TVs, along with all of the associated components, like DVRs, speakers, and DVD players, can cost you around $200 a year in electricity, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This is why it’s important to put energy efficiency on your list of desired features when shopping for a new TV.
There are many types of TVs from which to choose, but some of the popular choices include plasma, LCD and LED.
Plasma TVs use plasma gas that causes the pixels on the screen to glow, which creates the picture.
LCD TVs shine a light source (often a fluorescent bulb) behind the pixels to create the picture. Plasmas tend to have better black color, while LCDs have better white color – which makes them a better choice in dark rooms.
LED TVs use light emitting diodes to light up the pixels. This light source created sharper pixels, and you can see it in the cost. LED TVs tend to be more expensive than plasma and LCD TVs, but are also more energy-efficient.
The average annual electricity costs for a 42-inch TV are as follows:
42” LED TV: $10-$25
42” LCD TV: $10-$50
42” Plasma TV: $40-$100
Another factor that will determine electricity operating costs is screen size. In general, the larger the screen, the more energy it will use (and the more it will cost to operate). So if you don’t need a 60-inch TV, choose a smaller one and save on energy, as well as the sales price.
3D and cable-ready TVs
3D TVs are also becoming more popular. The EPA hasn’t published energy-efficiency results of these sets yet, but there are consumer groups that indicate 3D TVs do use more energy. This is because 3D TVs require a brighter picture to create the 3D effect.
Another option is TVs that are digital cable-ready. These sets don’t require cable boxes – only a card supplied from your cable or satellite provider. The benefit is that you don’t need a bulky, hot cable box outside of your TV. It’s less mess, and you save on cable box energy costs, which can be considerable.
The resolution of the screen also affects picture sharpness. With high definition TVs, there is 1080i and 720p. Both are crisp and clean, but the difference is in how they are displayed. 1080i HD uses 1,080 horizontal scan lines and 1,920 vertical scan lines. The TV updates half of those lines every 60th of a second. Another version of 1080i is 1080p (the “p” stands for progressive scan, which is said to have an even sharper, cleaner image than 1080i).
720p uses 1,280 vertical scan lines and 720 horizontal scan lines. The TV updates all of those lines every 60th of a second. The main difference is that the 720p reduces the amount of flicker that you may see. Both are good options, but 1080i will give you a sharper picture.
This fact can be taken into consideration when selecting the type of TV (LCD, plasma or LED). If you want maximum energy efficiency, but don’t want to pay the higher price of an LED TV, a good compromise might be getting an LCD or plasma TV with the 1080i or 1080p resolution.
Look for the ENERGY STAR
Once you decide which type of TV best suits your needs, just make sure it is an ENERGY STAR® model. You’ll see the blue ENERGY STAR logo prominently displayed on the TV itself, as well as on the box. The EPA has strict guidelines that TV manufacturers must follow in order to earn the ENERGY STAR. These standards are continually tightened to keep up with changing technology. On average, ENERGY STAR qualified TVs are more than 40 percent more energy efficient than standard models. Current ENERGY STAR requirements demand that larger TV sets meet even more stringent efficiency levels. For example, a 60-inch ENERGY STAR qualified TV will be, on average, 60 percent more efficient than a standard set.