Aussie watchdog bites Sony, LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sharp

Top TV makers Sony, LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sharp, have been given a Chinese burn from an anti-trust watchdog down under.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald,  the big TV makers had a scam running where they would market their TV and Blu-ray players as being Wi-Fi ready. The only problem was that they could not connect to Wi-Fi networks.

The five leading vendors will amend their promotional material after a stiff letter from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Some “smart” televisions and Blu-ray players sold by the manufacturers can connect to wireless networks, but most need an additional adaptor or dongle. These are being marketed as “Wi-Fi Ready” and “Wireless LAN ready”.

Since the dongles cost an extra $100-$120, a consumer moaned to the watchdog that this was hardly fair dinkum. They switched on their new telly only to see a message that their “Wireless USB device not found. Insert a compatible wireless device into the TV’s USB port and try again”.

The ACCC agreed and said that TV makers will be prevented from using those terms in their promotional material or website without clearly informing consumers about the need to purchase an additional Wi-Fi adaptor.

The term ‘Ready’ is widely understood by consumers to mean the product is capable of accessing WiFi, without the need to purchase any further gear,” the watchdog barked.

To make matters more confusing for the user, the terms ‘WiFi Ready’ or ‘Wireless LAN Ready’ was being used used on gear offering in-built WiFi adaptors as well as on products which required an additional device or dongle.