Ways to Choose an Energy-efficient Television

Shopping for a television can be exciting. But with so much technical information to take care of, choosing the right one can sometimes become a daunting task. Nowadays, televisions are getting bigger and better. They are displaying sharper images, and boast of superior sound quality. In short, currently, televisions are offering the best TV viewing experience.

The box-shaped old generation televisions, that used cathode ray tubes have almost become obsolete, and have been replaced by their flat-screen counterparts. However, these sleek TVs gobble up a large amount of energy, and if you make an ignorant purchase, then be ready to expect a hefty energy bill.

Generally, people choose a TV on the basis of a few parameters. Preference is normally given to the size of the screen, picture quality, price, and sound clarity, in no particular order. While these parameters are useful, the one that is important and often ignored is energy-efficiency.

Some tips to look out for, when choosing an energy-efficient television, are given below:

Type of Technology

There are three types of TVs available today; Plasma, LCD, and LED-backlit LCD. According to the amount of energy they consume, it can be said that plasma is the least energy-efficient, followed by LCD and LED-backlit LCD. Before we take a look at the details regarding energy consumption, it is important to note that energy consumption of a TV, besides the screen size and technology, will also depend on the number of hours the television remains switched on.

Plasma TV is the least energy-efficient, and uses around two to three times more power than an LCD. A 32-inch plasma TV will use around 125 watts/year, 42-inch will consume around 188-464 watts/year, and if the screen size is between 50 to 56 inches, then the power consumption will be between 191-474 watts/year. This, in spite of the fact, that current Plasma TVs are more energy-efficient than their older versions.

Energy consumption figures for LCDs indicate that a 32-inch screen will consume about 98-156 watts/year, a 42-inch screen will consume around 91-236 watts/year, and if the screen size is 50 to 56 inches, then it is believed to consume 210-322 watts/year.

A 32-inch LED-backlit LCD TV may consume around 50-95 watts/year. A 42-inch model may consume around 80-155 watts/year, while, 50 to 56 inch LED-backlit TVs can consume about 100-210 watts/year.

The figures indicate that LED-backlit LCDs consume around 70% lesser power than plasma TVs and 30% lesser than LCDs.

The figures mentioned above are obtained from CNET TV Energy Efficiency Guide

Check the Energy Guide Label

Since 2011, the FTC has required that every TV display a yellow and black Energy Guide Label. The label estimates the cost of running that device for one year. The numbers are derived assuming a fixed price of electricity and daily usage in number of hours. The label also estimates the yearly electricity use of that particular model in watts.

While the Energy Guide Label serves as an indicator of energy consumption in the United States of America, in many other countries, Energy Rating Label (ERLs) are used.

Size of the Screen

Bigger-sized flat-panel TVs consume more energy than smaller-sized flat-panel ones. Another point to be remembered here is that, the prices of plasma TVs are reducing, as more and more people have started opting for LCDs and LEDs. Due to this reason, a larger plasma television is available at the price of a smaller LED.

But don’t fall into the trap, where you may think, “Why not opt for a bigger screen if I’m getting a 40-inch plasma at the price of a 32-inch LED?” Remember! The plasma consumes more power, and if it is of a bigger size, it is bound to give you a bigger energy bill.

Knowledge About Technology Can Help

A plasma television uses gas (Xenon and Neon) to form a pixel. As electricity excites the gas, it turns into plasma. In the plasma state, electrons of the gas emit ultraviolet light rays that falls on the red, blue, and green phosphors, and develops the colors of that pixel.

In an HD plasma, there are 3,000 pixels. The images are more bright and vivid. It provides a wide viewing angle and can handle fast motion images in a better way. The plus is that it offers better energy-efficiency than the CRTs, but the minuses are plenty.

They are heavy! If you want to wall-mount them, be careful, and make sure that the supporting aids are strong enough. Plasma TVs generate a lot of heat, they tend to become hotter when running continuously, and have small fans mounted on them to draw air, to keep them cool.

LCDs (Liquid-Crystal Display) use the capacity of liquid crystals to modulate light. The liquid crystals do not emit light directly. The light is produced by a series of cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs). These CCFLs are very efficient. Thus, making the LCD’s a better option than plasma screen TVs.

In an LED-backlit LCD, the cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) are replaced by LED-backlighting. This replacement helps to reduce the energy consumption even further, and still provide better contrast and brightness. It retains the color range the CCFL LCDs can offer, and also provides a rapid frames per second frequency with amazing image rendering.

LED-backlit LCDs also have longer life and can be made super-thin. They generate significantly less heat while running, and are lighter in weight than a CCFL-powered LED. But the one point that may deter many from opting for it, ‘they are a bit pricey’. But I think that’s justified, because in the long run, the maintenance costs and monthly bills would be considerably less.

A general thumb rule would be to check the specifications, and look for the golden words ‘uses less than 108 watts of power’. However, buying an energy-efficient television is only half the job done in your quest to cut down on your electricity bills. It’s important that you pay heed to small measures to save electricity, such as unplugging the device from the wall socket when not in use. This will at least save 10% of your annual bill. So, go ahead and choose an energy-efficient television set and take your own little step in conserving the environment. It will prevent the leaking electricity from increasing your bill.