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Advertising Law

Suits: Fuzzy Logic in High-Def TV Ads

Posted Jul 13, 2007 3:27 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Which service is better for high-definition TV viewers—cable or satellite? Lawsuits contend advertising on the subject isn’t giving consumers a clear picture.

DirecTV has sued Comcast Cable for its ad claiming that satellite customers prefer its HD picture quality. The commercial is based on a comparison of picture quality on two side-by-side TV sets. The suit, filed in federal court in Chicago, claims the ad is “literally false.” Comcast says it stands by the claim.

The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) has its own observations on problems with the ad. It says some channels pay to have their pictures broadcast at maximum resolution while others don’t. The picture can also be affected by the way televisions are set up.

DirecTV is the defendant in another lawsuit over its ad in which Jessica Simpson says, "It's broadcast in 1080i. I totally don't know what that means, but I want it." The newspaper points out that 1080i is the standard followed by all providers.

A federal judge in New York ordered the company to stop running the ad. The ruling is on appeal. DirecTV says it stands by its advertising.

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