- The Washington Times - Monday, December 1, 2008

NEW YORK | Verizon Communications Inc.’s FiOS TV service doesn’t make for a brighter picture, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory body said, urging the company to drop some of the claims it makes in its advertising.

The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus made the recommendation Tuesday after it examined the ads because of a challenge by Verizon competitor Cablevision Systems Corp.

Claims in question included statements about the service’s speed, picture quality and color and the testimony that FiOS is “so much more bright.” The brightness of a TV picture depends on the settings of the TV, not on the signal.

Verizon has already stopped using some of the claims in question, including one that quoted technology Web site CNet. While the site did use the phrase “a near flawless TV experience” in a story about FiOS, it was in a news article, not a review, and pointed out that it was important for Verizon to provide such an experience.

The advertising-watchdog group noted that it “did find that certain superior sound and picture quality claims made by Verizon were substantiated.” For example, audience tests gave a “reasonable basis” for the company’s claim that it offers the “the best TV picture, period.”

Verizon said while it was pleased with that conclusion, it also “respectfully disagrees” with some of the findings. “However, in the interest of the self-regulatory process, Verizon will take the NAD’s recommendations into consideration in future advertising,” the company said.

Army to invest in video games

NEW YORK | The Army plans to invest $50 million over five years to develop video games for use in training soldiers for combat, according to a report in Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper.

The money will fund a “games in training” program beginning in 2010, the newspaper reported. It will watch trends in commercial video games and look for technologies that can be used in training - but it does not plan to compete with the industry.

The Army’s gaming unit also plans to buy a “state-of-the-art” commercial game it can modify for use in training. Called Game After Ambush, it will replace the Army’s current shooter training game, DARWARS Ambush, the newspaper said. The new game, unlike the old one, will let trainers modify terrains, scenarios and missions during play.

Video games are already widely used in recruiting and training soldiers, with the best-known example being America’s Army, a game released to the general public in 2002 to help with recruitment. Earlier this year, the Army opened a 14,500-square-foot Experience Center in a Phila-delphia mall - featuring gaming stations, video installations and a replica command-and-control center to give the public a glimpse of military life.

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