TVs enter high-end car branding territory: Why get a 31.5-inch TV when you can get a 32 class?

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Best Buy and Circuit City are entering new semantic territory by renaming regular 31.5-inch TVs “32 class,” a suggestion that anything between perhaps 29 and 35 inches fits into this vaunted category.

Matt Richtel also found evidence of 19 Class TVs (18.9″) popping up and got a fascinating explanation from Sony:

We also started using the word “Class” to describe the size of the television if the screen size was not, in fact, exactly the size at which that television is classified,” a company spokesman, Brian Lucas wrote in an e-mail message.

The marketing whizzes at Sharp and Samsung in Asia didn’t return calls (“(United States-based public relations representatives said they were having trouble getting information from the companies they represent).”) They blame manufacturing issues for the discrepancy.

While I’m totally down with saying a 31.5-inch TV is 32-inches – hell, there’s a little black band around most TVs anyway – this categorical renaming smacks of Soviet-era dissembling. Could Pyongyang be defining Samsung’s naming conventions “for the glorious good of the people and the Dear Leader?” We may never know.

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