Friday, September 23, 2016

TV makers accused of cheating energy ratings

After the VW emissions cheating scandal, TV makers are also being accused of cheating the power usage of their devices, which can end up using twice as much energy than advertised.

If you bought your latest TV set based on its energy rating, you might have found that the device is using a lot more power than it claimed to. The Natural Resources Defense Council accuses TV makers like Samsung, LG and Vizio of cheating on energy tests to obtain a far lower power usage than you'll get when using the TV at home.

The key point seems to be the video clip used to test TVs power usage, which consists in rapid changing scenes, allowing the set to enter a lower power dimming state which would not happen with most "daily use" content. Also, the test doesn't account for HDR content, which will increase power usage; and there are set that "secretly" disable power saving as soon as users start tweaking the TV settings.

So, even though they might not be doing nothing technically wrong (TV makers simply say the power saving features are designed that way and are enabled by default) it indeed is suspicious to see these power saving features to be "tuned" to the sort of content show in the power tests. Maybe the DOE just needs to start using a more representative video sample of regular TV content...

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