A larger (smoke) screen

After the 12% temperature rise, I recently ran into another creative use of percentages. Since I expect to run into many more of these (based on how many I’ve noticed in the past) and since they’re fun to point out I’ve created a new CrazyStats category.

This instance comes from a print advertisement for Samsung TVs, stating that their TVs with a 16:10 aspect ratio offer 30% more viewing surface than a 4:3 TV. Sorry, I don’t have a link but this advertisement (for computer monitors instead of TVs) repeats the “larger than 4:3 monitor” claim several times, albeit without quantifying it. This comparison makes no sense until you fix one dimension. And obviously it is to the advantage of the 16:10 screens to fix the height as being common between the two screens and then compare the surface (but even then, you only get a 20% advantage for the 16:10 compared to the 4:3, I don’t know how they came up with 30%). But if you fix the width as being the same then it’s the 4:3 that offers 20% more viewing surface…

Not that I don’t agree that 16:10 is a more useful aspect ratio (that’s what I bought for my monitor at home). But the “larger than 4:3” claim is meaningless. Next thing you know, people will start marketing 4:3 monitors as “16:12” to make them seem “bigger” than 16:10 monitors.

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