Microsoft has extended the three year "Red Ring of Death" warranty cover it offered to Xbox 360 owners to cover a new fault - the E74 fault.
Here's Microsoft knowledge base entry on the change to the warranty:
While the majority of Xbox 360 owners continue to have a great experience with their console, we are aware that a very small percentage of our customers have reported receiving an error that displays “E74” on their screen. After investigating the issue, we have determined that the E74 error message can indicate the general hardware failure that is associated with three flashing red lights error on the console. As a result, we have decided to cover repairs related to the E74 error message under our three-year warranty program for certain general hardware failures that was announced in July 2007. We have already made improvements to the console that will reduce the likelihood of an occurrence of this issue. Detailed information related to the Xbox 360 warranty and resources for those who require repair can be found at www.xbox.com/support (www.xbox.com/support) .
Microsoft will refund to customers the amount paid for an out of warranty repair due to a general hardware failure associated with the e74 error message. Those customers should automatically receive the refund within 4-12 weeks, and no additional action by customers should be necessary. However, if a customer has not received a refund by July 1, 2009, the customer should visit www.xbox.com/support before November 1, 2009 for information on how to place a claim. All refund claims must be received on or before November 1, 2009.
Reports of this problem started appearing around mid-2008 and have been increasing in frequency. Prior to this warranty extension the fault was only covered if it occurred during the first year. Now all customers who paid for repairs should see a refund.
This warranty cover was previously reserved for consoles suffering from the "Red Ring of Death" which appeared to be a CPU/GPU issue. The E74 error seems to be down to the ANA/HANA scaling chip working its way loose.
I know a number of people who have been affected by this issue. I also know quite a few who have bought new consoles because they didn't want to pay for a repair. This change to the warranty is too late to help them out, which sucks. I also know quite a few people who have been through several consoles, which isn't a reassuring trend.
On a personal level I've wanted an Xbox 360 for some time but have always chickened out of pulling the trigger on a purchase at the last minute several times because I come across a higher than average failure rate for these consoles. This new change to the warranty might change that, but I can't help but feel that another problem is lurking just around the corner. I think I'd feel better if Microsoft just extended the Xbox 360 warranty to a full three years for all faults.