Two South Korean companies, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, are fiercely competing to claim the title of the 8K TV with the best image quality. The 8K TV is considered to be the highest resolution available at the moment.

The two companies each held the “8K image quality briefing” and “8K technology briefing.” Despite having been introduced as briefing sessions, in practice, it was a “diss battle” to compare each other’s 8K TVs and claim that the competitor’s products lack in image quality and technology. As 8K ultra-high-definition TVs have become available this year, the two South Korean companies with the two highest shares in the global TV market seem to be in full competition to take an initial lead of the new TV segment.

As noted earlier, 8K is the highest definition currently available. The 4K ultra-high-definition TV has 8.3 million pixels while the newer version has 33 million pixels. As the 8K TV has much more pixels within its screen – 16 times and four times more compared to Full HD and Ultra HD, respectively – it delivers a heightened sense of 3D-like effect and vividness as if users are viewing objects in real life. The power to first dominate technology would be key to leading the future TV market.

LG Electronics was the first to start off competition. The company held the “8K technology briefing” on Tuesday morning at the LG Twin Towers in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul where it criticized Samsung Electronics’ 8K quantum dot LED (QLED) TV as “a product below standards.” This was the second attack on Samsung’s new TV, following LG Electronics’ claim that the product “provides only 4K-level resolution” at the Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin – the largest consumer electronics and home appliances exhibition in Europe – held in Berlin, Germany at the beginning of this month.

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LG Electronics’ strategy at Tuesday’s briefing was to have its own TV and Samsung’s TV stand side-by-side and display white figures against a black background to show that its version provides more vivid image. This claim of LG Electronics was based on contrast modulation, which shows how vividly a display can distinguish between black and white in a percentage figure.

After having remained silent to its direct competitor’s criticism, Samsung Electronics disputed that LG’s criticism is groundless at the “8K image quality briefing” on Tuesday afternoon. According to Samsung Electronics, CM is a concept developed in 1927 and not an adequate criterion to eval‎uate Ultra HD color displays. The company argued that not only the number of pixels but also various elements, including brightness and image processing technology, should be considered for eval‎uation.

“At the current moment when the 8K market is on its path to grow, disputes on CM values are only wasteful. What’s critical is to comprehensively eval‎uate the system to achieve the high resolution,” said Yong Suk-woo, the vice president of the visual display business at Samsung Electronics. “The International Committee for Display Metrology also announced in May 2016 that new eval‎uation criteria to replace CM values are needed and the old guidelines should not be used anymore,” he added. “TV review groups and specialized magazines are not using CM values as a metric to judge display resolution.”

Samsung Electronics also compared the image quality of its own TV and LG’s. The company claimed that some images and videos filmed with an 8K camera are not displayed properly on LG Electronics’ TV.

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Dong-Il Seo dong@donga.com



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