Disgruntled owners of Sony's Bravia televisions have accused the company of "censoring" its community forums by preventing users from reporting technical issues. Users on Reddit say the company has locked threads containing complaints about its 4K televisions to suppress negative feedback in the run-up to the high-spending season.
One of the threads removed by Sony contained 90 pages-worth of reports of input lag issues affecting its 2016 line of ultra-high definition (UHD) Bravia sets. The thread is titled, "Buyers beware, it looks almost the entire 4K 'HDR capable' TV line up from Sony are trash for 4K and HDR gaming" and clicking on the link now brings up an empty page with the error message: "the topic you are trying to access is not available."
Users say they attempted to begin a second thread under the same name, which was removed by Sony within 10 minutes, while on the third attempt Sony immediately deleted the thread.
Input lag refers to a delay between a television receiving a signal and actually displaying it. In gaming, this causes a delay – or lag – between the player pressing a button and seeing the desired effect on-screen.
Reddit user GivingCreditWhereDue, who originally reported the matter, wrote: "Sony's 2016 Bravia line is ill-equipped to handle 4K gaming, as their flagship models have really high levels of input latency. Sony advertises their x930D Bravia model as best fit for the PS4 Pro, but users who actually have it face a severe disadvantage when it comes to competitive and even casual games like Battlefield.
"Sony also promised a marshmallow update for their 2016 line in sometime October which has been indefinitely postponed without any news. Basically, Sony is trying to censor any bad press regarding their 2016 TVs for the holiday season, so I want to get the word out."
Sony has yet to reply to a request for comment from IBTimes UK. While purposely censoring customer complaints would be morally and legally questionable, it's possible that there are other forces at play here. Sony's Community Guidelines prohibit "anything that violates any law or appears to support any illegal activities, such as drug use, piracy, hacking, etc," and also warns against "spamming, solicitation, chain letters and advertising". Theoretically, any of the above could have caused Sony to close the threads, particularly if users took to posting links to TVs from rival companies, which could be classed as advertising.
Nevertheless, some users perceive it as a ploy by Sony to get rid of its current Bravia models before the line undergoes a refresh, as well as ensure it can cash in on Black Friday and the run-up to Christmas.