back to article PlayStation 4 BLUE LIGHT OF DEATH blamed on power cords, TV sets, butterflies in China

Sony has, er, narrowed down the mysterious Blue Light of Death issues plaguing some of its new PlayStation 4 consoles to possible issues with the hardware, software or firmware. The entertainment giant has issued a troubleshooting guide for gamers who have found their $399 (£349) consoles suffering from a nasty case of the …

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  1. i like crisps
    Trollface

    Bloody Hell...

    ...did they have Kevin (The Work Experience Boy) assembling that

    first batch of units?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bloody Hell...

      Not sure if random joke or concise piece of satire.

      Foxcon did use interns and students to assemble PS4s as credits for their coursework.

      1. i like crisps
        Thumb Up

        Re: Bloody Hell...

        oh yeah...completely forgot about Foxcon and the Students...i think you've

        cracked it!

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Bloody Hell...

        Perhaps the interns took some lessons from Schindler.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bloody Hell...

      Presumably the Xbox One will just work out of the box like most Microsoft products....

      1. i like crisps
        Happy

        Re: Bloody Hell...

        No doubt Microsoft's box of tricks will have its problems too.

        I'm not a fan of either company or any other for that matter, i

        just find it strange that a company like SONY, who design

        and manufacture their own Hardware should have problems

        with an HDMI port...this is their bread and butter isn't it?

        In any case i give you upvote, cause i like to think that we're

        all winners here.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Thats funny

      No-one mentioned these problems on the Launch of the Wii U.

      Mind you, only having sold 50 units is a pretty small sample size to find problems in.

    4. squigbobble

      Re: Bloody Hell...

      Funny that you should mention that...

      http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2013/11/student-interns-may-have-deliberately-botched-some-playstation4-hardware/

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seriously... "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" That's their first piece of advice.

    Still, at least they have narrowed it down pretty well to one or more of the "hardware, software or firmware". Although in true Sony fashion, their next piece of advice may well be "Sorry guv, you're gonna want to upgrade to the PS 5".

    1. willi0000000

      Seriously...

      next up, blame the wetware!

      [c'mon, it's always the user]

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: Seriously...

        "next up, blame the wetware!"

        Naw, They'll next blame it on inadequate DRM and pirates... somehow.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Seriously...

          They may actually have blamed the DRM.

          The PS4 uses a single HDCP encoded HDMI slot to connect to the TV. The TV compatibility issue might be that the HDCP on the TV is out of date or not configured correctly and the firmware update on the TV set may be a HDCP update.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Seriously...

            And if you can't get the firmwares update for your TV all you need to do is buy a new one....

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Seriously...

            "The PS4 uses a single HDCP encoded HDMI slot to connect to the TV. The TV compatibility issue might be that the HDCP on the TV is out of date or not configured correctly and the firmware update on the TV set may be a HDCP update."

            You mean the TV that already works just fine with my BluRay player, PS3, Xbox and Cable TV box?

            Surely HDCP should only be active when copy protected content such as a BluRay disc is being displayed?

      2. sisk

        Re: Seriously...

        "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" That's their first piece of advice.

        Work tech support for very long and that's ALWAYS your first advice. It seems obvious, but few people try it before they call for help.

        c'mon, it's always the user

        Not always, but more often than not.

        I'll be over here, thanking God that I managed to get promoted away from the hell desk way back when.

        1. Infidellic_

          Re: Seriously...

          However for some serious HA stuff that's something of last resort. Turning it off and on again isn't always best for every situation......just most situations!

        2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Seriously...

          No! "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" is the second advice. The first should be, "Have you turned it on?"

          (The flashing blue light might just be a reflection from the Police car behind them...)

          1. Richard Taylor 2

            Re: Seriously...

            You kid not. As a grad student supervising electronics and physics lab sessions that involved an oscilloscope and power supply that was ALWAYS the first question.

    2. Dick Head
      Happy

      Well at least...

      …they didn't say, "You're holding it wrong."

      1. returnmyjedi

        No, they're just saying that you're either plugging it in wrong, or plugging it into the wrong thing.

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Reminds me of an early BOFH, maybe the salts on the power cord have dried out, plug in the power cord and wet the other end with your tongue to replenish the salts.

      Fzzzt!

  3. Mike Brown

    Out of 1 million units sold, there will of course be a few thousand that brake. This isnt really news.

    1. Steve Knox
      Headmaster

      Actually,

      If I bought a PS 4 and it could brake, that would be news.

      If your post were about cars, it would be even bigger news.

      1. At0micAndy

        Re: Actually,

        Anyone know if sony have improved braking distances for the PS4? I know that the PS/3 was pretty impressive at 30MPH in a built up area.

    2. Anne-Lise Pasch

      The company said the number of systems affected by the issue represented less than 0.4% of units shipped to date. (Source, BBC.)

      1 million units shipped;

      40,000 units faulty?!

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        0.4%, not 4%. so 4000 units.

        1. Moeluk

          Don't forget that sony made the 0.4 statement the day before release though! So....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You using a Sony calculator???

        0.4% of 1 million is 4000 by my logic:

        1000000

        *

        0.004 (remember that 1.0 is 100% and 0.4 is 40%, so 0.04 is 4% and 0.004 is 0.4%)

        = 4000

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        0.4% is just the number logged with Sony as faulty - and likely in itself is understated. Thousands more will be returned to vendors, or not yet logged. And yet more will remain unopened until Christmas - likely this is a few percentage points of failures for such widespread complaints...Sony have real issues here.

        And then PoSN can't cope either lol. It's not like they were aware of the PS4 launch or anything?!

        1. Chris Beattie

          "0.4% is just the number logged with Sony as faulty - and likely in itself is understated. Thousands more will be returned to vendors, or not yet logged. And yet more will remain unopened until Christmas - likely this is a few percentage points of failures for such widespread complaints...Sony have real issues here."

          Okay, I've read comments like this more than once now. The rate of manufacturing defects has nothing whatsoever to do with when the boxes are opened. Nobody is cherrypicking broken-but-unopened PS4s to save them for Christmas. For the people that do end up with a broken PS4 on Christmas, they will probably exchange their hardware at their retailer or Sony at the same rate they are today.

          There may indeed be a bump if retailers' returns aren't counted in that 0.4% yet, but waiting until Christmas to open the box will not change the rate at which PS4s are returned. It may increase the absolute number of returns, but there will also be at the same time a corresponding increase in the number of working consoles that are not returned.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Must be Audiophile Kit

    If power cords can make a difference

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      Of course they can make a difference !

      May I interest you in our special Premium Line of power cords ? The copper wires have been enhanced with synthetic conductive materials in a special nanotube lattice that improves global conductivity, and the cord is now gold-plated to ensure that all the electrons go in the same direction. We guarantee a 20% improvement in electrical conductivity, at the low, low price of $300 per foot of Premium Line cording.

      Get yours now, while supplies last !

      1. D@v3

        Re: Of course they can make a difference !

        your not going to catch me out with that 'gold' nonsense again, I've got the real deal now, was assembled in space, by unicorns. works a treat

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Trollface

          Made in SPAAACE

          definitely oxygen-free, then?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Flame

        Whoa! Do you make network cables too?

        Of course you do! Probably at $600 a foot!

        And if you don't, I guess I'll just have to go and buy that nonsense from Audioquest.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I knew Sony was going with a PC architecture but switch it off and on again? Safe mode? Replace the hard drive? What's next? Go on the AMD website to download new drivers? I play on a console instead of the PC to get away from doing that!

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      And the day they thought of including a hard drive, you were back on a PC without even realizing it !

  6. WalterWonkite

    It must be the same bunch of kids who designed and built the WIFI on the Sony VAIO pro laptops, it seems to be a theme with Sony. Build shit, then take no responsibility for fixing it.

  7. BernardBrezlow

    Genius....

    "Here are some of the symptoms associated with blinking blue lights issue:

    blue indicator light blinking"

  8. Zedsquared
    Happy

    "Blue light of death" is boring...

    The syndrome has a much more catchy name, it's the "pulsing blue dickpunch of sadness", apparently :)

    http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20131115

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Blue light of death" is boring...

      You know, it wouldn't be the Register without someone associating a reference to human genitalia in the story :)

      1. Thecowking

        Re: "Blue light of death" is boring...

        As long as that's all they insert.

        fnar fnar

      2. Ted Treen
        Joke

        Re: "Blue light of death" is boring...

        @AC 23:12

        Don't see anything specifying "Human"...

        Could be a commentard from Wales, or New Zealand or similar...

    2. Not That Andrew
      Mushroom

      Re: "Blue light of death" is boring...

      What is it with morons linking to that painfully unfunny strip, CAD. If you find the urge to link to CAD, lie down and perhaps consult a doctor. If it persists, find or create an appropriate remix of the miscarriage strip.

      1. oddie

        Re: "Blue light of death" is boring...

        needs to have a more snappy catchphrase....

        like something a mechanic would tell you after doing a long whistling sound and getting his calculator out...

        this is going to cost you son... this machine is blue blink'd ;)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Blue light of death" is boring...

      It would be made a lot more interesting by the addition of a single word beginning with the letter 'O', so that it can be reduced to the acronym 'BLOOD'...

      So, perhaps Blue Light of Outrageous Death?

      Blue Light of Obstreperous Death?

      Blue Light of Ominous Death?

      Blue Light of Obdurate Death?

      Blue Light of Overwhelming Death?

      Blue Light of Obfuscating Death?

      Blue Light of Odious Death?

      Blue Light of Orgiastic Death?

      So many weird and wonderful options!

  9. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge
    Coat

    Hmm...

    If your console has a flashing blue light and is also making a strange whooshing noise, then you may have been sent a TARDIS by mistake.

    The replacement unit will arrive yesterday.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We've covered all the primary colours so what' next?

    Red Ring Of Death

    Yellow light of death

    And Now Blue Light of Death

    I'm just hoping that the Xbox One, the PS5 and the XboxTwo have Green, Violet and Indigo fault lights just so we can have a rainbow.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: We've covered all the primary colours so what' next?

      Yellow is a secondary colour...

      We haven't had a Green Light of Failure yet, and there are two secondary colours still available!

      1. Ted Treen
        Boffin

        Re: We've covered all the primary colours so what' next?

        Maybe it is, but it's still a component colour of the rainbow.

  11. codeusirae
    Facepalm

    For a minute there ..

    "Sony has, er, narrowed down the mysterious Blue Light of Death issues plaguing some of its new PlayStation 4 consoles to possible issues with the hardware, software or firmware."

    For a minute there, I thought it was something else ...

  12. Annihilator Silver badge
    WTF?

    "TV compatibility issues"

    Seriously?

    1. Remy Redert

      They mean "We didn't sanitize the return we get on the some of the HDMI version and capability requests, so a TV with a bad implementation can cause our console to crash"

      Or perhaps they mean "Your TV isn't a Sony. Screw you!" It's probably the former though, where the problem actually is a 'TV compatibility issue'.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Posted it above but the compatibility issue may be a HDCP issue.

      1. Annihilator Silver badge

        "Posted it above but the compatibility issue may be a HDCP issue."

        Oh I've no doubt, but it's still an insane situation to be in that we've managed to create a cabling system that has incompatibilities.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shows how stupid it is having one indicator that covers all possible failures

    Would it be that hard to have couple old school seven segment LCDs to show a two digit numeric code to help pinpoint the issue? They could leave it off when there is no trouble to avoid spoiling the look, or even locate it inside the case. What would that cost, a nickel?

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Shows how stupid it is having one indicator that covers all possible failures

      Even if they used a single indicator, they could at least flash an error code.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Shows how stupid it is having one indicator that covers all possible failures

        Agreed, power-on BIOS beeps can be surprisingly informative

    2. DropBear

      Re: Shows how stupid it is having one indicator that covers all possible failures

      Ah, but that would assume that they *want* you to know details of what's wrong. Except they definitely don't. Not so much as any sort of protection, but rather as an ultra-pragmatic need-to-know doctrine, based on "What do we want the user to be able to fix himself? Nothing? Then nothing is what he needs to know." Simplifying support (one pathway branch instead of 99), avoiding liability (users messing with stuff that might become no longer safe-as-certified) etc. It's just the Brave New World we live in.

      I personally preferred that other time when my first computer actually came with schematics (included with the manual) - but hey that's just me...

    3. Daniel B.

      Re: Shows how stupid it is having one indicator that covers all possible failures

      I'm reminded of cars. I still remember when they had lights to give a hint on what could be wrong, while these days they have a single "CHECK ENGINE" light. Damned if you know what happened!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shows how stupid it is having one indicator that covers all possible failures

        But at least for the cost of a $10 cable and some free software, you can do some minimal diagnosis yourself of what "check engine" entails.

        But I see your point, if that wasn't required by law I'm sure some/most automakers would be happy to keep us ignorant and forced to go to a dealer and pay $100 to find out that the check engine light is a spurious warning from the O2 sensor.

      2. Evoflash

        Re: Shows how stupid it is having one indicator that covers all possible failures

        OBD II reader is your friend.

  14. Tank boy
    Pint

    The "pulsing blue dick punch of sadness"

    That is hilarious. Well played, well played.

    1. Evoflash

      Re: The "pulsing blue dick punch of sadness"

      Guy next to me is keeps looking over at me as I'm laughing myself into incontinence.

  15. eJ2095

    All wrong

    They turned on there ps4s at the wrong time of the month.

    They have to wait until the moon, mars and erm Jupiter are in alignment and there is a solar flare from the sun.

    Oh nearly forgot to wear the enclosed tin foil hats....

    Then turn it on it should work then

    1. Swarthy Silver badge

      Re: All wrong

      "That is not dead which can eternal lie, yet with stranger eons, even death may die."

      They will work, when the stars are right.

  16. lansalot

    lol...

    Your TV isn't compatible.

    Also, your toaster needs a patch.

    1. FunkyEric

      Re: lol...

      Bulls**t, if someone tried to tell me my TV wasn't compatible, I would politely suggest that perhaps it was their device which wasn't compatible with my TV and that they can fix it and return it forthwith. Everything else works nicely with it, they need to get their house in order.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        Flame

        Yeah, but that is so last millenium.

        This millenium, you're supposed to replace all standard living-room equipment that does not agree with a superfluous plaything.

  17. Longrod_von_Hugendong
    Angel

    This is why...

    We are not buying PS$ or an XBONE at launch, let the early adopters find out all the problems, let them get fixed, and the price drop £100 then might think about it.

    1. jason 7

      Re: This is why...

      Thats where I am too.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The blue light issues have undermined what was an otherwise solid PS4 release for Sony.

    How can you possibly know that without numbers?

    As quite clearly with a million consoles sold (not shipped), there will always be problems. The fact is, the vast majority of users have no issues whatsoever.

    It's a shame that so may people and writers have no concept of proportion.

    1. jason 7

      Re: The blue light issues have undermined what was an otherwise solid PS4 release for Sony.

      I think the issue here is that the previous generation suffered from numerous cock-ups and lapses of QC and attention.

      You would have thought after all these years, this time around things would be monitored with a higher level of scrutiny and testing.

      But no....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The blue light issues have undermined what was an otherwise solid PS4 release for Sony.

        So you really believe when you are shipping a new product in the millions (soon to be 2-3 million with Europe and asia launches) there won't be any failures?

        The sad fact is, the few units that do have problems get a much louder voice than they deserve thanks to the internet. Microsoft know this and actively manipulate this. Expect a large % of those problems to be fake.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: The fact is, the vast majority of users have no issues whatsoever.

      How can you possibly know that without numbers?

      Ahem.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HDMI Compatibility

    Having spent several years doing projects with consumer electronics and HDMI I can tell you that it isn't a reliable standard. Everyone has their own opinion about how it should be implemented and the "test tools" don't assure you of compatibility. My technique for getting around this problem is to rent a facility where I can use every product currently in circulation and test as many as possible in the time allowed. However even then you can't be assured that you covered all scenarios, combinations and all products.

    The biggest challenge for Sony here is that their own arrogance likely failed them. I know from personal experience that they believe that the way they implement anything (especially HDMI) is the right way and that if anyone else's HDMI doesn't work with their products then it can't be Sony's problem (which is why they say to do a firmware update on the TV).

    1. cs94njw

      Re: HDMI Compatibility

      If it don't work with a TV, then it becomes Sony's problem when the console is returned to the shop.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Here is what I would do.

    Check external cable.

    Send back if not resolved at your expense

    It's not my job to fix your dodgy work.

  21. Daz555

    Xbone and PS4 will be around for a decade. I'll wait for a couple of minor revisions before I leap into the next gen.

  22. Interrobang

    History repeating?

    Seems to me this is the way of things to come. The market drives games console manufacturers to produce hardware as cheaply and quickly as possible in order to meet demand, and as the hardware itself becomes more powerful and complex, it's inevitable that the failure rate will increase.

    Microsoft and Sony seem equally plagued by this when releasing any new system, with Nintendo only slightly less affected (apparently less media attention, but from personal experience I've had to self-repair a seldom-used 1st generation Wii twice now for the same fault; failed optical drive). Unless we're willing accept lower volumes of hardware available at launch, and/or higher prices, I don't see the trend changing anytime soon.

    I do think it's worth keeping this in perspective, insofar as the relatively small 0.4% of affected units Sony is claiming. Although I'm sure if I were one of the unlucky 4000, I'd take to the internet to voice my frustration. I wonder how many similar complaints went unreported during the www-free 8-bit gaming era, and earlier?

  23. Wardy01

    Where did I hear this before ...

    Oh yeh that company that people love to hate ... Microsoft!!!

    And yet many will make some random excuse for Sony because they are not Microsoft ... brilliant !!!

    It sounds to me like the ps4 is suffering from xbox 360 syndrome ... so lets keep an eye on xbox one issues because the ps5 will likely have them in a few years time.

    You gotta love how a reputation once acquired is seldom changed ...

    1. jason 7

      Re: Where did I hear this before ...

      If you look at the fans in both machines they have taken very different directions.

      The fan in the PS4 is a pretty standard almost laptop cooler type whereas the One has what looks like a 140mm fan in there.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    What a joke

    "TV compatibility issues"

    My HD TV is about 6 years old and not a sony and I almost bought a PS4. Glad I've waited now because I'm fairly certain I can't upgrade the firmware on my TV and if it didn't work and I was essentially told you need a new TV for a device that might not even do 4K gaming I'd be furious.

    This looks like a major screw up on Sonys part and it would take something monumentally bad from Microsoft to top this. It looks like despite being bigger bulkier and worse on paper that the xbox is going to win purely based on PR spin. This bad publicity could damage sony

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a joke

      You could be surprised.... if you had an actual service manual.

      ALL recent HD TV's have the power of a small formfactor computer running some kind of Linux variant. Some more recent ones are dual core. There is likely a service port that could be USB under the cover on that TV and you may not know it.

      The most recent HDTV's (2-3 Years old) DO have USB and Network firmware upgrade paths as do many Blu-Ray players.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: What a joke

        Yes, but how many TV manufacturers actually release firmware updates for old TVs? Or even new ones?

        My previous TV had fundamental firmware flaws but no updates were ever released, and eventually it went back as not fit-for-purpose.

        My current TV had one firmware update during the first year, and it's had no more at all.

        My set-top PVR has had five or six firmware updates over the last four/five years (not sure as they mostly happen by the magic of OTA updates)

        TV manufacturers simply don't support older TVs, and barely support new ones! They might work on firmware fixes while it's still on sale, but they drop them like hot potatoes not much longer than a year after they start making them.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TV Firmware

    The stuff about TV firmware could be a plausible issue. The copy protection for various Blue Rays has required me to get a firmware update on my Samsung series 6 or the Starwars compilation would not play.

  26. teebie

    "unplugging and replugging the power cord both at the outlet and into the console itself"

    In other words "Are you *sure* that it is plugged in"

  27. Evoflash

    At least there's a light.

    I recall working at Epson on customer help desk around the time they released a budget printer with no lights whatsoever.

    Even at this great distance those days still seem so dark. (maybe due to lack of lights).

  28. Truth4u

    checking screws and cable connections in the hard drive enclosure

    Why didn't they do it in the factory?

    If I paid £hundreds for a console (a PC essentially) I would damn well expect Sony to do such a basic test themselves. Have you ever bought a PC without the hard drive connected? This level or stupidity just doesn't happen in other industries.

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