Following a series of stories on Full HD and Hitachi plasma and LCD TVs, Hitachi has responded to claims by SmartHouse that the Japanese company has misled consumers.
Hitachi say that in our stories SmartHouse claimed that Hitachi was using a false definition of the term Full HD by saying that a 1920 x 1080 interlaced plasma panel was Full HD.
Hitachi disagrees with SmartHouse’s opinion that 1080i is not legitimate Full HD, saying that SmartHouse’s view is at odds with some definitions of Full HD used throughout the industry.
On 9/11/07 in an article titled ‘ACCC Has Its Say on Full HD’ SmartHouse floated the idea that Hitachi could be incorrectly advertising and marketing its 1080i plasma TVs as Full HD.
“Full HD is a marketing term and is not a defined standard according to any government or broadcasting standards organisation. Other major brands also have differing definitions of Full HD. One specification which is widely acknowledged by many companies (but not all) to be a mandatory for Full HD is that of 1920 x 1080 screen pixels,” said Hitachi.
“Hitachi has always held the view that 1920 x 1080 pixels is Full HD and we have been consistent in our definition throughout all our marketing materials and advertising.
“The reality is that 1920 x 1080 screens provide a much clearer picture than lower resolution television. The differences in quality within this “Full HD” category are minor in comparison with the difference between categories.
“In light of these facts, the claim made by SmartHouse that 1080p is the only legitimate form of Full HD is only their opinion and not a fact,” the company said.
Hitachi also said it takes objection to a statement made by SmartHouse on 9/11/07 that “the Hitachi models both LCD and plasma are not Full HD and they knew this prior to rolling out their latest marketing campaign”.
Hitachi said, “Hitachi Full HD LCD and plasma TVs are genuine 1920 x 1080 Full HD TVs and Hitachi considers that they have been marketed correctly.
“Further to this on 11/11/07 SmartHouse stated that “Hitachi was caught passing off 1080i TV as being Full HD”. We believe that this statement, whilst also being incorrect, was intended to imply that Hitachi was deliberately engaging in deceptive trade practices which we were not.
“Hitachi takes its responsibilities to its customers seriously and would never deliberately mislead them.”
Hitachi continued, “In fact, to ensure that customers are not misled about differences between screens in the Full HD category, Hitachi has taken proactive steps such as providing training for retailers about the differences between 1080p and 1080i.
Hitachi would also like it known that it considers that its staff have been misquoted by SmartHouse and taken out of context. We would like readers to understand that the various allegations which have been made are denied.”
Further, the suggestion that there is a dispute between Hitachi and Harvey Norman has also been denied by HItachi.
“There has at no time been a dispute between Hitachi and Harvey Norman, and relations between us have at all times been amicable,” said the company.
“Hitachi considers that there are several other errors in recent SmartHouse publicity. It does not wish to recite all of them in this letter.
“The key message for customers is that Hitachi would never deliberately mislead them, and that anyone who is confused in any way about the difference between our products should feel free to contact us on 1800 032 689.
“We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our customers for their ongoing loyalty. This has been a very good year for Hitachi Australia, including our consumer products division, and we have you to thank for that.”
The statement is signed Hitachi Australia Management.
SmartHouse’s response to this letter is over the page.
As SmartHouse we believe in the principle of giving any person or company a right of reply. Prior to publishing the first of several stories about Hitachi and their Full HD claims we spoke to a Hitachi marketing executive. They chose not to comment.
4Square Media publishers of SmartHouse stand by our claims that we believe that Hitachi has misled consumers over Full HD. The intent may not have been deliberate but more the actions of Hitachi marketing executives who did not fully understand some of the issues associated with Full HD.
For the record we have chosen not to take the word of any vendor on the issue of what constitutes full HD. We maintain that there are two definitions of Full HD. 1080i and 1080p and both deliver a different full HD experience.
An example of an independent description of what constitutes Full HD and 1080i Vs 1080p can be found in the Wikipedia dictionary. We have also relied on information from the likes of the Consumer Electronics Association, CEDIA and other professional bodies.
If one visits http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1080i you will find the following description of 1080i Vs 1080p.
The Wikipedia dictionary describes 1080i vs. 1080p as follows.
“To compare 1080i and 1080p, it is important to compare frame-rates. Due to interlacing, 1080i has twice the frame-rate but half the resolution of a 1080p signal using the same bandwidth, although, also due to interlacing, 1080i looks to be the same resolution, although with more flicker. Faster frame-rates are especially useful in sports shows and other shows with fast-moving action. However, on some flat screens that do not support interlacing, this instead becomes smeared or jarred artifacts,” says Wikipedia.
“Current digital television broadcast systems and standards are not equipped for 1080p50/60 transmission. Also, the majority of consumer televisions offered for sale are currently not equipped to receive or decode a 1080p signal at any frequency. It is less bandwidth-intensive to broadcast a film at 1080p24 than 1080i30, since 20% less data would be transferred. In addition, when the source material is 24 frames per second, as are most films, it would be easy to convert a 1080p24 broadcast to an NTSC 1080i30 format using a 3:2 pull down process. Moreover, displaying a p24 broadcast on an i50 system (such as PAL) requires the speed of video and audio be increased by over 4% (to 25 frames per second).
“For videos the frames (25 or 30 per second) are segmented into two interlaced fields with equal time index (psf, progressive in or with segmented frames). The deinterlacer has to perform a simple weave only. This ensures compatibility with 1080i25/30 with only a little less coding efficiency than 1080p25/30 and half the bandwidth requirement of 1080p50/60, but the SDTV problems of PAL speed- up and Telecine judder remain.”
SmartHouse still believes that Hitachi advertising is misleading and above all confusing. While focused on selling Hitachi TV’s as Full HD they fail to communicate that there is a distinct difference between Full HD 1080i and Full HD 1080p.
In one advertisement Hitachi show an equally sized Hitachi screen on a bench top. The advertisement indicates that one side is plasma and one side and LCD TV. The only problem is that Hitachi does not have a Full HD LCD TV or plasma that is the same size and despite saying that the screen shown is the 1080i 50-inch Hitachi plasma it obviously cannot be “Interactive entertainment on an LCD TV” .
Alongside a Full HD Logo they range several TV screens. However their 42-inch LCD TV shown is 1080p while their 50-inch plasma is 1080i. However Hitachi fails to reveal this in their advertising instead they lob all models into one Full HD description.
In another Hitachi DPS advertisement for Full HD TVs the company claims that their 50-inch plasma TV which is 1080i delivers the “The ultimate high definition experience”. They also say that Full HD movies and video games are available on Blu-ray.
While this is correct Hitachi makes no attempt to explain that Blu-ray running on a 1080i TV will NOT deliver a full Blu-ray Full HD experience. To achieve this TV needs to have 1080p, we believe, and this is why we stand by our claims that Hitachi has engaged in misleading advertising.
In fact they make no attempt to explain the difference between 1080i and 1080p instead they have lobbed a mishmash of Full HD statement into their advertising.
In offering consumers who have purchased their Hitachi 1080i Full HD plasma TVs a refund is admirable and it shows that Hitachi has not deliberately set out to mislead but is more a victim of sloppy marketing which in today’s technology confusing marketplace is a big ‘no, no’.