Truth Patrol: “The Portable Pocket HDTV”

HDTV Truth Patrol

Hammacher Schlemmer is known for its unusual and hard-to-find products, but this latest item would make be think twice before relying on the company’s accuracy in describing technology products. The description of their Portable Pocket HDTV is very straightforward in what it says:

This portable LCD TV is mistakenly described as 'HDTV'.

This is the pocket-sized, portable color HDTV that receives high-definition digital broadcasts.

That’s pretty clear cut, I’d say. But wait, read the very next lines in the description:

The portable unit displays content using 480 x 272 resolution on its 4 1/4″ display for crisp images and sharp motion devoid of streaking or blurring. It provides a 16:9 screen mode for true HD aspect ratio; its generous 60ยบ viewing angle allows adjacent viewers to watch programs easily.

Huh? I’m sorry, but 480 by 272 pixels is not high definition. Folks, this is not even enough resolution for standard or enhanced definition images. The fact that the display has a widescreen format, and that the set has a digital tuner so that it can get over the air digital broadcasts are certainly nice features, but there’s no way that this is a high definition display.

I’m not too worried about it becoming an overnight hit, however, with a 4.25″ diagonal display and only 1.5 hour battery life. At just under $200, I don’t expect to see these go flying off the shelves.

The bottom line here is be sure to read the specifications, and if they’re not published, make sure you get the details before you lay your money down. Don’t count on the catalog copy writer knowing what the heck he or she is writing about, and be a smart, cautious consumer.

You can win your very own Truth Patrol t-shirt if you send in an example of published misinformation — unintentional or otherwise — that might lead an HDTV buyer astray. Just send a link or a scan to alfred@hdtvprofessor.com?subject=”Truth Patrol”, and if your tip is published in the HDTV Almanac, you’ll receive a t-shirt of your very own.