Pretty obvious answer - don't have just one film to use as a test bed. Maybe get a Netflix account or something?
Samsung has responded quickly to claims that its televisions were designed to cheat in official power consumption tests. Independent European testing lab ComplianTV has claimed that some of Samsung's televisions degrade their performance and lower the brightness of the screen during standard IEC testing, and then return to …
Friday 2nd October 2015 06:13 GMT SuccessCase
Unsurprising. This *is* Samsung after all
This after all is Samsung, the same company as has already gamed benchmark applications. In the past in their handsets, they have implemented the equivalent to "defeat software" which ensures their chips speed up and don't use any low power modes when any benchmarking apps are run by users. This is effectively cheating. There are, I think, even greater parallels between what Samsung did then and what the car manufacturers are doing now (though clearly with a lower potential cost implication for the customer).
On a common sense view what they did is clearly, wrong, but they were able to, in PR terms "control the narrative" better than the car manufacturers have and put out a tenuous argument that it was justified on the basis that they were revealing the actual unbridled performance capability of their chips - even if you would never see it in the real world, and they didn't say upfront they were unlevelling the playing field in a way they hoped no-one would notice and they hoped would be permanent and for all time. It seems to me the car manufacturers might have been able to claim a similar argument as Samsung claimed (it would be very interesting to know if the emissions standards/tests are worded in such a way as to avoid a get out on this form of technicality). Where Samsung were "kind of" able to stop the narrative running away from them (e.g, get out a semi rational counter view before the story had spread). BMW clearly haven't been able to do the same. The story was already framed as cheating beyond any reprieve before they were able to address it.
Additionally Samsung have also previously sold flagship devices advertised as 8 core CPU's, which though they contained 8 cores, 4 of the cores were permanently disabled (not just due to lack of software support but actually in terms of the hardware design).
Samsung are unconscionable! Always have been.
Friday 2nd October 2015 06:20 GMT StooMonster
Friday 2nd October 2015 07:11 GMT Ambivalous Crowboard
Re: Imagine if Samsung made cars
Ugh, that'd be awful! They'd only let you listen to the radio stations which they installed in your car (and there'd be THOUSANDS of them but they're ALL crap), and then one day you'd come out to your car to find that it'd had an update overnight, and now car doesn't work on certain roads...
Friday 2nd October 2015 07:22 GMT Flocke Kroes
Re: Unsurprising. This is *monitors* after all
Monitor specs from all manufacturers have been dishonest for decades. CRT monitors were credited with a higher resolution than the number phosphor dots. Repeating the contrast ratio measurements required a lightless cave painted dark black. High scan rates were possible, but the pixels became blurred because of lack of bandwidth. These days its 4K resolution - with a 15Hz frame rate (interleaved).
As soon as a particular specification influences purchasing decisions, every manufacturer hunts for ways to make the number better - whether or not it reduces the quality of the product. The solution was to go to PC World to select a monitor, then buy it somewhere that did not charge £30 for the cable.
Wait a couple of weeks, and you will see what naughty things the other manufactures have done to get their high scores.
Friday 2nd October 2015 07:53 GMT toughluck
Re: Unsurprising. This is *monitors* after all
@Flocke: That's what contrast ratio is about. Why should anybody care about a test in bright sunlight? Oh, this screen has 1.5:1 contrast, and that one has 2:1 contrast, so the other one is better (conveniently ignoring that the second set has a glossy screen and gets less diffuse reflection, hence can get better contrast, it will get specular reflections unless perfectly placed). What you need to be looking at is peak luminance (in cd/m² = nit), then you can work out the minimum luminance from the contrast, and decide if that's going to be enough for your usage or not.
As for 4K/UHD, you're way off base. The UHDTV standard specifies progressive framerates at 24, 25, 50, 60 and 120, the latter three can be broadcast interlaced. So at the very worst, you can get 25 Hz frame rate, never 15 Hz (there's no broadcasting standard that allows 30 fields per second).
If you're using a HDMI 1.4 compliant cable, then yes, you'll get a lower refresh rate, but it's going to be 2160f30 (not exactly progressive, but the signal will be de-interlaced). But it's only your fault for getting the wrong cable.
If you don't know how to interpret the results, you should ask somebody to help you pick the set.
Friday 2nd October 2015 14:24 GMT Justin Pasher
Re: Unsurprising. This is *monitors* after all
@toughluck: Everything sounded great until you said "If you're using a HDMI 1.4 compliant cable". There's no such thing as an "HDMI 1.4 compliant cable". That's a marketing thing (just like contrast ratio). There are only four types of HDMI cables.
Standard with Ethernet
High Speed with Ethernet
HDMI 1.4 is a software specification, not a hardware specification. A cable knows nothing about software, because, well, it's hardware. It's like saying an ethernet cable is "IPv6 compliant"
Friday 2nd October 2015 18:29 GMT Anonymous Coward
Where are you getting your information?
Everything I've read about 4K says that interlacing is GONE, and GOOD RIDDANCE to that. It also must support 30 fps, as that's used for a lot of US broadcast TV - many dramas here are produced in 30 fps, and either frame doubled when broadcast on a 720p (60 fps) network like ABC, or interlaced when shown on a 1080i network like CBS.
Friday 2nd October 2015 08:12 GMT h4rm0ny
Re: Unsurprising. This *is* Samsung after all
I was coming here to post something similar about Samsung. This is the company that has literally tried to hand judges a briefcase full of cash, movie-style. This is kind of a re-post but last time I shared this story it was over a year ago, so here's an anecdote about Samsung.
In 2006 Samsung was sued by Pioneer for infringing their patents on Plasma TV technology. A memo from a Samsung engineer used as evidence showed that they knowingly infringed on the patents. Rather than agree a licencing fee however, Samsung counter-sued and buried Pioneer under suits and appeals. Pioneer was awarded $59million in damages, but got buried in punitive legal actions from Samsung and a few years later shut down the television division, in large part because of this. Ten-thousand people who worked in that division directly or indirectly, lost their jobs
They're a fun company.
Friday 2nd October 2015 09:17 GMT itzman
Monday 5th October 2015 17:42 GMT Anonymous Coward
Re: Unsurprising. This *is* Samsung after all
If you think a Samsung TV doing what it's supposed to do (ie. reduce brightness under certain conditions) is the same as VW installing a defeat device to cheat the testing procedure, then you basically don't understand what you're talking about.
We all want TVs which give a nice picture whilst reducing power consumption, but when Samsung manage to achieve this and then the system does what IT IS INTENDED TO DO in real life, somehow that's cheating. Very strange.
Friday 2nd October 2015 00:09 GMT John Tserkezis
"but not the spirit of the law, alleged Rudolf Heinz"
Boo fucking hoo. I hear this all the time. The "law" observers ONLY the law, cry baby losers bring up the "spirit" which is ENTIRELY non-definable, not-recognised, and very much open to personal interpretation.
Heinz, if you don't like how the law works, CHANGE IT, and quit your whining.
That said, I specifically disabled this Motion Lighting bullshit when I first plugged in the TV and set it up. I'm sensitive to brightness changes where there should not be. If you don't want your six-thousand inch TV to consume so much power, buy something smaller.
See what you've done? I'm ranting again. And I've run out of icecream too, which would make me feel better.
Friday 2nd October 2015 00:42 GMT Graham Marsden
Friday 2nd October 2015 00:48 GMT Mark 85
Friday 2nd October 2015 01:17 GMT John Tserkezis
"I'm glad I'll never play board games against a rules lawyer like you..."
You won't have to, I'm not invited to play board games anymore anyway. And yes, after what I did to Monopoly, along withing bringing the statistical printouts to every game - people get sick of that. But I did quite well while I was still playing.
However, playing by the rules is what the law is all about, ever had to deal with insurance companies? They could replace their entire course and fine print with "You're screwed", only reason they don't, is their fine print isn't readable or understood by mere mortal humans, which lets their marketing people sweet talk you with the "spirit" of their organisation.
If you think they're going to stick to their "spirit", good luck, is all I have to say. You're going to need it.
Friday 2nd October 2015 08:18 GMT h4rm0ny
I don't think anyone is disputing that prosecutions follow the law as written, they're disputing the "Boo hoo!" part. It's little different to any other complex system such as my computer OS. If someone finds an exploit, well that needs patching, but I don't suddenly express contempt for the victim of a hack and exalt the hacker for finding a way to get access without valid credentials.
Samsung may have found a loophole way around the intent of the law, that is worthy of criticism.
Friday 2nd October 2015 12:04 GMT nijam
Saturday 3rd October 2015 08:43 GMT John Crisp
>Also irrelevant - the law is as >written, and is nothing to do >with what anyone says the >"spirit" or the "intent" is.
Not quite right I think.
The law is as written indeed, but often wording can be ambiguous and the judges (in the higher courts) are there to decide what the intent was as you may note when cases are appealed on a 'point of law'.
Plenty of references to this online.
Spirits can go whistle obviously !
Friday 2nd October 2015 02:27 GMT P. Lee
> I specifically disabled this Motion Lighting bullshit when I first plugged in the TV and set it up.
And herein lies the problem. After all, when you plug in a TV its normally "off" be default. That's quite energy efficient. Just because nearly everyone changes the setting to "on" is surely is no reason to have to measure that particular option...
Maybe just the worst-case should be tested, rather than defaults?
Friday 2nd October 2015 02:26 GMT Henry Wertz 1
This really depends on what's happening
This really depends on what's happening.
If, as Samsung says, this dimming thing really does kick in under real-world usage and save power, then I think it's legitimate. Perhaps the testing should be done with options like this on then once with them off (making sure brightness and contrast are adjusted, so the vendor doesn't just use inappropriately dim defaults), so you get kind of a typical and (somewhat) worst case figure.
If there are sets that actually detect the IEC clip and start power saving right away, that's cheating and I assume they'll get fines and possible lawsuits. I do wonder how many would sue though, I couldn't get that worked up over a dollar or two a year on my power bill. But (in the US) if the extra power use pushes some monitor that claimed to be energy star into not meeting energy star standards then that company could have problems with the EPA.
Friday 2nd October 2015 07:28 GMT wolfetone
Re: This really depends on what's happening
I bought a Samsung 46" LED TV a year or two ago, and there is an option for Eco mode (something like that) and it displays a power meter. If you have Eco mode on then the screen does dim and adjusts it's brightness according to the light in the room. Often if I watch the TV without the lights on it's quite dim, but that's only noticeable when you whack the big light on and it takes a few seconds to brighten up a bit.
Still, who's bothered about a TV using a bit more juice when we're driving cars that could be doing much worse?*
* I absolutely refuse to believe VW are the only ones doing this
Friday 2nd October 2015 08:04 GMT toughluck
Re: This really depends on what's happening
CAFEE tested two Volkswagens (a Jetta and a Passat) alongside a diesel BMW X5, and only the Volkswagens exceeded their emissions (and by a very considerable margin).
And it's about emissions, not about fuel consumption. I thought it was a proven point that cars consume more fuel than the catalog says, wasn't it?
As for the TV using too much power -- I doubt that Samsung TVs detect the exact video that's being played. If they want to prove that Samsung gamed the test by detecting it after all, they should simply alter the video slightly (e.g., swap red and blue channels), assuming it's a normal RGB LED. If the consumption is markedly different, they have their answer.
Friday 2nd October 2015 08:05 GMT Anonymous Coward
A certain popular (in 2011) SMG smartphone had known overheating issues yet nothing was done.
I had the misfortune to run into this and sure it would work fine under "normal" ie nothing else running usage conditions but would reliably crash when warm or hot running some games.
I managed to duplicate this behavior by getting CPU usage up to 70% and presumably lacking a fan some race condition happened that caused it to freeze and require Vulcan Nerve Pinch.
I still wonder to this day if they fixed it in the later firmware update simply by detecting > 70% usage and dumping low priority threads to the least reliable core, aka load shedding or some other such method, in fact a lot of newer chips do this by design when running near their thermal limit.
Needless to say, the new product from the same company also has thermal issues but it does seem to self regulate so maybe they fixed it?
Friday 2nd October 2015 08:44 GMT MJI
Friday 2nd October 2015 08:46 GMT Anonymous Coward
Friday 2nd October 2015 09:45 GMT Anonymous Coward
A big part of me hope these companies have the book thrown at them and we get some tighter emissions laws / energy standards etc etc but another part of me has a little bit of sympathy. The tests are in a lab type environment and it's well known what the test will be. Can you imagine this situation in an exam: now students, these are the questions you'll be asked but you aren't allowed to do any special preparation for them. The whole testing system is flawed top to bottom.
With cars I think the best approach would be to fit 10 (randomly selected ideally) cars with monitoring equipment for a month. I'm sure you could find enough takers to have the box of tricks attached to the car for a small financial reward.
Friday 2nd October 2015 11:37 GMT Rob Crawford
I would suggest that you have to use media that covers a large number of scenarios if you wish to test the energy use of a TV or media player.
The FPGA on board will be working much harder when there is a lot of movement and changes between frames, no doubt the amount of value switching on the pixels will also be reflected in power usage.
So you really need a selection of media types to reflect average usage.
As for car emissions testing, everybody has known for at least 30 years they bear no relationship to reality, how can a rolling road reflect real world usage with varying surfaces, surface water, humidity, number of people in the car and temperature, especially when all of those vary during a single journey.
All it is possible to do is to have fairly standard tracks, test several times and average the results,otherwise it's an entirely synthetic test that reflects nothing whatsoever.
But most people know that anyway, but choose to ignore it
Friday 2nd October 2015 13:06 GMT Yugguy
Does anyone ever actually ever use all these options ever?
I've got a Samsung 40inch smart tv.
It has like 9 million diferent options for the display, and perhaps 4 million for sound.
I've never changed ANY of them since I put it on what I like when I first got it 2 years ago.
Actually I tell a lie, I sometimes use the Movie sound setting for, er, movies.
Does anyone actually change their settings a lot for different programmes?
Friday 2nd October 2015 13:32 GMT Marcus Fil
The Simpler Solution
Instead of berating a test mode mandate one - a mode the turns all the dials up to 11 to turn the set into a black body radiator on scale close to a Red dwarf. The equivalent of driving your car, windows down, heating up and every electrical accessorty, A/C etc. on full blast. stuck and left it in 2nd gear. Introduce huge fines, manadatory life sentences, genocide etc. for the manufacturer if anyone ever discovers a mode/feature combination worse than test mode. The challenge becomes who can actually make the best set that performs well in the worst case - because by definition it will always perform better in the real world.
Friday 2nd October 2015 18:42 GMT Anonymous Coward
In the olden dayz
TVs used leaded glass, lead solder, arsenic, asbestos (power resistors, heatsinks, etc), beryllium, mercury and cadmium in the tube phosphors.
The best example of killer sets was the one where the 4 legged capacitors installed as a "safety feature" went bad and resulted in a very bright very small picture and copious X-rays.
These days they just use extra arsenic and cadmium in the RGB LEDs to get the brightness up, and toxic solvents that make the worker's skin fall off and rot their brains because the next best solvent costs 6* as much.
That and the toxins present in the LCD manufacture which include fun compounds like silane (SiH2), HF (to etch the glass), tetrahydrofuran, stannous chloride etc.
Some of the LCD chemicals have been linked to birth defects that would make benzene run off and hide in a corner.
Saturday 3rd October 2015 22:09 GMT John Brown (no body)
especially when manufacturers run the examinations themselves
...well, no shit Sherlock (a dig at govt, not El Reg)
If a government wants to mandate regulations then it's surely up to them to test for and enforce them.
Self certification only works in the perfect world of Julia Cordray of new slander-app Peeple fame where unicorns are pink and there are double rainbows in the sky all the time.