Consumer Recall: Philips Ambilight Plasma TVs

All About the 2006 Incident

Philips Ambilight Setup
Sean Gallup / Staff / Getty Images

On March 16, 2006, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced through its website, 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." The alert added that 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. About 12,000 units were affected. 

Why the Recall

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

The recall involved only certain 42- and 50-inch, 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 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. No injuries were reported.

Which TVs Were Affected

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

Model Display Type Production Began Production Ended Beginning Serial Range Ending Serial Range
42PF9630A/37 Plasma April 2005 July 2005 AG1A0518xxxxxx AG1A0528xxxxxx
50PF9630A/37 Plasma May 2005 August 2005 AG1A0519xxxxxx AG1A0533xxxxxx
50PF9630A/37 Plasma June 2005 August 2005 YA1A0523xxxxxx YA1A0534xxxxxx
50PF9830A/37 Plasma June 2005 August 2005 AG1A0526xxxxxx AG1A0533xxxxxx

The model and serial numbers were located 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) displayed on the screen. In the menu, line 03 displays the type number and line 04 displays the production code, which is 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.


Following the CPSC announcement, the American Fire Safety Council (AFSC) applauded Philips for the use of fire-retardant 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."