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New TV sets have smaller screens than advertised

A considerable number of new TV sets are smaller by as much as 1/2in than what the big print in their ads claim, the “New York Times” reported last week. But trying to find out why is an even bigger mystery.

A Toshiba model listed in a recent Best Buy circular was advertised as 32in class. The fine print reads: 31.5in measured diagonally. In another ad, a Sharp model was advertised as 19in class. The fine print said it measured 18.9in diagonally.

A Sony model is advertised as a 32in class TV, while the fine print tells readers that the set is actually 31.5in measured diagonally.

Best Buy told the newspaper that six months ago it changed its advertising in two respects. It started to point out that TV screens are measured diagonally, and: “We also started using the word ‘Class’ to describe the size of the television if the screen size was not, in fact, exactly the size at which that television is classified,” a company spokesman, Brian Lucas, told the “Times.”

Best Buy, Lucas said, was following the moves and wishes of TV set manufacturers.

Sony said in 2008 it started making the change to the way it advertises and classifies the TVs to consumers. A company spokesman said there are three sizes of TVs in particular, including the 32in, which are generally a few fractions of an inch smaller than the class they belong to. He could not say why. Sharp and Samsung didn’t answer at all.