EU against 8k TVs: they consume too much, soon to be banned

The latest technology is only good if it is environmentally friendly. Hence, from 1 March 2023, the EU could ban all 8K and some 4K TV sets on the European market because they consume too much electricity and therefore do not pass the energy labelling test. This would be the natural consequence of what started on 1 September 2021, i.e. the energy labelling of each new TV for sale based on its electricity consumption in kWh (over 1,000 hours in High Dynamic Range, HDR mode).

From March, the European Commission may increase this value to include a new Energy Efficiency Index (EEI) scale. This will introduce a maximum energy consumption that cannot be exceeded. Previously, 8K and microLED TVs enjoyed an exemption, as they are high-end and not expected to be widely used. The problem is that no 8K TVs currently meet EU energy efficiency levels, and only a few 4K models fall within limits.

In addition to pressure from industry bodies, we may see a surge in sales of models that were no longer accepted before the ban came into force. Companies will rush to recover some of the research and development costs on their high-end models, perhaps by lowering the prices of their top-of-the-range models. From the brands’ business point of view, the most viable route would be a simple software update of the TVs’ operating systems, e.g. to lower the brightness and consume less also because the need to reduce consumption is global and not only on the agenda in Italy, due to bills.

European Union

The Official Journal of the European Union states that electronic displays can be placed on the market with a pre-set menu on first activation offering alternative settings. Suppose instead of the normal configuration; the user selects a different one requiring higher power. In that case, a warning message about the likely increase in energy consumption must appear, with an explicit request to confirm the action.

The website FlatpanelsHD compiled a list of energy labels for 4K and 8K TVs currently on the market, showing a doubling of energy consumption for the same panel size. With the new specifications, it could be a problem for many manufacturers to offer 4K TVs, let alone those with 8K resolutions. Meanwhile, Germany has passed a new law banning the lighting of monuments, Spain has set a curfew for shop lights, and Paris has decided to turn off the lights on the Eiffel Tower an hour earlier. And if that means continuing to use a TV without the latest technology, we’ll have to live with it.

Antonino Caffo has been involved in journalism, particularly technology, for fifteen years. He is interested in topics related to the world of IT security but also consumer electronics. Antonino writes for the most important Italian generalist and trade publications. You can see him, sometimes, on television explaining how technology works, which is not as trivial for everyone as it seems.