Dr. Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate Technologies Corporation has a great 5-part article on the MaximumPC website on the common ways TV manufacturers tweak specs and numbers to make their TVs appear better on paper. Definitely worth a read.
A couple of excerpts:
“Not only are displays getting more complicated and harder to understand, but the competition between manufacturers has gotten so brutal that marketing gimmicks—ploys that exploit the average consumer’s technical ignorance—are playing an increasing role in driving sales. The goal of this article is to point out and explain some of the most important myths, misconceptions, and misunderstandings about display technology. Much of what you’re going to read is like the classic tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes. What you’ve been told about the latest and greatest thing really isn’t there, or better, or meaningful, or even visible.”
“…let’s just start our journey with what should be the best question to ask before buying a new display: “What are the most important manufacturer specs to compare?” Unfortunately, the answer is none, because they’re all exaggerated marketing specs rather than objective scientific specs. The only specs that are useful and meaningful are those in reviews that evaluate every display with the same consistent methodology…”