The Korea Herald


Samsung, LG spar over picture quality of 8K TVs

By Song Su-hyun

Published : Sept. 17, 2019 - 18:25

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South Korean tech giants Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics sparred again Tuesday, questioning the picture quality of 8K TVs, undermining each other’s technological prowess.

LG once again accused Samsung of exaggerated, misleading marketing of its 2019 QLED 8K TVs and demanded more details.

Since the IFA trade show in Berlin, Germany, earlier in September, LG has been slamming Samsung’s 8K TVs as failing to meet globally agreed standards that require minimum 50 percent contrast modulation levels. 

According to LG, the Samsung TVs produced in 2019 are in effect only of 4K quality as they do not provide a clear distinction between the luminance of white and black colors.

Samsung’s 75-inch QLED 8K TVs have only 13 percent horizontal CM level while LG’s 75-inch NanoCell 8K TVs has 90 percent, according to global institution VDE’s comparison test report dated June 27. 

LG Electronics compares Samsung QLED 8K TV and LG NanoCell 8K TV's CM levels (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald) LG Electronics compares Samsung QLED 8K TV and LG NanoCell 8K TV's CM levels (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)

“As the competition within the TV industry intensifies, in order to lead the 8K market, we believe it is important to not just expand the number of models but offer something that meets global standards,” said Nam Ho-jun, senior vice president at LG’s Home Entertainment Research and Development Laboratory.

“Otherwise, it will be the consumers who are put at risk by being misled to purchase subpar products thinking they are the best available,” Nam said.

LG currently suspects that Samsung’s new application of viewing angle compensation film to 2019 models must have compromised their CM levels.

Samsung’s 8K TVs made in 2018 had sufficed the CM levels at a stellar record of 90 percent. 

“We assume there must have been a trade-off (of better viewing angle for lesser CM), but that should not lower the TV’s resolution below what it purports to be,” Nam said.

LG explains Samsung QLED 8K TVs' sudden fall in CM levels (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald) LG explains Samsung QLED 8K TVs' sudden fall in CM levels (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)

LG also challenged Samsung TV to reveal number of sheets that are added to the backlight panel.

Comparing a Samsung QLED 8K TV and its OLED 4K TV, LG stressed its superior technology. To back up its claims, company streamed a high-definition video of stars which barely showed up on the Samsung TV.

In a separate comparison, LG put the QLED 8K TV and its NanoCell 8K TV under a magnifying lens to show how Samsung’s TV failed to convey intended colors due to low CM levels.

Samsung held a separate press conference to counter LG’s claims by saying that the CM level is no longer used as an indicator for measuring picture quality. 

The company showed a copy of the revised report by ICDM in 2016, which read: “New display technologies (pixel layouts) make the current measurements and calculation of display resolution incomplete. Care should be taken when interpreting the results. New resolution methods should be added.”

“With the appearance of displays with new technologies -- especially 8K -- CM no longer represents the overall picture quality,” Said Yong Seok-woo, vice president at Samsung’s visual display business, citing the document.

“Brightness, color volume and other optical factors and processing technologies should be considered,” he added.

To prove the claim, Samsung showcased four 8K TVs, including LG’s OLED 8K and NanoCell 8K and compared how clearly each TV represents an image of a newspaper page filled with tiny letters. 

Samsung Electronics demonstrates 8K resolution (Song Su-hyun/The Korea Herald) Samsung Electronics demonstrates 8K resolution (Song Su-hyun/The Korea Herald)

While LG’s OLED 8K TV showed blurry letters, Samsung’s QLED 8K TV represented the letters clearer.

Samsung has maintained the top position in the global premium TV market for the 13th consecutive year, according to IHS Markit.

As of the second quarter of this year, Samsung held 31.5 percent market share in the global TV market in terms of sales. In the market for over 75 inches, the company occupied 53.9 percent.  

“We don’t think it’s desirable to see two Korean companies in the global market get embroiled in such unnecessary controversies,” said a Samsung official.

According to Samsung, experts at IDCM have been discussing new measurement methods for displays with new pixel layouts, but haven’t finalized one yet.

The organization is holding a meeting in September.

LG, however, refuted Samsung’s argument by saying that the pixel layout of 8K is nothing new and is similar to that of 4K.

By Song Su-hyun and Lim Jeong-yeo (