The recent Volkswagen emission cheating debacle has raised severe concerns over the lengths manufacturers go to bypass the environmental norms and now independent lab tests have found out that a few Samsung TVs in Europe consume lesser energy in labs as compared to the real world use case, thus pointing fingers at how tightly contained the tests are.

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European Commission assured that it will promptly investigate any such allegations of cheating and will further tighten the noose to discourage the use of what is called “defeat devices”. For the uninitiated, any apparatus that unduly reduces the effectiveness of emissions control systems in a vehicle under certain conditions is called as “Defeat Device” and automakers have been on the radar for using the same since the early 70s.

Samsung on the other hand has said that it would not be right to call its TVs “motion lighting” feature whose purpose is to alter the screen brightness according to the various real-world content. A Samsung spokesperson rubbished the claims further and said “This is not a setting that only activates during compliance testing. On the contrary, it is an ‘out of the box’ setting, which reduces the power whenever video motion is detected.” He also pointed out that the content used for testing the energy efficiency has been designed by the International Electrotechnical Commission.

On the contrary, the lab studies found out that Samsung’s ‘motion lighting’ feature reduced the brightness and power consumption’s especially under the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) which included playback of fast sequences of different content.

The differences in the energy consumption was apparently unearthed by a EU-funded research group called ComplianTV which as we told earlier, consistently recorded higher energy consumption rates for the Samsung TVs in real-world use case. Rudolf Heinz, project manager of ComplianTVs product lab told The Guardian that “Samsung is meeting the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law

The complaints against TV makers for lowering down the energy consumption whilst testing for the IEC is not something new. In fact many EU states have expressed displeasure over the generous test conditions and the way manufacturers are finding a workaround.

At this juncture, the entire episode is still at the allegation stage and it is yet to be proven whether this is a deliberate move from Samsung to fool the system. Couple of years ago the commission had received intelligence which indicated that some TVs were fitted with software settings which changed the static video signals to dynamic thus greatly reducing the luminescence and power consumption.

Now that the issue is out in the open, more tests are being conducted and there is not an iota of doubt, if found guilty, the manufacturers have to pay a hefty price, just like how Volkswagen is doing right now. Televisions are still the primary source of entertainment for the families and the fact that they constitute up to 10% of the households’ electricity use is a thing to ponder upon.


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Senior Author

Mahit Huilgol is a Mechanical Engineering graduate and is a Technology and Automobile aficionado. He ditched the Corporate boardroom wars in the favor for technology battle ground. Also a foodie by heart and loves both the edible chips and the non-edible silicon chips.