The on-going dispute over whether or not LG’s newly launched RGBW LED LCD TV technology qualifies for the minimum resolution performance characteristics of a 4K Ultra HD display resurfaced over the weekend as Samsung sent out a notice that all of its 2015 6 series to 9-seires 4K Ultra HDTV models will carry the Consumer Electronics Association’s “4K UHD logo distinction.”

The announcement, which was made in advance of the IFA electronics trade fair in Berlin, Germany, was a swipe at arch-rival LG Electronics, which for a variety of reasons has elected not to participate in the CEA’s 4K Ultra HD logo program this year, according to a company spokesperson.

“While LG is a proud member of the CEA and supports its goal of promoting 4K Ultra HD, LG elected not to participate in the voluntary CEA logo program for LG 4K ULTRA HD TVs this year,” the company said in a statement.

More on the on-going RGBW war after the jump:

As HD Guru previously reported, LG recently began shipping a pair of LED LCD TVs in its UF6800 series, which it calls its entry 4K Ultra HDTV line. But critics, including Samsung, said that the UF6800 series’ RGBW technology, which adds a fourth (white) sub-pixel to the standard red, green and blue sub-pixels that make each pixel, prevent the TVs from achieving the CEA’s full RGB color requirements for 4K resolution in all 3840 pixels across the screen, and therefore do not meet the CEA’s criteria to qualify for 4K Ultra HDTV logo consideration.

LG contests the claim, saying the technology complies with the luminance and contrast characteristics that determine resolution in other standards of measurement around the world, and therefore should qualify as 4K UHDTVs by the CEA and others.

In contrast to LG’s stand to not participate in the logo program, Samsung said it “will display CEA 4K Ultra HD logos on all 2015 UHD TVs.”

Samsung’s statement said: “the U.S. Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) 4K Ultra HD logos – only eligible to be used on TVs that satisfy the highest in UHD TV standards – will be displayed on all 2015 Samsung UHD TV models.”

“This definition distinguishes true 4K UHD TV models from other models employing a kind of RGBW pixel structure,” Samsung continued. “Samsung will continue to work to raise awareness of the benefits of UHD TV including the CEA definition. Samsung’s UHD TV products are also currently compliant with the UHD TV definition established by Digital Europe (DE), recognized in Europe as the official definition for true UHD products. Consumers worldwide should look for these logos on packaging at retail to determine quality of the UHD TV models.”

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LG said its RGBW LED LCD TVs have been certified by other standards organizations in Europe and elsewhere as 4K Ultra HD TVs. The technology, LG said, allows the company to produce a lower-priced 4K Ultra HD that uses less power to operate while still producing a high quality 4K Ultra HD picture. The company said it plans to spread the use of its RGBW technology to other 4K Ultra HDTV applications, delivering among other things a brighter picture using the same power consumption of as conventional RGB LED TVs.

“RGBW technology is an advanced LCD/LED TV panel structure recently implemented in some series of LG’s 4K ULTRA HD TVs,” reads a statement from LG rebutting Samsung’s press release.  “It uses Red, Green, Blue and White sub pixels to deliver stunning 4K Ultra HD resolution (8.3 million pixels; 3840 x 2160 resolution) along with the added benefits of enhanced brightness and energy efficiency. RGBW technology is certified by leading international organizations, including UL and Intertek, according to international standards for delivering 4K resolution and it is inaccurate to suggest that this technology limits the color palate or has any negative impact on clarity, brightness or sharpness.”

Young Lak Jung, Samsung Electronics Visual Display Business VP said: “We are always striving to give consumers the most breathtaking and immersive viewing experience possible, so we are very pleased that both Digital Europe (DE) and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) have now acknowledged the premium picture quality of Samsung UHD TVs. These UHD TV definitions are important, because they help to reduce confusion for consumers searching the market for a new, cutting edge 4K UHD TV. We will continue to work with our key partners, such as the CEA and DE, to ensure clear performance and purchase standards are available, as the demand for UHD TVs continues to grow.”

Samsung pointed out that “the UHD definitions established by CEA require that pixels, the smallest unit constituting a display, must be capable of producing the full range of colors. Certain TVs, which employ RGBW pixel configurations, do not meet the CEA requirements for UHD TVs due to the limitations on pixel colors. The white sub-pixels that are mixed among the red, green, and blue sub-pixels in RGBW panels restrict and limit the color palate a TV is capable of showing, while diluting the overall picture quality by affecting clarity, brightness and sharpness.”

Additional requirements for UHD TVs based on CEA’s definitions include: over 8M active pixels, with at least 3,840 horizontally and at least 2,160 vertically; at least one HDMI input supporting 3,840 x 2,160 native content at 24p, 30p and 60p frames per second; a minimum color bit depth of 8 bits.

By Greg Tarr


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