Thousands of people across Britain have been unable to watch any Freeview channels on their Sony HXD digital video recorders since Friday evening. Affected customers are complaining that they have wasted hours trying to retune their units and there are even claims that some people have bought replacement recorders. The problem has been variously attributed to Sony performing a firmware upgrade and Freeview changing the format of the electronic programme guide (EPG) that they transmit. However, as of Monday 22nd July, the only communication from Sony was a brief acknowledgement of the problem and an assurance that they were working to fix it.
Once again, this incident highlights the importance of effective communication during an incident. Much of the criticism in on-line forums has focused on the lack of response from Sony’s customer support teams and problems with the technical support website; and, critically, we still have no indication of when the problem will be resolved. This lack of communication may, in part be, due to another interesting aspect of this particular incident – the fact that the units are actually manufactured by Pioneer. Sony are to be commended for not publicly passing the buck; but an important part of building supply chain continuity is to ensure that, when disruptions do occur, supply chain partners are able to work together effectively to resolve them.