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When it comes to Philips TV reviews, JustAnswer data tells a story

Watch out for Philips TV reviews - they don't tell the whole story

Got a new Philips smart TV? Don't assume you can stream your favorite shows on it.

When it comes to Philips TV reviews, JustAnswer data tells a story

By Mary Van Doren on May 16, 2018

What individuals can’t tell you in Philips TV reviews, these numbers can

The Philips Consumer Lifestyle division of Philips NV is a multi-billion-dollar company, founded in 1891 in The Netherlands. For the fourth quarter of 2018, the company announced sales of EUR 5.3 billion, or $6.57 billion, with comparable sales growth of 5%.

And with a long-standing reputation for quality, it’s not surprising that its consumer electronics products, especially TVs, are quite popular in the global marketplace. So perhaps it’s no surprise that there are literally thousands of Philips TV reviews on the Internet for the TV shopper to peruse.

But in a cautionary tale about relying on a legendary name when making any large purchase, JustAnswer data highlights things that no individual reviewer can know: How many consumers have problems with their electronics, and which specific electronics are problematic.

That is particularly true for the 2014 Philips 49PFL4909/F7, a 49-inch “smart” TV sold in the U.S. While questions about TV repairs are always popular at JustAnswer, one question in particular is a heavy hitter:

I have a Philips Smart TV and would like to add Hulu and Amazon Prime. How do this?

How popular is this question? In one week in April, it had more than three times the number of visitors as the next question. In six weeks, it had more than double the number of visitors. In six months, it again hosted more than double the visitors, and in a full year, at 49,775 visitors, the gap closed, but it still led the pack by more than 10,000 visitors.

Unfortunately for all those Philips smart TV owners, Philips has failed to include Hulu or Amazon on some of its smart TVs, and no apps of any kind can be added to what’s already there. The owner was advised by the Expert that in order to get Hulu or Amazon on her TV, she’d have to buy a separate player, such as a Blu-ray, Roku, Fire, or Apple TV device.

The model referenced in the JustAnswer question is from Philips’ 4000 series – 42 and 49-inch screens. First made in 2014, it’s no longer being sold except for a single refurbished unit on Amazon for $454, after originally selling for around $550.

Philips tv reviews - older model TV

Philips has been making TVs for a long time, but some of its new smart TVs don't have
many more bells and whistles than this older model.

One Amazon reviewer summed up what many others had said in Philips TV reviews, in so many words:

Forgotten TV with useless apps and no updates to fix it

When I first bought this unit and set it up, half the apps were useless. The app portal is a joke. The only real services it has are Netflix, Vudu and Youtube. If you want to use Hulu or Amazon video, you have to run them from another smart device like a Blu-ray player. I have no doubt an update could fix all of my issues with this TV, but there never are any. It will be the last Philips product I buy.

This limitation isn’t limited to the 4000 series, but apparently some of the 5000 series units also have these Philips TV problems, which frustrate people who have just paid more than $500 for a so-called “smart” TV from a reputable manufacturer. While the media praises the TVs in their Philips TV reviews for the clarity and brightness of the picture, they don’t realize how many people are browsing JustAnswer, Hulu’s website, and the Internet for a way to add Hulu and Amazon to their brand new TV.

A widespread problem for Philips – and its customers

While the lack of apps or capacity to add apps is a design flaw, even the best Philips TVs have a host of problems, just like other TVs – which is why TV repair is one of the busiest categories on JustAnswer. 

In reviews found on the Internet, customers tend to complain about the decline in Philips quality. One consumer noted angrily in a review that Philips quality has declined sharply since the company divested its consumer electronics division to a “Chinese” company. 

And yes, in January 2013, Philips did indeed announce that it would sell its consumer electronics division to Funai Electric Co. of Japan. That sale had actually fallen through by October of the same year. Still, according to Consumer Reports, Philips has licensed its name to Funai, via a subsidiary called P&F USA, for the manufacture of TVs.

philips tv review - man about to attack his TV with a hammer

This approach to TV repair isn't advisable, no matter how frustrated you are.

Funai also controls the U.S. licenses for the well-known Magnavox, Emerson, Sylvania, Sanyo, and Symphonic brand names. Notes Consumer Reports in its article TV Brands Aren't Always What They Seem, “Just because a TV carries a licensed brand, it doesn't mean it's going to perform poorly. But it's hard to predict how well it will do in our testing.

Consumer Reports has seen wide variability in quality among licensed brands. For instance, some Hisense-made Sharp sets did well … while others didn't fare as well. And some RCA- and Westinghouse-branded sets have scored poorly.”

In this climate of outsourced manufacturing, Consumer Reports advises, “To protect yourself, purchase the new TV with a credit card that doubles the manufacturer's warranty. Retailers including Costco grant you the same cushion. This will safeguard you if the TV stops working or needs repair.”

Meanwhile, the Funai deal is set to expire at the end of 2018, so the future quality of Philips TVs is up in the air, but in the meantime, consumers complaining in many Philips TV reviews seem to feel that a once-mighty product has fallen rather a long way. 

All of this demonstrates the difficulty of buying a good-quality TV that has the features you expect. It always pays to do as much research as possible before shelling out hundreds of dollars on a TV that’s blasted all over the Internet for its lack of apps, or its poor picture quality, or any of the hundreds of complaints some models generate.

Of course, another resource for research is the Experts at JustAnswer, who repair all makes and models in their day jobs. The Experts are available any time to answer your questions, and hopefully, you’ll be able to enjoy your TV viewing experience without future hassles.

Have you ever bought a TV set that didn’t live up to its manufacturer’s reputation? Please share your experiences with us in the comments below.