Offering 8K and MicroLED TVs in Europe will be more complicated for TV manufacturers due to new energy efficiency limits coming into effect from March 2023. This was confirmed by the European Commission to DDay.itwhich we consulted following the call from the 8K Association last September. In fact, the Commission will not review the new limits already set by EU Regulation 2019/2021which left a possible revision open until December 25th, 2022 and will therefore come into force regularly from March 1st, 2023.
From March 2023, 8K and MicroLED TVs could become unmarketable in Europe. What’s happening
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What will change for televisions from March 2023
The sticking point are the limits for the consumption of electronic displays that came into force with the new energy labels 2021. The law on the eco-design of products provides for an automatic adjustment of the maximum limits of energy consumption before energy efficiency indices from March 1, 2023, the stricter restrictions on 4K TVs, but especially 8K and MicroLED, which are now exempt from the consumption ceilings.
As can be seen from the table above, from March 2023 all types of TVs with a resolution higher than Full HD will have to comply with a maximum Energy Efficiency Index value of 0.90, compared to a previous value of 1.1 for TVs with a resolution up to 4K, and no limitations for those with higher resolution or MicroLED technology.
This is no small change. Samsung’s first 110-inch MicroLED TV, for example, which is currently on the price listwith its 842 watt consumption on the label, It has an energy efficiency index of around 3.6, exactly four times the maximum allowed from next March. An 8K TV like Samsung’s 65-inch QN800B series has an IEE of 2.1, while the 75-inch TCL X925 has an IEE of 2.4, well above the new limit of 0.9. In general, from March 2023, any 65-inch 4K or 8K television, regardless of technology, must have a maximum consumption of 116 watts under the new limits.
It will be possible for the European Commission to continue producing 8K TVs while complying with the new limits
We asked the European Commission if they are aware of the 8K Association’s comments and if they have a revision of the Ecodesign Electronic Displays Regulation on their agenda. Instead, the Commission office confirmed to us that the limits currently set by the regulation will come into force from next March and that the new values will not force 8K TVs out of the European market. “Information available to the Commission confirms that manufacturers will still be able to offer compatible 8K TVs“, says the commission, “partly after implementation of technical or software improvements by the manufacturer“.
Certainly 8K TVs will not disappear from the market. After all, there are already the likes of Sony who manage to stay within the limits with their Z9K series. Other manufacturers confirm this to us The new 2023 ranges will comply with the new limit values, even if the dialogue with the commission for a revision of the law continues. The problem with 8K TVs is essentially given by the smaller aperture of the pixels, which requires a stronger backlight than a 4K TV of the same size to achieve the same brightness and therefore higher consumption. 8K TVs with OLED technology are also less efficient, with LG’s Z2 series, for example, well outside the new limits. A workaround is that the limits apply to the factory settings that the TVs are shipped with, settings that are also used to calculate the classes for the energy labels. In addition to increasing the effective efficiency of their televisions, manufacturers can intervene by reducing the consumption of the preset mode when the television is first switched on, reducing the brightness of the images and possibly even disabling some accessory processing. The legislation does not preclude the implementation of other, more energy-intensive picture modes, they simply cannot be active by default and there must be a warning to the user about higher consumption when they are activated.
As far as MicroLEDs are concerned, we are still at the zero year for this new technology. The new models that Samsung is preparing to launch will be based on a new architecture that uses TFT substrates like regular TVs instead of printed circuit boards like the current generation, a change that should already result in a significant reduction in energy consumption.