To: <> Subject: Toshiba HD S23 - Set top box

Dear Toshiba Service Personal,

I am sorry. This email will take awhile. You will probably have to share it with your superiors. Perhaps the Regional Support Manager would be interested?

Anyway, I have a story of woe for you. I’m sure you have heard it (literally) thousands of times. Sometime in 2003 or 2004.. My wife and I purchased a Toshiba HD S23. We bought one, because, we were moving from Adelaide to a remote rural location. We wanted to have the best quality equipment to take with us. Thats why I ignored cheaper unknown brands and chose Toshiba.

Quote:“Toshiba proudly presents the HD-S23A, for consistent high-quality reception of High Definition programming. This stylish unit, in its sleek silver cabinet, optimises reception and image quality of digital video signals. Built to the highest specifications, the HD-S23A features multiple output resolution modes (1080i, 720p, 576p and 576i) and employs gold plated connection terminals for enhanced signal transmission.”

We tested it in Adelaide. The SD reception was fine. But the HD reception suffered from SQUARE BLOCKS occasionally. The antenna we were using at the house in Adelaide was a very small external that was missing half the elements.

So we moved from Adelaide without returning the unit for warranty. Expecting the minor problem with SQUARE BLOCKS to be sorted out with a new antenna at our new rural location.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t researched Digital TV very well, (in more ways that one) our destination didnt have Digital Television available in the area. After trying the HD S23 and deciding that it wasn’t going to work at the new rural location. We repackaged the HD S23 back into its original box. So the HD S23 spent years in that box. Time marched on. The warranty expired on the HD S23 of course.

A couple of years later Digital TV was now being advertised as being available in this area. The Wife and I had recently split up by this time.

About 12 months later. One day for something to do. (While picking up the kids) I found the HD S23 and tried to get it to operate at her location again. Still wouldnt work.(at all.. no signal). In the end my X Wife gave me the HD S23 to see if I could get it working at my location. I suppose she thought it was silly to waste the HD S23 any longer.

So I took it home.

The HD S23 initially worked like a charm. However, as weeks went by, the HD reception suffered from SQUARE BLOCKS on the screen. I initially thought it may have been the result of a poor antenna. The HD reception became rapidly unusable. At least it still worked in SD. But not for long. Eventually even in SD the SQUARE BLOCKS became more and more numerous. (As Im sure you know..) This happened over the summer period of that year. Weather was very hot. We didnt have an air conditioner.

Now I paid $1100 for this junk. Im kinda unhappy about it all. Especially when I work out that for a fraction of the cost. I could have bought a clone of the Toshiba HD S23. (and still had to throw it in the bin.) I trusted Toshiba to deliver quality products to Australias consumers. Toshiba have let me down. Toshiba have let down thousands of Australians who all had to “Throw their HD S23’s in the bin”

This is the type of product that creates CLASS ACTIONS against the manufacturer.

So here we are. I went on ebay an bought myself a BUSH SD STB for $30 and it works great. (so far..) I wondered about buying another Toshiba HD S23 on ebay for parts. But I couldnt find any. So I started searching google.

I wont find any parts will I? Seems they all blew up 18 months from new. All with the same fault. Some (like mine) didn’t even make it to the end of the warranty.

What I read on the internet about this model now makes me shudder. Sold under two other “bargain” brand names. Many Many users of all models complaining about either a blown power supply..

(as we know.. for each person complains publicly on the net.. there are 100’s that didnt make it to the net to complain. I read so many reports from people complaining about their HD S23 suffering from SQUARE BLOCKS or blown psu. and that was obviously the tip of the iceberg.)

Or like myself.. Many read the information about how the HD S23 blows it’s main logic chip and just couldn’t be bothered adding identical fault information to the dozens of existing unhappy X HD S23 owners forum threads.

(dry caps.. ie: poor quality caps.. or poor circuit design causing them to get too much voltage?? Like maybe the big HOT chip in the middle of the mainboard that is causing all this?? With its blown gate or 2 due to thermal runaway?? .. Does this sound familiar? I read it all on the net…)

What I didnt read on the net was what I already knew about switch mode power supplys. Which is that they must operate in balance. Otherwise the power supply will shutdown. With an open circuit or a closed circuit. (Normally designed to blow open) So a switch mode is either on or off. When a component draws too much voltage or current the switch mode accomodates but in the process slowly frys. Which in turn speeds up the original problem.

So I took my cover off the HD S23.. and looked underneath the top cover. Sure enough. The HD S23 has been leaving heat marks on the underside of the top cover. Those components have been cooking.

A couple of the heat marks are due to heatsinked regulators. So those marks are expected. However, the heat mark left in the center of the cover. The one that is directly over the large central chip on the mainboard would be the logical suspect for this crime.

(Though circuit designers who dont heatsink.or purposely design weak points would run a close second..I’m beginning to think.)

There is and inch and a half of air between the top cover and the suspect chip. I wouldnt have expected heat marks like that in a unit that had only done 6 months of service.

I know this unit is physically old but it’s only done 6 months of work and it cost over $1100. I know the HD S23 is junk by todays standards. But nowadays, as a single unemployed parent who lives remotely with his two teenagers. I cant afford another HD STB even with current cheap pricing. So I’d still like to try repair it.

Knowing electronics and the net fairly well, as I do. I believe the HD S23’s should have all been recalled. Toshiba really lost a lot of goodwill when they sprung the HD S23 on the unsuspecting public.

Quote about the IBM PSU recall:“As technology advances, it is likely that other such recalls will crop up. A major reason, said META Group analyst Rob Schafer, is the overheating issue. “Technology continues to get more dense and compact,… But, he added, shrinking technology causes processing power to get squeezed into a small space, and that causes overheating danger. “Technology developers are facing some significant issues surrounding design, and it’ll continue to be a challenge for at least the next decade,” Schafer noted.”


Comsumer Affairs would have received quite a few complaints from irate Toshiba HD S23 STB owners when just outside their warranty period the Toshiba blows up. I bet they would have been aware of many Customer problems with this unit.

(I may check with them to see if they have a log of complaints received on the HD S23)

From what I can work out from reading the various forums. After initially informing your warranty/non warranty customers that replacement boards were perhaps up to 12 months away. (Back in 2006 - Demand for spares must have got a lot of people nervous about the HD S23 then.)

Next Service has to deal with lots of unhappy owners of blown HD S23’s, now out of warranty. Toshiba quotes $280 for a replacement main board. (Complete with the same original fault.. Sheesh Toshiba.. Thats just wrong!!)

Then, I guess to try and ward off bulk consumer hostility. A Toshiba Service Department unsucessfully trys to dissipate heat from the offending chip with various heatsinks.

This must have eventually led to a modification that your Service Center was performing on the HD S23’s that were coming in with the “SQUARE BOXES”. After a HD S23 had been repaired in your service department (I assume) I read that the mod seemed to consist of a wire that ran from the tuner unit all the way across the mainboard?

I guess what I am asking is “Would you at least perform that fix on my HD S23 for free?” - “How about a small charge?” - Quote on Price please? Time to repair? Freight charges?

Let me show you the stick I have already beat others with. Bare in mind that I really dont care either way on the outcome of this email. I have a BUSH SD STB now to watch TV with.

You see, To me this letter represents how a Global Corporations like Toshiba will source any old piece of junk as long as it’s cheap. Then present it to the Public with a respected well known brandname. The HD S23 was a classic example of this kind of Corporate hoodwinking. I can use such examples of Corporate underhandedness on my website.

Unfortunately for Toshiba (and other Global Players) I have created myself a little website where I rant and rave and pretty well sprout off about whatever I please. If something upsets me. I write about it. I have over 500 hand crafted webpages being searched regularly by google from my server.

I think you know where this is heading now? This letter and Toshiba’s reply will be posted on my website at

If Toshiba offered to repair the HD S23 for free or offered another HD model as a replacement. That would go some distance toward restoring my faith in the Toshiba brand.

That would prove to me that the $1100 I spent with Toshiba towards getting a quality product, wasnt totally wasted money..

I would be very greatful. That would give me the incentive that I need to write glowing praises about the Toshiba brand, rather than my previous condemnations.

Please advise how you would like to handle this matter.


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