Updated: The BBC's consumer affairs programme Watchdog is to air a segment tonight which features Sony's PlayStation 3 consoles and an alleged 'yellow light of death' hardware failure which is said to shut down select systems straight after reboot.

The programme, according to Games Industry.biz, is claiming that there are inherent hardware problems with the PS3 and Sony's repair service isn't doing enough to fix borked machines.

This has lead Sony to release a six-page rebuttal against Watchdog, in which Sony's UK MD, Ray Maguire, states: "From the correspondence to date, I have serious concerns as to the accuracy of these allegations and the likely tone of the Watchdog report."

Sony is claiming that instead of testing a whole heap of PS3 machines, Watchdog's findings centre round three consoles, one of which had already been tampered with by its owner.

In the programme, presenter (and occasional games journalist) Iain Lee sets up shop outside Sony's UK head office as the PlayStation Repair Action Team.

This 'team' offers to fix broken, and out of warranty, PS3s for free.

Yellow light of death

While Sony does admit that the term 'yellow light of death' is being used by "certain members of the online community", it does not believe that what is shown in the programme represents this problem, saying: "fewer than one half of one per cent of units have been reported as failing in circumstances where the yellow indicator is illuminated.

"As Watchdog has a very high awareness among the UK audience, it isn't surprising that some people have contacted you with regard to this issue.

"However we think it is highly unfair to suggest that from an installed base of 2.5 million that the numbers you mention somehow are evidence of a 'manufacturing defect'."

Protecting Sony's reputation

The statement continues: "I regret to say that neither the correspondence to date, nor the 'PlayStation Repair Action Team' stunt, have given me much confidence that you are treating this issue fairly," explains Maguire.

"If the report is broadcast in what appears to be its current form, SCEUK [Sony UK] will scrutinise its accuracy and will take all necessary steps to protect its reputation and that of the PS3."

It's fair to say that Sony is not taking these allegations lightly.

If you want to read more on this, then check out Games Industry.biz, where they have printed the six-page response in full.

The episode of Watchdog in question is being aired tonight at 8PM on BBC1. On Watchdog's website, the episode blurb states: "Iain Lee solves a problem with one of the best known gadgets in the world - which the manufacturers refuse to fix."

Via Games Industry.biz