Samsung accused of using benchmark deception tech on new TVs

Reviewers who test and calibrate new television sets are accusing Samsung of using deceptive technology in an attempt to trick them into believing their screens are of better quality than they really are.

The technology was first spotted by the YouTube reviewer HDTVTest and later confirmed by the website FlatPanelsHD. The models involved include two new QD-OLED TVs that are among some of Samsung’s top-of-the-line TV sets on the market today.

According to FlatPanelsHD, the television sets are able to tell when a reviewer is using a small portion of the screen to test things like the set’s ability to display color and contrast through the High Dynamic Range, or HDR, feature.

The technology kicks in when a set figures a reviewer is measuring 10 percent of the screen, a common benchmark for screen reviewers.

“Samsung TVs recognize a 10 percent window (that reviewers and calibrators typically use) after which it adjusts its picture output to make measurements appear more accurate than the picture actually is,” reviewer Rasmus Larsen wrote for FlatPanelsHD.

“This can only be defined an orchestrated effort to mislead reviewers – deliberate cheating” Larsen continued.

A Samsung spokesperson told the website TechDirt that a firmware update would be issued soon that will fix the issue.

“To provide a more dynamic viewing experience for the consumers, Samsung will provide a software update that ensures consistent brightness of HDR contents across a wider range of window size beyond the industry standard,” the spokesperson said.

This is not the first time the South Korean electronics company has been caught cheating when it comes to benchmarks: In 2019, the company agreed to pay owners of Samsung Galaxy S4 phones $10 after it was caught using deceptive benchmark technology. As part of a settlement on that issue, the company said it would not use deceptive practices in its smartphones for at least three years.

Earlier this year — less than three years after the agreement lapsed — a popular review website called Geekbench said it would stop providing review listings for several models of Samsung phones after its most-recent Galaxy S22 flagship handset was found to throttle performance in order to maintain high battery life scores during reviews. The ban also covers several previous models of Galaxy phones, including the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S10 lineup.