TV Size Rules Eyed

The Federal Trade Commission may reconsider its rules on how TV screen size must be specified in ads. It is now seeking comment on whether to ax the Picture Tube Rule—or in its full bureaucratic splendor, the Deceptive Advertising as to Sizes of Viewable Pictures Shown by Television Receiving Sets Rule. It dates back to 1966, the heart of the direct-view TV era, and requires screen sizes to be quoted by viewable area unless clearly and conspicuously stated otherwise.

Ads that don’t follow the rules are penalized as deceptive. Why this, why now? As the name implies, the Picture Tube Rule was written when TVs had cathode ray tubes. They required a certain amount of overscan to fill the borders of the screen, losing a little around the edges. Today’s fixed-pixel displays don’t require overscan, so arguably the 1966 rule may need a rethink. But it has been re-examined as recently as 2006, and consumers still need to be protected from phony specs.

Billy's picture

Is that all they have to do with their time? To think that my tax dollars pay for their mischief. Time to lay some of them off. Just some bureaucrats trying to stay busy and keep the laws complicated for their benefit. Now, if they show me evidence of a need, different story, then I will sing their priases, but I'm not holding my breath.