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Comcast shouldn't claim DirecTV tech is "old," ad group says

Industry self-regulation group says Comcast should avoid several claims in advertising its Xfinity X1 set-top box cable service.


A satellite dish belonging to DirecTV in Washington, DC.


Just because it rhymes doesn't mean it's true. That's the message to Comcast from the National Advertising Division, an investigative unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

Specifically, Comcast shouldn't claim that DirecTV built its cable service on "tech that's old." The company did so in an ad spoofing the 1980s-era Starship song that starts, "We built this city on rock 'n' roll." In the ad, dancers wearing drab office clothes wave around the signature small satellite dishes that come with DirecTV subscriptions and sing, "We built this thingy on tech that's old."

The decision comes in response to a complaint from DirecTV against two ads created by Comcast to advertising its Xfinity X1 set-top box cable service. The complaint also accuses Comcast of falsely claiming it has four times as many TV shows and movies on demand, that DirecTV doesn't offer users voice-controlled features and that DirecTV forces customers to watch reruns.

The National Advertising Division agreed with all of DirecTV's complaints but one. The line about watching reruns was "puffery" and "need not be substantiated," according to a release Thursday from the organization.

In a statement to the National Advertising Division, Comcast's advertiser said it "accepts NAD's decision ... and will take NAD's recommendations into account in developing future advertisements."

Representatives from AT&T, which owns DirecTV, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.