An EU-funded research firm has determined that some Samsung TV units in Europe appear to consume more energy during real-world application than they do in official testing conditions. The allegations come against the backdrop of the Volkswagen scandal where the German carmaker admitted fitting its cars with emissions test-defeating systems.
However, Samsung was quick to vehemently deny that its TVs have a deliberate system to cheat energy efficiency tests. A Samsung spokesperson dismissed any comparisons between its TVs’ motion lighting features and VW defeat devices. The spokesperson added that the motion lighting feature activates both during testing and real world application, cutting down power upon video motion detection.
In unpublished lab tests, ComplianTV brought to the limelight the differences in Samsung TV’s energy consumption. The research group found that Samsung models consistently consumed more energy in real world than in official tests scenarios.
In what may appear like a scheme to beat energy efficiency tests, the research found that motion lighting mechanisms reduced brightness and power consumption for Samsung TVs under test conditions stipulated by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The motion lighting functionality activates on playback of fast-moving material, such as in action movies and sports.
However, the motion lighting feature did not reduce power use in real-world viewing conditions, as recordings by ComplianTV showed. This means that using some Samsung TV sets may not result to lower energy bills or carbon emissions as anticipated.
In a report not specific to Samsung, ComplianTV indicated the possibility that the TVs had an inherent capability to detect test conditions and launch into the desired power consumption mode. However, the report did not prove beyond doubt that such a capability to defeat energy-efficiency tests for TVs existed.
The European Commission has pledged to outlaw the use of any form of defeat device within its TV ecodesign requirements. As such, any TV models found to register different energy consumption patterns during official testing will be considered non-compliant.
The commission has also said that it will probe whether other electronic devices are using defeat systems. So far, there is no claim that Samsung has broken the law in relation to the energy consumption discrepancies that ComplianTV reported.