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PC World slow to advertise actual screen sizes

Taking ad industry ruling to the wire

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PC World is carrying on with old style misleading monitor advertising until the last possible second.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled it will no longer accept standard industry practice of giving CRT (cathode ray tube) sizes in adverts, without explaining how much of that the user can actually see. All PC adverts placed after 1 May will have to comply with this decision.

Today PC World is advertising PIII eMachines and 1GHz Packard Bell Athlon systems with 17-inch monitors. Now PC World may have placed the adverts a week ago (we're waiting to hear if that's the case) and so felt it didn't need to comply with the ruling just yet. (You can see 15.9 inches of screen with the 17-inch monitors that come with the Packard Bells by the way.)

PC World seems to be the only PC seller still using CRT sizes, without explanations, in national newspaper adverts.

The ASA got on the monitor case after complaints were made against Evesham.com, Time Computers and Tiny Computers and the sizes of monitors in their adverts. All three companies said they were just following industry practice.

Tiny is already complying with the ASA ruling. Well, its not saying how much of the screen you can see, but in newspaper adverts for a system with a 17 inch CRT monitor it points out in brackets that this is 'Not viewable size'.

The ASA was very careful to point out that there would be no get out by burying the screen size explanations in microprint. "Explaining industry practice in small print and footnotes is not prominent enough. It has to say it prominently," said the ASA spokesman at the time.

Dell is complying too, and says its been giving viewable screen sizes for three years. Its advertising copy for a 17 inch display says '17in Colour Monitor (15.9"v.i.s, 0.28 dot pitch)'. V.i.s stands for 'viewable in screen' and Dell reckons any consumer could figure out what it means. Hmmmm.

Jungle.com is being super conscientious. Though the advertising issue was concerning CRT sizes, it is advertising a Relisys 15.1 inch colour TFT screen today, and is giving its viewable screen size as 15 inches.

While we're talking about PC World we should point out its knocked £10 on its super value PC Healthcheck. Its now £29.99 for a PC valet; one-to-one consultation with warranty/memory upgrade/software salesman, sorry, technical expert; full diagnostic and virus check etc. Click here to read what we thought about the service. It seems keen to get machines made by Dell, Tiny and Time on the operating table. ®

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