The terms HD Ready and Full HD are easily confused, so it pays to delve deeper behind the words of an advert to make sure you know exactly what you're buying
I bought a 24in Logik television from PC World, which was advertised in the shop as being Full HD (high definition). But when installing the TV I found that it was only HD Ready and needed a Freeview set-top box.
I complained to PC World, which refused to admit its advertising was incorrect. I was offered a full refund, but I expect to get either a Full HD set at no extra cost or a substantial refund, preferably the latter.
First we need to decipher the meaning of the two terms; HD Ready and Full HD. The only term people need to be concerned about is HD Ready. This is the industry standard that guarantees certain features, chiefly that the TV can display video at a resolution of at least 720p, although the term includes the higher 1080p.
The term Full HD is simply a marketing term; it is not a standard and therefore is meaningless. We agree that the terminology can be confusing. HD Ready guarantees the minimum standard for high-definition TV, but if you want the higher-quality 1080p then check the product specification.
We looked at the Logik sets on sale at PC World and they all say ‘Full HD’ and have resolutions from 720p to 1080p. Some of the more expensive sets have even higher resolutions than 1080p.
Mr Mountain was also upset that he would have to buy a Freeview set-top box to access HD programmes. Most TVs come with a built-in Freeview tuner these days, but this set doesn’t seem to. This is not misleading, unless it was actually stated that a Freeview tuner was built-in. However Freeview set-top boxes can be bought for as little as £16.
So Mr Mountain was not misled in the legal sense – there is just a lot of confusion about what the terms HD Ready and Full HD actually mean.
But even if he had been misled, PC World had offered him a full refund. We don’t believe legally he can expect to be offered a higher priced TV or more money than the price of the original TV in order to offset the cost of buying a more expensive set.
Consumers can report misleading adverts to Trading Standards or the Office of Fair Trading. These consumer protection bodies will investigate to see whether there is a case to be answered.
The Sale of Goods Act says that goods must be as described. If this is not the case, the customer has every right to demand a refund or a replacement.
In our opinion, this TV set has been advertised correctly, although we fully understand people are bamboozled by the awful and confusing technical jargon used to describe HD TVs. We explain the technology more fully in the article High-definition TV explained, which you can read by clicking here.
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