The Desk appreciates the support of readers who purchase products or services through links on our website. Learn more...

Vizio settles class action lawsuit over TV refresh rates for $3 million

The Vizio logo appears in an undated image.
The Vizio logo appears in an undated image. (Photo courtesy Vizio, Graphic by The Desk)

Vizio has agreed to pay $3 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by California consumers over the marketing of some older TV models.

The lawsuit centered around claims that the models had an “effective” refresh rate of 240 hertz (Hz), when the TV sets usually had an actual refresh rate of 60 Hz.

Higher refresh rates are typically better for watching fast-action events like sports, and TV screens capable of providing a native refresh rate of 120 Hz or better are sought out by sports fans who want the best possible set for those events.

TV makers like Vizio typically employ motion smoothing technology to compensate for the fact that their screens don’t refresh at a higher rate. That feature tends to be more prominent on lower-end TV models.

The technology itself was not at the center of the 2018 lawsuit; instead, consumers in California sued because Vizio’s advertising of an “effective” refresh rate was viewed as confusing to shoppers who might be led to believe the low-cost TV sets actually refreshed at 240 Hz.

The case went on for six years, with both sides disagreeing on who would win if the matter went to trial, according to a settlement notice published online. Still, Vizio agreed to settle the matter last month, and said it would pay $3 million in settlement awards and provide eligible customers with “enhanced services and a limited one-year warranty” on covered devices.

Those devices are TV sets that were marketed as having certain “effective” refresh rates, and which were purchased after April 30, 2014. Customers with a valid claim could get up to $50 in compensation as part of the settlement.

To learn more about the settlement, or to file a claim, visit RefreshRateClassAction.com.

Photo of author

About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).