Samsung at center of energy test storm

Samsung has hit back at claims made by a research group that its TV sets could be using software to manipulate energy efficiency tests.

A research group called ComplianTV on Thursday released a test from last year that showed a Samsung's TV set recorded a higher energy consumption rates in the real world when compared with lab test results.

ComplianTV put this down to a feature called "motion lighting" in Samsung's TV which is supposed to save power by reducing screen brightness when the picture on screen is in motion. When Samsung's TV was put through an official tests – which involves playing a range of materials such as DVDs and live broadcasts – the device showed lower power consumption than in the home.


The research firm, which is funded by the European Union, said there was a possibility that Samsung gamed the tests. The report showed that the TVs power consumption dropped from 70 watts to under 40 watts within a minute, which raised suspicion.

"The laboratories observed different TV behaviors during the measurements and this raised the issue of the possibility of the TV to detect a test procedure and adapt its power consumption accordingly," ComplianTV's report said.

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

While the report does not name Samsung specifically, a spokesperson confirmed that it related to the South Korean electronics giant. The news was first reported by the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper.

Samsung hits back

But Samsung said it "firmly" rejects claims that it cheated the energy efficiency tests saying that motion lighting is a standard "out-of-the-box" feature and not designed to game the 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; delivering energy savings and helping us to reduce our environmental impact," Samsung wrote in a blog post.

"Motion lighting was introduced in 2011 across all our TVs as part of a range of features we have developed to help reduce the environmental impact of our TV technology."

EU probe?

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm has been made aware of the findings and said it will look into the case.

"We will follow up both of them," Anna-Kaisa Itkonen, spokeswoman for climate action and energy, said in a statement.

"We will first of all verify if the problem has occurred. If it has, we will estimate at what scale and whether the use of alleged defeat devices results in products being tested as compliant when they are in fact not. So, we therefore cannot yet judge the extent of the problem."

No formal EU investigation has been launched as of yet.

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