LG hits back at Samsung’s fake UHD TV warning for South Africa

LG has hit back at Samsung’s warning that consumers should watch out for television manufacturers who market their TVs as ultra high definition (UHD), but do not offer a true UHD resolution.

Earlier in 2015, Samsung South Africa said that while its UHD displays offered resolutions of 3840×2160, other manufacturers were marketing TVs with 2880×2160 resolutions as UHD.

Samsung said its TVs used red, green, and blue subpixels for every pixel. This is often referred to as an RGB subpixel arrangement.

So-called “pseudo UHD” or “3K” TVs add an extra white subpixel to create a RGBW arrangement.

Manufacturers of RGBW panels then report 3840×2160 resolutions, but Samsung argued they offer much lower definition than true UHD displays. It added that the panels of these 3K TVs are at least 25% cheaper to make.

“In Germany and America, there is a certification process to be able to call your TV UHD or 4K,” said Samsung, adding that until such certifications are in place in SA, buyers should beware.

Samsung went on to offer tips to detect whether a TV has a UHD panel or whether it is “pseudo UHD”.

True UHD subpixel arrangement
True UHD subpixel arrangement
Pseudo-UHD RBGW subpixel arrangement
“Pseudo UHD” RBGW subpixel arrangement

LG hits back

LG has subsequently issued a statement about its M+ RGBW technology, which it said is a “big leap forward” in display technology compared to the RGB arrangement which has dominated panel technology since colour CRT-based televisions first hit the market.

It said RGBW technology meets the requirements of the Display Measurement Standard’s definition of 4K resolution, based on the 4K resolution standard set by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) that was also adopted by The International Committee for Display Metrology and THX Limited.

“The RGBW panel is made up of 2,880 × 4 [RGBW] × 2,160 subpixels, which is the same as that of a conventional 4K RGB panel (3,840 × 3 [RGB] × 2,160),” LG said.

2,880 × 4 × 2,160 = 3,840 × 3 × 2,160

LG conceded that RGBW panels are cheaper to make, but said this was a good thing.

“TVs using the RGBW technology have an enhanced brightness and energy efficiency, while costing less,” said LG.

“That’s because a conventional RGB UHD panel needs more LEDs to emit an adequate amount of light, which ends up costing more to produce. By saving on production costs, UHD TVs are now much more affordable in both the short term and the long term.”

PenTile vs RGBW controversy

PenTile matrix subpixel arrangement on the Nexus One
PenTile matrix subpixel arrangement on the Nexus One

This is not the first controversy related to the subpixel arrangements of displays.

Samsung currently uses a subpixel arrangement on its smartphones called the PenTile matrix.

PenTile is a trademark of Samsung, and uses a RGBG subpixel scheme where green pixels are interleaved with alternating red and blue pixels.

Much like the RGBW controversy, many questioned whether Samsung was being truthful in reporting the display resolutions of its smartphones.

Samsung was asked what the difference between “pseudo UHD” RGBW TVs and its use of PenTile technology in its smartphones was, but the company did not respond.

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LG hits back at Samsung’s fake UHD TV warning for South Africa