The best 8K TVs are in a class of their own. They are the cream of the crop, providing truly absurd resolution. However, they also require more power than their 4K TV counterparts — and that could be a problem.
As of March 1, a European Union regulation has gone into effect that effectively bans 8K TVs, in theory. This is because of the Energy Efficiency Index (EEI) that the E.U. uses to set power consumption limits on technology — like televisions.
Announced back in October 2022, as reported on by our friends at TechRadar, the E.U. announced that the 2023 EEI would have a new lower limit that set the maximum power consumption level for all TVs at 90W, which is significantly lower than the 190W that new 8K TVs can consume.
TV manufacturers have been left scrambling to comply with this new regulation and have been lobbying the E.U. to revise the 2023 EEI but to no avail. So does this mean that European consumers can no longer buy — or even use — 8K TVs?
Well, not exactly. Let’s explain why you can still get an 8K TV in the E.U.
E.U. 8K TV ban: Samsung’s solution
There are several 8K TV manufacturers, but it's Samsung that seems to have already developed a workaround for this 8K TV ban. The ban is specifically based on the EEI power consumption numbers, so if you can manufacture an 8K TV that consumes less than 90W then you are in the clear.
Because of this loophole, Samsung has decided to ship its 8K TVs with low-powered default settings. According to AV Magazine, the new Samsung 8K TVs will come out of the box with a “brightness-limiting eco mode” as the default brightness setting. This will allow the TVs to still meet the EEI limit while maintaining their 8K resolution.
But does this mean that Europeans will be limited to low brightness settings if they want 8K resolution? Turns out, the answer to that is, no. The E.U. regulation requires that the TVs be energy efficient out of the box, but once users have them set up, they can change to a higher brightness setting and watch to their heart's content, even though their 8K TV will now consume more power than the 90W limit set by the EEI.
So if you want an 8K TV, and you live in the E.U., you may want to stick to Samsung's 8K TVs for now. Other manufacturers will likely find workarounds for the E.U. regulations if Samsung’s workaround is successful, but in the meantime, Samsung is the only company that has presented a workaround that lets it continue to sell new 8K TVs in the E.U.
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Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.
Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.