Europe is threatening to ban 8K TVs, here’s why


You are no doubt familiar with the energy labels that have accompanied practically all electronic devices sold in Europe for years. These labels aim to inform consumers and guide them towards more virtuous choices.

But at the same time, manufacturers also have obligations, in particular thresholds that manufacturers cannot exceed to have the right to market their devices. In March 2021, the European Commission had adopted stricter criteria which had moved many televisions to the lowest energy class G.

New consumption limits come into force in Europe on March 1, 2022

However, as of March 1, 2023, new, even stricter criteria will come into force. And they clearly threaten the arrival of 8K throughout the European Union. Indeed, the latest television technologies are far from being the most virtuous from the point of view of consumption.

Current 8K televisions consume more than twice as much as the largest 4K televisions on the market – with the entry into force of the new standards, no 8K model will be able to be marketed in Europe. This could greatly slow down the penetration of the new image standard in the European Union.

Several industry players, including TCL Europe, were moved by the upcoming entry into force of the new standards: “if that happens, 8K is over”, explains an official of the manufacturer. Same story on the side of the consortium responsible for the development of the technology:

“Unless something changes, March 2023 will wreak havoc on the emerging 8K TV industry […] the new consumption limits for 8K TCs (and micro-LED screens) are so low that no device currently on the market meets the criteria”explains 8K Association in a press release.

Push less energy-efficient devices out

In March 2023, a 40″ 4k or 8K TV cannot exceed a consumption of 48W. For large 88″ televisions the limit will be 178 W. Samsung officials believe that they will be able to comply with the new regulations, even if it will require a lot of engineering effort.

The purpose of this regulation is to push the less energy-efficient models out of the market – not to completely prevent the emergence of new imaging technologies. The new standards can still be modified at a meeting which should normally be scheduled before the end of 2022.

On this occasion, the commission could go back to more lenient standards, or maintain a hard line if it considers that the first wave of 8K TV, which is too energy inefficient, has little chance of being democratized anyway.

After all, HD screens are still the norm for a majority of homes, and 4K years after the first models arrived, is only just beginning to become mainstream. Beyond televisions, democratizing 8K would require that content is already available in quantity, which is not yet the case.

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