ASA Adjudication on LG Electronics UK Ltd
LG Electronics UK Ltd
250 Bath Road
1 February 2012
Internet (on own site), Point of sale, Press general
Number of complaints:
A press ad, the advertisers own website and a sales promotion:
a. The press ad was headlined "It's 3D TV (But not as we know it)". Further text included "Unlike other 3D TVs, with LG Cinema TV, everyone will feel the full effect of the 3D experience. That's because the ultra wide viewing angles allow you and your family and friends to sit where you want in comfort. This is the world's first flicker free with HD 1080p enhanced picture quality giving you a screen that's clearer and twice as bright as conventional 3D TV's".
b. The website stated "LESS COMPLICATED. MORE COMFORTABLE. It's never been easier or more affordable to enjoy 3D TV. Our 3D glasses are just like the ones you get at most cinemas - there are no batteries required and they don't need recharging. Plus. they're easy to replace, lightweight and give you a stunning full HD 3D picture. PICTURE PERFECT 3D FROM ANY ANGLE. LG Cinema gives you wider viewing angles so you don't have to rearrange your living room. You can sit where you want, how you want, and you'll still get the same immersive 3D experience. Plus, wider viewing angles means more room for friends and family to share in the fun. So, whether it's match day or movie night, no one is left out of the action. BRILLIANT IN 3D AND 2D Up to two times brighter than conventional 3D TV's the LG Cinema 3D TV produces a brighter and clearer picture in stunning FULL HD 3D picture quality ".
c. The sales promotion for LG 3D Cinema included the text "FULL HD 1080P".
Samsung Electronics challenged whether:
1. the claim "Full HD 3D Picture" in ad (b) was misleading because they believed the technology used passive 3D technology which had a lower line resolution than that used by full HD,
Samsung Electronics and a technology journalist challenged whether:
2. the claims "you can sit where you want, how you want and you'll still get the same immersive experience" in ad (b) and "That's because the ultra wide viewing angles allow you and your family and friends to sit where you want in comfort" in ad (a) could be substantiated, because they understood passive 3D televisions had a very small viewing angle for 3D content; and
3. the claim "FULL HD 1080p" and "HD 1080p" in ads (a) and (c) were misleading because they understood that passive 3D televisions displayed images that had a lower resolution than full HD.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
LG Electronics UK Ltd (LG) stated that High Definition" or "HD" television technology had been available for some years but that more recently, "Full HD" had become an accepted marketing term indicating a higher "display" or "line" resolution of 1920x1080 pixels compared to ordinary HD displaying 1280x720 pixels. They stated that, until recently, consumer 3D televisions predominantly used a technology known as 'active 3D' to display 3D images. They said that LG had manufactured 3D televisions using both active and passive 3D technology known as "Film Patterned Retarder" or "FPR". They said these 3D televisions were branded "LG Cinema 3D" and were manufactured to provide Full HD display resolution when in both 2D and 3D mode. They stated that it was these televisions that were the subject of the complaint. They said Full HD was commonly defined as a screen resolution of 1920x1080 pixels and that this was irrespective of whether it was progressive (p) or interlaced (i). They stated that this was supported by EC Regulations which defined "FULL HD Resolution" as a pixel count of at least 1920x1080. They said 3D imaging was in essence an optical illusion whereby the viewer was given the impression of seeing depth. They stated that there were two methods adopted by television manufacturers known as "active 3D" and "passive 3D" and that active technology required the use of powered spectacles that alternated the image in one eye and a blank image in the other, whereas passive technology projected a partial image simultaneously into both eyes using polarised glasses. They explained that this partial image consisted of 540 of the even lines being seen by one eye in one moment with the odd numbered lined being viewed by the other eye. They stated that this rapidly changed so that the eye seeing the odd numbered lines then saw the even lines and vice versa. They stated that these images changed quickly within a single frame of film and that the brain therefore perceived all 1080 lines of information. They added that with active systems, 1080 lines were conveyed to each eye in the same time that zero lines were conveyed to the other and that these then swapped resulting in the same number of lines being conveyed through both the passive and active system within the same single frame. They stated that the product being advertised used the passive 3D technology.
1. They maintained that all LG Cinema 3D televisions displayed Full HD in 2D and 3D and that they had been designed, manufactured and marketed as having a display resolution of 1920x1080 pixels in both 2D and 3D modes at all times. They stated that the products had also received an approved 'Full HD' specification from an independent company who were established at carrying out technical tests and that it was upon this document that it had formally instructed its manufacturing arm to commence manufacture. They stated that this technology applied equally to all LG Cinema 3D televisions promoted in the advertising in question. They provided a copy of this product specification certificate to substantiate the display resolution claims. They stated that there was no reduction in display resolution since the full 1920x1080 lines were used at all times in order to create the 3D image. They provided independent third-party verification which stated that the tested LG 3D HD TV used all of the lines in both 2D and 3D modes and that the image was therefore 'Full HD' and "1080p".
2. They stated that, when considering viewing positions and angles it was common to refer to (1) vertical viewing angles: the height at which the eyes are from the floor when viewing, (2) horizontal viewing angles: whether the viewer was facing the screen head-on or from one side and (3) rotational viewing angles: the extent to which the head and eyes were tilted when viewing. They stated that in each case the viewing angle was not small. They provided information and documentation concerning the best viewing angles in order to get "the full immersive experience" from any seated position the viewer was likely to take up. They stated that, as with any television, there were optimum viewing angles beyond which viewing was impaired but that the LG Cinema 3G range had sufficient viewing angles for normal use for the television within which 3D images were viewable. They stated that viewers would receive the 3D experience not only based on the vertical and horizontal viewing angles, but also based on the position of the viewer's head (i.e. if the head were tilted).
3. They stated that 'p' (progressive) related to the way in which the TV screen refreshed the content and meant that all of the 1080 horizontal lines on the screen were displayed simultaneously in one instance and then again in the next. They stated that this differed from interlacing 'i' in which the horizontal lines were displayed interchangeably. They further stated that interlacing and progressive systems were descriptive terms of how the 3D TV's refreshed the images and that it was entirely separate to the screen resolution. They maintained that all LG Cinema 3D televisions displayed all 1080p lines in 2D and 3D and that had been designed, manufactured and marketed as such. They stated that the products had also received an approved specification from an independent company who were established at carrying out technical tests and that it was upon this document that it had formally instructed its manufacturing arm to commence manufacture. They stated that this technology applied equally to all LG Cinema 3D televisions promoted in the advertising in question. They provide a copy of independent testing of the TV which stated that the screen refreshed using progressive technology.
The ASA noted LG believed that it was accurate to refer to the product as producing a "Full HD 3D picture". We understood that with 2D TV's, the term Full HD did not have an officially standardised status but that it was a marketing term which had become understood by the industry and the consumer to mean a screen that had a line resolution of 1920x1080. We noted there was also no formal definition of Full HD within a 3D format but considered it likely that a consumer would expect a claim for Full HD in 3D to be a claim that the viewer would be able to view the screen with a full 1080 line resolution. We understood that there was some disagreement within the industry when describing the number of lines on a set when viewed through 3D glasses and that the calculations differed depending on how the number of lines viewed at any one time were measured. We noted the LG TV used passive technology, meaning that each eye viewed the screen with a resolution of 540 odd lines in one instance and then the remaining 540 even lines in the next. We noted LG believed this happened so quickly within a single frame that the brain put these two images together resulting in a collective viewing of all odd and even lines thus resulting in a resolution of the full 1080 lines. We also noted LG's comments that this differed from active 3D TV's which provided the full 1080 lines in one instance to one of the eyes and then zero lines in the next and that this rapidly swapped so that the eye which received the 1080 lines then received zero lines of information and vice versa. We noted their comments that during the same single frame, there were times at which there were zero lines of information in one of the viewer's eyes. We noted LG had provided certification from a respected testing company which stated that the product had been certified as being Full HD in 3D Mode. We also noted there was some disagreement with these results and that Samsung had itself consulted independent experts who had carried out tests on the same LG TV and concluded that the passive TV was not Full HD because the brain did not put together the odd and even lines as LG had stated in their literature. We noted 3D TV's were an emerging technology and there was no general industry agreement on how to measure "Full HD" within the context of viewing a FULL HD screen through 3D glasses. However, we considered that LG had provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that within one frame of film, the viewer would see the full 1080 lines through their passive TV glasses and that it was therefore accurate to use the term Full HD providing additional information was supplied about how this was achieved. We considered that the fact that the LG 3D TV used passive technology to achieve the Full HD effect was likely to be factor that would affect a consumer's decision to purchase the product. We therefore considered that, without further qualification to indicate that the Full HD resolution was delivered using passive technology, ads (a) and (c) were misleading.
On this point the ads (a) and (c) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1and 3.3 (Misleading advertising).
2. Not upheld
We considered that most viewers would interpret the text "you can sit where you want, how you want and you'll still get the same immersive experience" as a claim that the viewer would be able to view the content in 3D providing they were seated in a such a way that they could comfortably view the entire screen. We understood that the 3D image would become distorted if the viewing angle was outside that of the optimum but considered that most consumers would understand that this would impair the 3D image. We considered that the vertical and horizontal viewing angles at which the 3D image could be viewed were within the expectation of the average consumer who had an interest in 3D TV's and therefore concluded that the ad was not misleading.
On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1, 3.3 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.11 (Exaggeration) but did not find it in breach.
We noted LG believed that it was accurate to refer to the product as having a resolution of '1080p' because the screen refreshed all 1080 lines of information simultaneously when in both 2D and 3D modes. We also noted their comments that the refresh method ('progressive' or 'interlacing') was distinct from the line resolution denoted by the number (1080) and that the claim 1080p would be understood by consumers as a claim that the LG 3D TV displayed 1080 lines of information, and that all of these lines would be refreshed on the screen simultaneously. We noted Samsung believed that because the screen resolution was split between the eyes when viewed through the 3D glasses, it was incorrect to state that the TV used the 'progressive" refresh technology and they believed that it actually used the interlacing refresh technology, which resulted in the screen resolution being halved and therefore not 1080p (or Full HD). We noted one of the submitted reports from an independent testing body confirmed that the TV used the progressive (p) refresh method. We understood that the way in which the technology refreshed the lines on the TV screen was separate from the way in which the line resolution on that screen was then viewed through the passive 3D glasses and therefore considered that the method of refresh itself, regardless of whether it used the interlacing or progressive method, was unlikely to affect the line resolution of the screen and that it was therefore technically accurate to describe the screen as progressive or (p). However, we considered that, along with the number 1080 (which denoted line resolution), consumers would understand from the claims 1080p and "HD 1080p" that all 1080 lines displayed on the screen would be refreshed simultaneously and would be viewed as such when viewing that screen through the 3D glasses. We understood that there was disagreement within the industry about whether the simultaneous display of those 1080 lines would then also be viewed collectively through the passive 3D glasses and noted Samsung believed that because the lines were then split between the left and right eyes, the 1080 line resolution was then halved when viewing the screen in 3D mode. We understood that testing carried out by LG stated that the brain put the two sets of 540 lines (from the left and right eye) back together again to create the full 1080 lines and therefore resulted in the 1080 line resolution within the 1080p description. Based on the evidence supplied we considered that it was therefore accurate to describe the screens as 1080p or HD 1080p providing additional information was supplied to make clear that this was delivered to consumers using passive technology when in 3D mode. We considered that the fact that the LG 3D TV used passive technology to achieve the 1080p or HD 1080p effect was likely to be factor that would affect a consumer's decision to purchase the product. We therefore considered that, without further qualification to indicate that the 1080p or HD 1080p specification was delivered using passive technology, ads (a) and (c) were misleading.
On this point ads (a) and (c) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising).
The ads should not appear again in its current form. We told LG to make clear that its product used passive 3D technology.