Alarm raised over Full HD TV “lie” in South Africa

It says Full HD on the box, on the back of the TV, and the salesman confirms the display puts out 1080p. There’s just one problem: the panel is not Full HD.

MyBroadband was recently contacted by Abu-Huraira Oman Abdalla, a member of ISACA, who shared the results of tests he conducted on a “Full HD” Telefunken TV.

Abdalla purchased a 32-inch Telefunken TV (TLEDD-32FHDB) from a Game store in KwaZulu-Natal and connected it to a PC for testing.

The TV is sold as a Full HD LED unit with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, with Full HD markings on the box and the back of the device.

When plugged into the PC, though, there was no Full HD resolution to be found.

Tests – Round 1

The first warning sign Abdalla found was that Windows recommended a resolution of 1,360 x 768 when the TV was connected to his test PC.

Tests using MonitorInfoView to see the EDID (Extended Display Identification Data) readings showed that the TV had a maximum resolution of 1,360 x 768.

“We used EDID because it polls data from the TFT control chip on the panel itself and often skips the interface board. It is accurate at gathering information about the OEM panel and avoids
having to open the TV,” said Abdalla.

Abdalla also took photos of the TV’s screen and did a physical pixel count to confirm the findings above.

He found that in a sample area of 12mm x 12mm, there were 32 x 32 pixels. “That is roughly 2.67 pixels per millimetre,” he said.

This works out to approximately 901,125 pixels in total in the display, which is “on par with a panel that outputs 720p”, he said.

“Digital testing along with physical testing leads to the conclusion that the display panel in the Telefunken is not capable of Full HD output of 1,920 x 1,080.”

Abdalla said he could find no “country, standards authority, distributor, or retailer” which accepts 1,366 x 768 as being Full HD.

He said certain retailers he dealt with regarding the TV investigation did not sell the unit as they did not believe in “misleading or lying to customers”.

“I am quite sure that brands that adhered to the rules lost significant sales of 32″ TV sets [correctly] marked as HD Ready. The term Full HD has probably lost its weight with consumers who bought these Telefunken TV sets,” he said.

Abdalla said he has never come across this type of marketing in South Africa before, and found it beyond what the Advertising Standards Authority would call “misleading”.

Tests – Round 2

Telefunken TV test

Abdalla’s tests were backed up by testing done by MyBroadband, after we went to a Game store in Gauteng and purchased the same Telefunken TV.

MyBroadband’s tests on the television showed that:

  • Windows reported the recommended resolution of the TV as 1,360 x 768.
  • At 1,360 x 768, the Windows GUI looked crisp. When the resolution was set to 1,920 x 1,080, it became blurry.
  • Nirsoft’s dumpEDID tool with the TV connected via HDMI and via VGA produced EDID data which showed that the maximum resolution of the screen was 1,360 x 768.

We also opened the TV to access the panel and its linked PCBs – which we photographed and sent to Abdalla for further investigation.

Abdalla provided MyBroadband with manufacturer data on the panel in the TV, which showed the TV was not a Full HD unit.

  • Panel Size – 31.5 inch
  • Resolution – 1,366 x 768

Game, Telefunken, and Nu-World – No claim on native resolution

MyBroadband contacted Game, Nu-World (the distributors of Telefunken TVs in South Africa), and Telefunken international about the TV and its resolution capabilities.

Telefunken

Telefunken said it is a “licenser” and that its licensee and distribution partner in South Africa, Nu-World, would be the right company to contact about the TV.

Game

Game provided MyBroadband with detailed feedback on our questions, stating that the TV complied with the relevant standards and laws.

It said the TV was ISO 900:2008 compliant, was tested and complied with the IEC 60065:2014 standard, and received a letter of authority from the NRCS.

“We believe that the product is compliant,” said Game.

“The product is marketed as Full HD, and the TV supports FHD 1080p, and in general terms any Full HD TV is purely dependant on the source media.”

“There will be a variation between using a DStv decoder which has a maximum HD resolution of 1,366 x 768 (720p), to using a PlayStation or Blu-ray which has a maximum HD resolution of 1080p.”

“The Telefunken HD TV complies with South African compulsory regulations for audio visual equipment by having a test report compliant to IEC 60065.”

Game was then asked if the Telefunken TV in question used a Full HD panel (1,920 x 1,080) panel or a 1,366 x 768 panel.

“The model supports full HD through HDMI and is dependent on source. There is no claim on native resolution, the unit is sold as a TV and not as a high-end monitor.”

The native resolution of an LCD display refers to its single fixed resolution.

“If the requirements are for high-end perfect resolution, one should consider purchasing a unit specifically manufactured for such a purpose,” said Game.

“Different panels are used on different shipments from time to time.”

Nu-World

Nu-World was asked similar questions to Game, including whether the TV uses a 1,920 x 1,080 panel or a 1,366 x 768 panel.

The company said “the unit is sold as a TV” and supports Full HD “dependent on source through HDMI”.

“We make no claim to native resolution. Different panels are used from time to time,” said Nu-World.

The company said if consumers are looking to utilise the TV as a monitor, “they should consider an actual monitor, which panels are specifically produced for such a purpose”.


Testing the TV

Abdalla’s tests also consisted of comparing the Telefunken unit against a 720p Hisense unit.

The image below shows the Windows start menu running on the Hisense at 1,366 x 768, and on the Telefunken at 1,920 x 1,080.

Test 1 Image

The image below shows the square section of pixels which Abdalla measured and counted as part of the tests.

Test 1 Pixel Count

The EDID data from Abdalla’s tests is detailed in the screenshot below. (The software identified the panel as a 26-inch unit during certain tests.)

Test 1


MyBroadband’s EDID tests

MyBroadband’s EDID tests produced the following results:

Monitor Name : AAA
EDID Version : 1.3
Display Gamma : 1.00
Vertical Frequency : 50 – 76 Hz
Horizontal Frequency : 30 – 80 KHz
Image Size : 57.5 x 32.3 cm (26.0 Inch)
Maximum Resolution : 1360 x 768

Supported Display Modes :

720 x 400 70 Hz
640 x 480 60 Hz
800 x 600 56 Hz
800 x 600 60 Hz
1024 x 768 60 Hz
1360 x 768 60 Hz


Opening the TV for testing

TV-Box-Image

TV-Box-Image

TV-Box-Image

Telefunken TV test

Telefunken TV test

Telefunken TV test

Telefunken TV test

Telefunken TV test

TV Panel


Now read: Big price tag for new Sony OLED 4K TVs

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Alarm raised over Full HD TV “lie” in South Africa