Consumer Recall: Philips Ambilight Plasma TVs

All About the 2006 Incident

Philips Ambilight Setup
Sean Gallup / Staff / Getty Images

Philips Ambilight Plasma TV Recall

On March 16, 2006, The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced through its Web site, in Alert #06-536, that Philips Consumer Electronics had voluntarily issued a recall notice on plasma flat panel televisions with the Ambilight feature. According to the announcement, "Consumers should stop using the Ambilight feature immediately unless otherwise instructed." Adding, it is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

These TVs were sold in consumer electronic stores nationwide from June 2005 through January 2006 for between $3,000 and $5,000. There are about 12,000 units affected. 

Why the Recall

Arcing by capacitors inside the left and right side of the back cabinets of these TVs could pose a safety risk.

The recall involved only certain 42 and 50 inches, 2005 model Philips branded Plasma Flat Panel Televisions with Ambilight technology, which is an ambient lighting feature that projects a soft light onto the wall behind the TV to enhance the display. 

Philips had received nine reports of arcing by the capacitors. The results of such incidents were contained within the TVs due to the use of flame retardant materials resulting only in damage to the TV. There had been no injuries reported.

What TVs Were Affected

The TVs were manufactured with the following model, date codes, and serial numbers:

ModelDisplay TypeProduction BeganProduction EndedBeginning Serial RangeEnding Serial Range
42PF9630A/37PlasmaApril 2005July 2005AG1A0518xxxxxxAG1A0528xxxxxx
50PF9630A/37PlasmaMay 2005August 2005AG1A0519xxxxxxAG1A0533xxxxxx
50PF9630A/37PlasmaJune 2005August 2005YA1A0523xxxxxxYA1A0534xxxxxx
50PF9830A/37PlasmaJune 2005August 2005AG1A0526xxxxxxAG1A0533xxxxxx


The model and serial numbers could be found on the back of the TV.

The serial number could also be obtained by pushing the following keystrokes on the remote control: 123654, after which a customer service menu ("CSM") would be displayed on the screen. In the menu, line 03 displays the type number and line 04 displays the production code (identical to the serial number of the set).

Press the MENU button on the remote to exit the CSM.

What Consumers Were Told To Do

Consumers were instructed to immediately turn off the Ambilight feature and contact Philips for instructions on how to receive free in-home service to have their TV repaired for free.

Aftermath

Following the CPSC announcement, the American Fire Safety Council (AFSC) applauded Philips for the use of fire-retardent materials inside the televisions. In an online statement, Laura Ruiz, chairman for the AFSC, said, "This is yet another example of how flame retardants work to contain the spread of fire and reduce the potential for catastrophic loss of life and property. Just last year, following an Air France crash, government officials credited flame retardants with averting a tragedy by providing enough time for all passengers and crew members to escape the plane."