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Truth in HDTV advertising

Kevin C. Tofel

I know it's the weekend and we should all be relaxing in front of our HDTV sets, but I have to rant a little. Ok; maybe more than a little. It's not even a new rant; I covered this a few months back in an open letter to the FCC on clear, accurate product labeling for HDTVs.

Today I saw an ad in my Best Buy flyer for a Magnavox 42-inch widescreen Plasma HDTV. Now, as we all know from our personal experience and from our HDTV defined feature a few weeks back, for a set to carry an HDTV label, it must output a minimum resolution of 720p. Less than 720p is either EDTV or SDTV; a pair of acronyms we never utter in my house.

So, what's the resolution per the ad and per the Best Buy website?

1024 x 768, which isn't HDTV, folks. In fact, it's 256 horizontal vertical lines shy of HDTV, so what gives? What's even worse is if you look at the details of the set on the site. See, in order to "educate" consumers, Best Buy has a run-down of specs along with definitions of each property.

Let's look at the "Maximum Resolution" that Best Buy indicates this very set it capable of: 1080i. Huh? Whaddya talking' 'bout; this is NOT a 1080i set. Can it receive a 1080i signal; yep, it sure can, but that's not the "Maximum Resolution" by any means. I'm not trying to pick on Best Buy; this is simply an example and just another reason that we need mandated, consumer-friendly labeling for truth in HD advertising. Who's with me?

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