So the respected English hi fi publication “Hi Fi News and Record Review” recently undertook the testing of some flat panel TV’s and as part of that review measured the contrast ratio of the sets concerned. Now manufacturers of LCD TV’s are currently claiming contrast ratios of up to 50,000:1; Hi Fi News best figure for the LCD’s on test was … 396:1 …

Surely it is not unreasonable for purveyors and consumers to expect some technically verifiable degree of accuracy in these manufacturer’s claims for their products that are apparently used by people to make purchasing decisions around. It is not only contrast ratio but also brightness and refresh rate that are heavily made over by the marketer’s brush. It is well known “within the trade” that these oft quoted figures bear no relationship to any reality other than the advertisers fear fuelled paranoia of losing market share. As such they are repeating the worst excesses of the eighties trend of quoting PMPO ( peak music power output) wherein if the wattage output of the devices had even a slight connection to reality the world’s energy and carbon crisis would be solved through the use of series wired Sanyo Ghetto Blasters that could apparently produce at least a couple of orders of magnitude more acoustic power than they subtracted from the mains in operation.

Recently we had the example of Hitachi Australia being called to task by David Richards of Smarthouse magazine concerning their “definition of high definition” followed by perhaps not a sheer coincidence with that brand pulling the plug on TV distribution in Australia. It seems that at the bottom of the advertising pond there is no fear whatsoever of Trade Practices and that the consumers expectation of a reasonable standard of accuracy in specification quotation is not actually the industry standard….

In this environment where prices have bottomed and technology has peaked and so many people have spent so much on so many TV’s with so little regard for veracity of written performance parameters; it is time to insist as purveyors and consumers that the brochured specifications be not simply derived from a caffeine fantasy and can be assayed in as much the same way as the power output of a vehicle engine or the size of a piece of furniture. The industry is only committing its end users a disservice by perpetrating these ridiculous figures.