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Bottom line: Samsung has found a way to comply with new EU power consumption regulations that'll allow the Korean electronics giant to continue to sell 8K televisions in the European Union. The workaround highlights the bureaucratic silliness that often takes place in the regulatory space.
Samsung lobbied for the EU to reconsider its stance on 8K TVs. Per the energy efficiency index (EEI), 8K displays and microLED-equipped devices sold from March 1, 2023 must have the same EEI as 4K displays.
8K sets have four times as many pixels as same-sized 4K models. What's more, they require more powerful processors to upscale images to 8K quality from their native resolutions. Limiting an 8K set to 4K power consumption levels seems unreasonable, but the EU refused to play ball. This left Samsung no choice but to either pull its entire 2023 8K TV lineup from the region or come up with a workaround.
To comply with regulations, Samsung will ship 2023 8K TVs in the EU with their brightness set to a very low level by default. What's more, the brightness setting for the low-power preset is locked and can't be changed by the user.
A complete disaster, you say? Not quite as the devil is in the details. As Forbes highlights, Samsung is shipping sets running a low-power mode by default. Apparently, the EU is perfectly fine with users switching to another preset picture mode that isn't bound by limitations on brightness. What's more, the brightness setting on non-eco modes is fully adjustable.
In the end, this whole fiasco is much ado about nothing. Samsung simply has to ship sets running eco mode out of the box. That's it. Buyers are free to switch out of eco mode and fine-tune the set's brightness as they see fit. Samsung said it is even going to include a section about picture presets during the initial setup process to raise awareness of the eco mode situation. This should ensure that even those with zero technical prowess will know to switch picture modes to unlock the set's full capabilities.
Image credit: Erik Mclean