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Electronics Companies Exaggerated TV Sizes, CA Schools Benefit

Does size matter?

Five electronics companies are donating more than $1 million worth of televisions and other audio-visual equipment to schools and other public institutions in California because they exaggerated the size of their TV screens, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced Thursday.

San Diego and six other California counties brought a consumer protection regulatory action against LG Electronics, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp and Sony after it was discovered they were rounding up the actual size of their TV screens.

"It may seem like a small discrepancy, but the District Attorney's Consumer Unit is responsible for protecting the consumer and making sure corporations are complying with the state truth-in-advertising laws," Dumanis said. "In addition, as a result of this settlement, schools and other public entities will benefit in a very direct way."

She said the manufactures agreed to donate more than $1.1 million worth of audio-visual equipment to public institutions throughout California, and to pay $1.25 million in court costs and other relief.

The companies are also under an injunction that clarifies how screen size measurements are to be represented in the future.

In the past, most TV makers have rounded up the size of their screens, measured diagonally, to the nearest inch. But the California Division of Measurement Standards and the local Weights and Measures Departments felt that violated California law and brought their concerns to the attention of county prosecutors.

According to prosecutors, the manufacturers have voluntarily changed their practices, and for the last four years, they have been been rounding up the viewable diagonal picture sizes to the nearest tenth of an inch.

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