Samsung says it “firmly rejects” suggestions that its televisions appear to use less energy during official testing conditions than they do during real-world use.
The Guardian said unpublished tests by the EU-funded research group ComplianTV recorded consistently higher energy consumption rates for the company’s models in real-world situations than in official test conditions.
The lab studies reportedly found that Samsung’s “motion lighting” feature reduced the TV sets’ brightness, and therefore power consumption, under test conditions.
The motion lighting feature reduces blur during images of moving objects by modulating the backlight so that viewers cannot see the exact moment the pixels change colour, but this often has the effect of darkening the overall picture, thereby reducing power consumption.
After tests in February, a ComplianTV report, which did not name Samsung, said: “The laboratories observed different TV behaviours 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.”
The Guardian report noted that there was no suggestion that Samsung, the world’s biggest TV manufacturer, behaved illegally.
A Samsung spokesman said: “We firmly reject the accusation that one of our TV settings has been designed to deliver a misleading power performance in regulatory lab tests.
“Motion lighting is not a setting that only activates during compliance testing. On the contrary, it is a default setting which works both in the lab and at home.
“It is a standard out-of-the-box feature which is automatically switched on when the customer takes delivery of their TV, and remains on whenever the customer chooses to watch their TV in standard viewing mode.
“The motion lighting setting is a part of a range of features we have developed to help reduce the environmental impact of our TV technology.
“We are immensely proud of these technologies and look forward to innovating further in this area.”
Some of the ComplianTV study results were presented at a Royal Society meeting sponsored by the Energy Saving Trust in London on Tuesday, but Samsung was not a subject for discussion at the event.
An Energy Saving Trust spokesman said: “There isn’t sufficient evidence for us to comment on Samsung.”