Debunked: 'Infinite' contrast ratio, 240Hz, and Sharp's yellow pixel

Raymond Soneira, creator of DisplayMate and a video quality expert, takes aim at the specsmanship and exaggerations of HDTV and monitor manufacturers.

Is an expanded color gamut really better? No, it's not. Sharp

The cutthroat competition among HDTV-makers inspires constant efforts to one-up the other guy, and the end result are confusing, misleading claims that do little to tell shoppers about true performance and picture quality. At CNET I try to cut through a lot of that "specmanship" in my reviews, and many other critical voices are fighting the good fight too.

"Display Myths Shattered: How Monitor & HDTV Companies Cook Their Specs" collects numerous misleading HDTV and PC monitor specs and debunks them one by one. The author, Raymond Soneira, takes aim at unnecessary--and often harmful to picture quality--user menu controls, extra features, and outright gimmicks in a way that's authoritative yet easy to understand. Soneira founded DisplayMate, a company that sells software used by CNET Labs and numerous other professional outlets for monitor and TV evaluation.

I pretty much agree with everything he says in the piece, from the ridiculousness of "million-to-one" contrast ratios, to the near-invisibility of motion blur in program material and related frivolity of 120Hz, 240Hz, and 600Hz, to the inaccuracy caused by expanded color gamuts, such as the one claimed by Sharp's new yellow-pixel-equipped Quattron TVs. Every TV manufacturer is guilty, and though they'll claim (with some truth) that the market forces them to do it, it's up to critics and informed shoppers to encourage them to improve picture quality, not inflate specs.

About the author

Section Editor David Katzmaier has reviewed TVs at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET's TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as "The Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics."

 

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