Samsung Denies TVs Feature VW-Style 'Defeat Devices'

Samsung has strongly denied that its European TVs use less energy during official tests than during real-world use, after unpublished test results by an EU-funded research group consistently higher energy consumption rates for the company's models outside of the lab, reports The Guardian newspaper.

The lab studies by ComplianTV found that Samsung's "motion lighting" feature reduced the TV sets' brightness and power consumption under international electrotechnical commission (IEC) test conditions. But under real-world viewing conditions, these reductions in power consumption did not register, and the televisions' power consumption, fuel bills and carbon emissions were as a result higher than the test results.

The German carmaker Volkswagen admitted earlier this month that 11 million of its cars could be affected by the biggest scandal in the company's history, in which it deliberately falsified emissions tests results using "defeat devices" that lower emissions during testing. On Wednesday, it emerged that 1.2 million cars in the UK are affected. Volkswagen said today that it expects it will need at least several months to get to the bottom of the scandal, according to Reuters.

However, Samsung has strongly denied that it fitted its TVs with devices similar to those used by Volkswagen, arguing that motion lighting reduces screen brightness for real-world content including fast-moving action movies and sports and not just during test conditions. There is no suggestion in the report that Samsung behaved illegally.

"There is no comparison [between motion lighting and VW defeat devices]," a Samsung spokesman told The Guardian. "This is not a setting that only activates during compliance testing. On the contrary, it is an 'out of the box' setting, which reduces power whenever video motion is detected. Not only that, the content used for testing energy consumption has been designed by the international electrotechnical commission to best model actual average picture level internationally."

The tests were conducted in February, after which ComplianTV reported that: "The laboratories observed different TV behaviors during the measurements and this raised the possibility of the TV's detecting a test procedure and adapting their power consumption accordingly.

"Such phenomenon was not proven within the ComplianTV tests, but some tested TVs gave the impression that they detected a test situation."

Rudolf Heinz, the project manager of ComplianTV's product lab, told The Guardian: "Samsung is meeting the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law." The European Commission says it will investigate any allegations of cheating the tests.