frustrating for them

I feel for all the PS4 pre-order fans that have been planning for this day and got a messed up unit.

Even if there was only 10000 bad units, that is 10000 people that got a short straw instead of a day of fun.

Mobius Enigma said,

I feel for all the PS4 pre-order fans that have been planning for this day and got a messed up unit.

Even if there was only 10000 bad units, that is 10000 people that got a short straw instead of a day of fun.


Same here. I can't imagine finally getting my console to find out that it doesn't even start... And then knowing that getting another one would likely take a while...

How frustrating.

We dont know if this is in the same league as RROD, this could get better or worse over time, the RROD started slow and grew over time. So far this appears to be VERY wide spread based on the numbers at Amazon, and it appears to be multiple issues not just HDMI issues. If this was Microsoft no one would be questioning how bad this is, everyone would just assume the worst, no one would be defending multiple failures on a obviously rushed console from Microsoft, so WHY do people feel the need to do so with Sony?

The reason nobody would question Microsoft is because they have prior history with the 360. Granted they fixed the problem and put their hands up and took the hit. Sony don't have as bad a reputation so, for now, they get the benefit of the doubt. If it turns into anything over 1% failure rate and continues to be a problem then they will deserve to be classed in the same breath as the 360 but, at this time, we are not there yet.

FL4T said,
Should be classed with the 360 if the failure rate is over 1 percent? 1 percent is damn low.

1% at launch. Initial failure rates are usually quite low as they are tested before they leave the factory, whether they survive to year 3 is a lot higher at an average of 15% but this number is somewhat inflated by poor laptop failures (40+ %) and the research was, I think, back in 2008 so hopefully manufacturing has gotten better now.

Yes I remember root kits but that is not hardware failure - both should never be forgotten or forgiven.


I hear what your saying, however; the original Xbox was one of the most reliable consoles in history, yet even at the very beginning of the RROD debacle on the 360, the media and gamers went nuts in blasting Microsoft, claiming they rushed the console, and it was a POS. There was enormous public outcry against Microsoft, even before all the facts were out and we knew how bad the issue was. This is a far more clear case of an issue, and negligence on behalf of Sony, yet everywhere I look I see people defending them. According to the internet, it is now perfectly normal and acceptable, for new products to launch with 40% of the units dead out of the box.

I am not sure where you get this 40% DOA figure from but if that were the case they would deserve every criticism they got, hell if it was above 1% then they should be getting called out. Remember 40% of people reviewing on Amazon is not 40% of sales. If the stories continue and rise in numbers then yes but they haven't, as yet, crossed that line.

Maybe Microsoft were right in choosing slightly lower graphics hardware. Upping your graphics capability late in your design process is far more of a risk than MS upping their ram late in the game.

Sicarius123 said,
Maybe Microsoft were right in choosing slightly lower graphics hardware. Upping your graphics capability late in your design process is far more of a risk than MS upping their ram late in the game.

They decided to overclock a bit while.

While I would be angry if this had happened to me too, from what I read, it's a very small percentage of people. What do you expect when 10's of thousands of people (probably more) are getting their consoles on the same day? You're bound to have a few that fail.
Hopefully things get sorted out for those unlucky few.

Hardly in the same league as the Red Ring of Death at the moment, so far it appears to be quite low and definitely well below the 30/50% of the 360 days. And let's not forget that replacements were often sent out that had the same issue as the original (I had my 360 replaced 4 times) which we have not seen yet so "plague" may be hyperbolic at this stage.

Those numbers are rumors too. You'll never know the real extent due to all the damage control that's going on by fans and companies. Same here.

RROD was 23.7%+, that was pretty high, but the average for most electronics is 15% within a few years.

I think the XB1 design is so enormous that it has a huge safety margin, so if it has any issues, they at least won't be heat related.

Depicus said,
Hardly in the same league as the Red Ring of Death at the moment, so far it appears to be quite low and definitely well below the 30/50% of the 360 days. And let's not forget that replacements were often sent out that had the same issue as the original (I had my 360 replaced 4 times) which we have not seen yet so "plague" may be hyperbolic at this stage.

Is this BLOD something that happens right away or can it happen over time? If the later then it could get worse. But given the description of the problem I think this isnt as bad. It also appears to be something that can be easily fixed as it wont require a redesign like the X360 needed.

Enron said,
RROD was 23.7%+, that was pretty high, but the average for most electronics is 15% within a few years.

I think the XB1 design is so enormous that it has a huge safety margin, so if it has any issues, they at least won't be heat related.

The numbers according to figuring out the math on the PS4 reviews on the Amazon web-site for verified purchases with people having issues brings it up to just about 33% defective.

It can happen over time. I've seen people comment that their PS4 works for a few hours and then just cuts out or on the next restart. This could get ugly on the 29th, judging by the Amazon reviews.

xendrome said,

The numbers according to figuring out the math on the PS4 reviews on the Amazon web-site for verified purchases with people having issues brings it up to just about 33% defective.
So everyone who is having zero issues left positive feedback?

ozzy76 said,
So everyone who is having zero issues left positive feedback?

No but 500+ people have.... works both ways, everyone having issues leaving positive feedback?

xendrome said,

No but 500+ people have.... works both ways, everyone having issues leaving positive feedback?

I don't know, if I got a PS4 yesterday and was really happy with it, I'd be playing games on it and not reviewing it on Amazon. Hope that's how my Xbox turns out.

anothercookie said,
being defective at launch is much worse than being defective a few months or years later.

No it isn't - day one defects are covered by warranty but defects years later means you are out of pocket.

Depicus said,

No it isn't - day one defects are covered by warranty but defects years later means you are out of pocket.

I disagree. If I'd been looking forward to getting my hands on a new console, and it died out of the box, I'd be pretty miffed. If it dies a few months/years later, well then at least I got to experience it before it died. Financially though, you are right. At least an early death means a free replacement, though that of course doesn't mean the replacement will not die months/years down the line too.

xendrome said,

No but 500+ people have.... works both ways, everyone having issues leaving positive feedback?
everyone knows people who have negative experiences tend to leave feedback, tell friends, post on Amazon\reddit\neogaf\neowin, call for support, etc on a much larger scale. what's that old expression, "people who have bad experiences tell 11 friends and people who have good experiences tell one"

Yeah there were a bunch of RROD xbox's, but that wasn't 30% on LAUNCH day! That is over the life of the product, and they were replaced for free even after YEARS of proper functioning. Still sucks, but I'd rather that than so many launch day failures...

Even IF it was 30%, then realize that 30% of 250,000 < 30% of 5-10 million (or however million's of 360's there were that had the issue). people are jumping to the conclusion that this is RROD v 2.0. come on, let's wait to see if this is a design issue, manufacturing issue, shipment issue, packing issue, etc before jumping to such conclusions. in the social world we now live in, we get to hear about these "issues" next Friday (xbone) and the 29th (PS4 europe), so hang on tight, we're in for a ride. (btw, my amazon PS4 is working, anecdotal I know)

Depicus said,
Hardly in the same league as the Red Ring of Death at the moment, so far it appears to be quite low and definitely well below the 30/50% of the 360 days. And let's not forget that replacements were often sent out that had the same issue as the original (I had my 360 replaced 4 times) which we have not seen yet so "plague" may be hyperbolic at this stage.

RROD was not a one day problem, it was a reoccurring problem that stretched out for over 3 years.

You can't compare a time period that is 1/2 the product cycle to problems encountered in a single day.

With the PS2, there was a rather large percentage of smoke/fire over the lifespan of the units if you look at warranty numbers from resellers, but since it wasn't a single day problem, most people never even knew it was over 20% of units.

Thief000 said,
It can happen over time. I've seen people comment that their PS4 works for a few hours and then just cuts out or on the next restart. This could get ugly on the 29th, judging by the Amazon reviews.

If thats the case then yes it can get bad. Especially if the 30%+ failure rate is true as well. Still it seems like something that can be fixed in the production process and doesnt require a design change.

It will be interesting to see how it goes. Microsoft survived such a disaster and came stronger out of it. But they were a year on the market beforw Sony and had time to fix it and change people's opinion.

"some"...this is absolutely a widespread problem and it's not just BLOD. RLOD and grinding or superspinning BD drives are among the problems too.

jakem1 said,
It does seem like the problems are widespread but Ars are reporting that Sony has said that the failure rate is only 0.4%.

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/...ems-surrounding-ps4-launch/

I'll leave it up to you to decide whether you trust the official statement

I keep seeing the 0.4% and even .04% repeated around the web, but this was a statement from Sony BEFORE the PS4 was released, so unless they are psychic or intentionally sabotaging their own launch, it cannot be an accurate number.

The other problem with the 0.4%; doing a statistically extrapolation of Amazon buyers that are 'owners' and reporting failures correlated to Amazon pre-order sales, they would have had to sell over 100 times as many PS4s as forecasted.

I HOPE the final percentage is small, and I hope that Sony gets out replacements really fast.

No matter how big or small the problem is, it really sucks for the people that got a defective unit that have been waiting for this date for almost a year.

The Sony timer must be something new. I have a Sony TV from 1997 that still works great with an original PlayStation.

Enron said,
The Sony timer must be something new. I have a Sony TV from 1997 that still works great with an original PlayStation.

Maybe new use by sony, but old concept. The original scummy japanese company that started it was honda, whereby they manufacturerd parts that literally would last just over a year, so you'd have to keep buying replacements every year.

Thief000 said,
How soon after the warranty expires?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_timer

Then, my "sony timer" must be broken.
My sony fx-421 cassette walkman is still working,
my 1999 sony trinitron crt-tv is still working,
my PSX is still working,
my PS2 is still working,
my PSP is still working,
my PS3 is still working.

tomasse said,

Then, my "sony timer" must be broken.
My sony fx-421 cassette walkman is still working,
my 1999 sony trinitron crt-tv is still working,
my PSX is still working,
my PS2 is still working,
my PSP is still working,
my PS3 is still working.
I call BS on the TV

MrHumpty said,
I call BS on the TV

I've got a Sony Trinitron monitor that I bought around 1999 and it's still going with a great picture. I don't use it on a regular basis, but only testing.

Thief000 said,
How soon after the warranty expires?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_timer

Planned obsolescence, unless it's German made (they still take pride in what the manufacture) companies starting making there stuff break or not last as long starting around the mid 1920's. My PS2 Fat seems to be built like a tank, my launch PS3 60gb model has had to have the blu-ray drive replaced once already.

tomasse said,

Then, my "sony timer" must be broken.
My sony fx-421 cassette walkman is still working,
my 1999 sony trinitron crt-tv is still working,
my PSX is still working,
my PS2 is still working,
my PSP is still working,
my PS3 is still working.

Electronics are more complex today then it was over 20 years ago. A motherboard with a few slow circus could run a 16 bit console. But with faster cpu/GPU that need a good cooling system, its hard to say it will lost for 5 years at best.

With today's everything is made in China the quality is even less and people keep stuff for shorter period of time aka smart phones.