The acid test of a manufacturing company is simple: how well do its products work? My first colour tv was a Sony Trinitron. It was described as portable, which it was, once you’d done a little light weight-lifting. The picture, though, was sensationally better than anything I’d seen before. It transformed the experience of watching telly. It cemented Sony’s reputation for quality products.

My latest tv is a big flat-screen Sony, which sits on a Sony DVD player. I would not buy either again. The tv takes an age to warm up (or whatever flat screens have to do) and needs the curtains drawn on a bright winter’s day. The DVD player has a mind of its own, so it’s reluctant to take orders. The back of the zapper falls off, so a little knock can cause a tumble of batteries onto the floor.

From a by-word for quality, Sony is now down among the also-rans, so I’m not surprised to see that it’s losing money hand over fist, especially in manufacturing televisions. It has a new chief executive, replacing Japan’s most famous Welshman who has failed to stop the rot, but Kazuo Hirai’s grand plan to restore Sony’s name to somewhere near its former glory hardly inspires confidence. Today’s Sony is much more than TVs, of course, but internet television will make the world’s sets as redundant as a Trinitron, so I’m in the market again – and I won’t be buying a Sony.

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