EU Regulations Will Hit OLED and MicroLED TVs Tomorrow, Somewhat

European ecodesign requirements for electronic displays are going into effect on March 1, 2023, with specifications that preclude the typical power consumption profile for 8K OLED, and microLED displays.

The key to the regulation is the energy efficiency index (EEI) for displays, an equation that needed a revision, the correct one is included here, after its initial publication. The chief complaint about the regulation is that it was set before there were 8K TVs meaning that it unfairly penalizes newer technology based on criteria that cannot be met. 8K displays have four times the number of pixels of a 4K display, and need additional backlighting, a double whammy of power drainage.

Let’s start with the obvious, back in September of last year, the rumors had been that manufacturers would get around the regulations by shipping sets with low brightness settings. We know now, that is the case. Samsung is shipping its 8K TVs into Europe with an Eco preset that effectively sets the brightness of the screen at a the levels required to meet the EU regulations. However, the company is also making sure that users have an easier understanding of what they are seeing and they have the option to just bypass the whole process and turn the brightness up. Because? Because, people get a TV, people turn on a TV, people don’t usually want to spend time fussing with display settings or trying to figure out settings that only a small group of enthusiasts really understand.

Unfortunately, there is no distinction made between display types so, for example, medical imaging displays, which could actually benefit from 8K displays, are going to be subject to the same strict power consumption requirements, although it isn’t quite clear how that will pan out over time. We just assume that the regulation hits every 8K display equally. On the bright side, no pun intended, 4K is good enough, there is not a lot that can’t be done by the consumer of regulated devices to increase power consumption, and the sky is not going to fall on anyone’s heads as a result. It will be a blip in the sales of 8K displays, but regulation isn’t the main reason for that. As far as the medical imaging, large format displays, and DOOH markets are concerned there’s probably going to be a lot of workarounds even though the use of digital signage is regulated already in many places. And, manufacturers will figure out how to bring power consumption down on their 8K displays. Yet, I can’t help but think about the storm in a teacup that this has become when the following statement is found in the regulations. Samsung seems to have already figured this bit out and if you design your onscreen menus appropriately, your 8K TV will never feel a thing from these regulations.

Source: Commission Regulation (EU) 2019/2021