The Federal Trade Commission has completed its regulatory review of the Picture Tube Rule and, following a second public comment period announced in March, authorized the publication in the Federal Register of a final rule notice that repeals the Rule, effective 90 days after publication.
According to the Commission, the Rule is no longer necessary to prevent deceptive claims regarding the size of television screens or to encourage uniformity and accuracy in their marketing. While the FTC concluded that a trade regulation rule for television screen measurement is no longer necessary, it retains its authority to address future unfair or deceptive practices relating to television screen measurement on a case-by-case basis. The Commission stated that its repeal of the Rule is not intended to preempt the states from regulatory or enforcement actions to prevent deception or unfairness concerning television screen measurement.
The Rule (formally, the “Trade Regulation Rule Concerning the Deceptive Advertising as to Sizes of Viewable Pictures Shown by Television Receiving Sets”) was issued in 1966. It requires marketers to base any screen size representation on the horizontal measurement of the actual, viewable picture area unless the marketer properly discloses its alternative method of measurement.
As part of its systematic review of all current FTC rules and guides, the FTC sought comments on the Rule in 2017. Based on comments received and prevailing market practices, the Commission proposed to repeal the Rule, and sought additional public comments. Comments received since the FTC proposed repealing the Rule are available on the Commission’s website.
The Commission vote repealing the Rule was 4-0-1, with Commissioner Christine Wilson not participating. A notice announcing the repeal will be published in the Federal Register shortly, and will become effective 90 days after publication. (FTC File No. P174200; the staff contact is John Andrew Singer, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-3234)
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Mitchell J. Katz
Office of Public Affairs