Samsung Declares Innocence Following Report Claiming It Uses Software Cheats To Ace TV Energy Efficiency Tests

A power saving feature found in some of Samsung's televisions has come under scrutiny by an independent test lab in Europe. The lab claims that Samsung TV's with "motion lighting" use less energy during official certification tests than they do in real-world use, the implication being that Samsung might be cheating. Samsung "firmly rejects" any such allegations and says that "motion lighting is a standard out-of-the-box feature, not a test cheat."

"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 says.

Samsung TV

Samsung's motion lighting feature was introduced back in 2011 across its entire line of TVs. What it does is reduce power consumption by turning down screen brightness when the picture on the screen is in motion. It's a feature that's enabled by default and stays on when a customer watches TV using the pre-set Standard viewing mode.

Where this became an issue is when a report in The Guardian stated that unpublished lab tests by an EU-funded research group called ComplianTV noted consistently higher energy use during real-word tests versus official test conditions.

In a report from last February that didn't specifically name Samsung, ComplianTV noted that the behavior it observed raised the possibility that of certain TVs "detecting a test procedure and adapting their power consumption accordingly." The lab also stated in its report that the tests didn't prove any foul play. Nevertheless, ComplianTV is under the opinion that something shady is going on.

"Samsung is meeting the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law," Rudolph Heinz, product manager for ComplianTV's product lab, told The Guardian.

The lab tests involving Samsung's motion lighting feature brings inevitable comparisons to the situation involving Volkswagon, which was caught cheating on its emissions tests. However, Samsung says there's "no comparison" between the two situations.