Samsung TVs use less energy during testing than real life, study finds

1 Oct 2015

The entire process of energy efficiency and emissions testing has been thrown into question lately, with Samsung the latest company implicated, with it believed to be making its TVs use less energy during testing than in real life.

The fallout from the recent news that Volkswagen and Audi have been cheating emissions tests with a small device inserted in its diesel engines has somewhat thrown into question the entire process of environmental certifications.

And now it is being suggested that companies not just in Europe, but also Samsung in South Korea have been changing the scoreboard, at least when it comes to TVs.

According to The Guardian, the European Union-funded research group, ComplianTV, conducted laboratory tests on Samsung TVs and found that there were higher rates of energy consumption than the same models used in what would be considered real-life situations.

For example, under guidelines established by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), with the ‘motion lighting’ feature found in Samsung’s TVs, designed to reduce the screen’s brightness, lower consumption was reported.

Essentially, ComplianTV argues that Samsung may have designed its TVs to recognise when it is being tested on when it registers IEC testing and reducing its power consumption to match, but does not do so when registering regular use.

Samsung not showing ‘spirit of the law’

ComplianTV stresses, however, that, in doing so, Samsung has not acted illegally in any way, with Rudolf Heinz, project manager for ComplianTV’s product lab, saying: “Samsung is meeting the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law.”

It is now understood that the European Commission is in the process of establishing a legal framework to ban such practices.

Meanwhile, Jack Hunter, a spokesman for the European Environmental Bureau, has said that if Samsung is deceiving customers, it would fall under the same criticism as Volkswagen has.

“There’s more than a whiff of diesel fumes coming out of this, with officials finding gadgets that recognise test conditions and alter their behaviour,” he said.

“If deception is proved for TVs, there’s bound to be a fresh hoard of angry customers à la Volkswagen.”

Samsung TV and phone image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic