Green, green, green, everything is becoming environmentally-friendly these days – cars, homes, and even our entire lifestyles. But do you actually know how much energy your HDTV is using?…The answer may be a surprise to many people. That shiny LCD or Plasma actually uses power whether they are turned on or off, and that power consumption can add-up to big bucks over long periods of time – not to mention have negative effects on the environment. Lets dig deeper into the issues surrounding power guzzling HDTVs, and also take a look at how much power the most popular LCD and plasma HDTVs actually use so that we can gain a better understanding about the great differences in power consumption among similarly sized HDTVs.
A recent study by the research giant, Nielsen, states that roughly 15.5 million out of 112.8 million TV households in the United States are equipped with HDTVs – many of which have multiple HDTV sets. Research has also showed that about 1out of 3 homes are not actually taking advantage of HD programming. This means that people are buying these power-hungry big-screen HDTVs, and they’re not even using them to take advantage of the ultra-clear HD picture. Why buy a power-guzzling plasma HDTV when you’re not even going to watch HD-programming on it?…It doesn’t make sense.
As a general rule, the bigger the TV, the more power it will use. So when you step-up to that big-screen HDTV, you need to make sure that it’s not going to send your electric bill through the roof. On average, a 42-inch LCD HDTV will cost about $75 per year to operate, while the real power guzzlers are the bigger TVs which can cost as much as $225 per year or more. There are some big-screen HDTVs, though, that are more efficient than others, so it’s a good idea to research them before buying. Most TVs don’t carry the “Energy Star” label on them like most other appliances, so it can be difficult to find the “greenest” TV possible without doing some due diligence first. Some TVs that are supposedly Energy Star compliant are not all that “green” in reality, so you have to look beyond that label.
When talking about power guzzling TVs, the worst offenders have to be the big-screen plasmas. A recent article at Smarthouse.com even called plasma screens “ Public Enemy No. 1”. A report by Deloitte Technology, a media and telecommunications leader, claims that the average plasma TV generates about 400 kg of carbon dioxide annually – not very “green” at all! Plasma TV’s tend to consume much more power than LCD’s or rear-projection TVs. Here’s a quick comparison chart that shows the average power consumption of three types of TVs as well as other electronics:
- Plasma TV – 350 watts
- Rear-Projection TV – 211 watts
- LCD TV – 222 watts
- Playstation 3 – 197 watts
- Nintendo Wii- 19 watts
As you can see the Playstation 3/Plasma hook-up guzzles the most power. If you take a look at some of the biggest plasmas available right now, it’s amazing to see how much power they actually use – even when they’re turned off. But LCD TVs can be just as power-hungry in some cases. The Sharp 65-inch LC-65D90U LCD, for example, uses an amazing 583 watts while turned on, and it uses 76 watts even while it’s turned off. This adds-up to well-over $200 per year on your electric bill – but I guess if you can afford a TV that big in the first place, the cost of electricity to operate it won’t be that big of a problem. That being said, it’s still an environmental issue even if the issue isn’t cost.
Now that you’re a little more up-to-speed about HDTV power consumption, let’s take a look at the 5 most popular plasma HDTVs, as well as the 5 most popular LCD’s, and compare the power consumption of each. Then, we’ll take a look at some of the top-rated budget 42-inch HDTVs, and also provide you with some easy tips on how to conserve power with your TV. So without further adieu, here are the top 5 most popular LCDs and plasmas (according to Amazon.com), and their power consumption.
Top 5 Plasma HDTVs
|1. Samsung FPT5084 50″ 1080p Plasma HDTV ($1800)
This 50-inch 1080p plasma is the best-selling plasma at Amazon.com. Although this HDTV is considered Energy Star compliant, it still uses a relatively high amount of power. At the default settings, this Samsung uses about 412 watts while turned on, and it uses about 369 watts while on “power save” mode. Overall, this power consumption is rather high for a screen of this size.
|2. Panasonic TH-42PZ700U 42″ 1080p Plasma HDTV ($1400)
Although this Panasonic is smaller than the Samsung FPT5084, it’s definitely more of a power guzzler. This HDTV uses about 464 watts of power while turned on, which averages out to about $141 per year. Not very “green” at all.
|3. Samsung HPT5064 50″ 720p Plasma HDTV ($1350)
This 50-inch plasma is the third most popular plasma HDTV at Amazon.com, and for it’s size, it’s pretty efficient. This Samsung uses about 321 watts of power when turned on, and in “power save” mode, it only uses about 288 watts. As far as 50-inch plasmas go, this one is can be considered as “green”, although it still consumes a lot more power than smaller models.
|4. Panasonic TH-50PZ77U 50″ 1080p Plasma HDTV ($2000)
Although this plasma has great resolution and an awesome picture, it’s definitely considered a power guzzler. This HDTV is considered Energy Star compliant, and yet it burns 693 watts of power when turned on. This plasma is a bad choice for any “green” buyers out there.
|5. Samsung HPT5054 50″ 720p Plasma HDTV ($1250)
This 50-inch Samsung HDTV is rated at about 390 watts of power usage. While this may be efficient enough to qualify for the Energy Star seal-of-approval, there are plenty of other energy-efficient alternatives out there.
Top 5 LCD HDTVs
|1. Sony Bravia KDL-40V3000 40″ 1080p LCD HDTV ($1500)
This Sony is the best-selling LCD at Amazon.com, and it’s also a good choice for “green buyers”. This 40-inch LCD consumes only about 260 watts of power when on.
|2. Samsung LNT4665F 46″ 1080p LCD HDTV ($1850)
This 46-inch Samsung LCD is a good all-around choice for “greenies”. This HDTV only consumes about 247 watts when powered on, and only about 109 watts in “power save” mode – not bad. That works out to about $76 and $34 respectively.
|3. Samsung LNT4661F 46″ 1080p LCD HDTV ($1500)
Like the other best-selling LCDs here, this Samsung is also very efficient when it comes to power usage. This particular model uses about 245 watts when turned on, and about 111 watts in “power save” mode. These are both very “green” numbers for a 46-inch HDTV.
|4. Samsung LNT4061F 40″ 1080p LCD HDTV ($1200)
Again, this LCD is relatively efficient when it comes to operational power consumption. This 40-inch Samsung uses about 245 watts while powered-on – about the same as the aforementioned 46-inch Samsung. The 46-inch model is a bit more efficient, because it does have a larger screen, so it could be considered to be a tad bit “greener”.
|5. Sony Bravia XBR KDL-52XBR4 52-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV ($3000)
Rounding-out the top 5 best-selling LCD HDTVs is the biggest and most expensive model. This Sony may be big, but it’s still pretty efficient. This big-screen HDTV uses about 320 watts of power when turned on, and about half of that amount when the “power save” feature is used. While this figure is a little higher than the other LCDs, it’s still much lower than the plasma TVs.
So the obvious conclusion we can draw from the data is that LCD TVs consume much less power than plasmas. This doesn’t necessarily mean that LCDs are the better choice, because there is so much more that has to be considered when forking-over all that money for a new big-screen: resolution, response time, sound, size, etc. It is safe to say, though, that LCDs are much more efficient than plasmas, in terms of power consumption, which in turn makes them the “greener” choice.
Despite plasmas being inferior to LCDs when it comes to power consumption, plasmas tend to be slightly less-expensive than LCDs with similar features, although the gap is quickly narrowing. So if you’re on a budget, there are some good choices out there for both plasmas and LCDs. If you’re looking for your first HDTV, you may want to take a look at 42-inch models, which are not too big, not too small, and not too expensive.
One of the best manufacturers of HDTVs for under $1,500 is Panasonic. For the past few years, Panasonic has released some of the best budget plasmas on the market. Some of these top-rated 42-inch plasmas include the following models: TH-42PZ700U, TH-42PHD8UK, TH-42PX77U, TH-42PX60U, and TH-42PX50U. All five of these models are under $1,500, and they all produce excellent picture quality, good response times, and solid contrast ratios. They are, however, plasma TVs, so they do tend to suck-down a lot of electricity.
If you’re looking for a “greener” HDTV, than you have to look at getting an LCD. LCD screens have the advantage of being much more visible in brightly-lit areas. Plasmas on the other hand are better for dark rooms, such as a media room or theater room with no windows. LCDs, as we’ve already figured out, are sometimes twice as energy efficient than plasma HDTVs. Some good 42-inch budget LCDs would include the Philips 42PF9830A and the 42PFL7432D – both of which are extremely energy efficient (consumes only about 200 watts of power) and are under $1,500. Other good 42-inch LCD choices include the Vizio GV42L and GV47LF – again, both are under $1,500 and exceptionally efficient. Lastly, Philips unveiled their new Eco TV at this year’s CES, and this thing is so eco-friendly that it basically sips power. The company says that this 42-inch LCD HDTV contains technology which allows it to run while only consuming 75 watts of power, or only about $50 of electricity per year. The Philips 42PFL5603D is available in March, 2008 at a MRSP of $1399.
So, what about those of you who have already emptied their wallets for one those 50-inch plasmas and had no idea that they were so power-hungry. Well, there are some simple tips that you can use to significantly reduce the energy use of any TV. These tips may be a little obvious in some cases, but you’d be surprised how effective they are at reducing energy costs – sometimes as much as 50%:
New HDTV Technology…
HDTVs are here to stay and while many of them are energy efficient, some of them still are not. With even more new advancements in HDTV technology set to release in 2008, it will become even more confusing when shopping for a new TV. Sony recently released the world’s first OLED (organic light-emitting diode) HDTV. This new technology features vastly improved contrast ratio, wider viewing angles, and better color reproduction over plasma and LCD TVs. The Sony XEL-1 OLED TV only has an 11-inch screen, so this technology has a long way to go before it can compete with the much larger plasmas and LCDs, but it definitely looks promising. The one downfall of the first OLED HDTV is that it is definitely a power guzzler. While it only uses between 22 and 24 watts during operation, it’s only an 11-inch screen! This comes out to about 0.44-0.46 watts per-square-inch of screen, which is much higher than an efficient LCD which is typically around 0.10-0.15 watts per-square-inch. So there are some issues associated with the power usage in the first-ever OLED HDTV, but this technology is still in its early stages so only time will tell if it ever overtakes plasma or LCD technology in terms of popularity.
Another emerging HDTV technology was unveiled at the 2008 CES. Mitsubishi had on display their 65-inch LazrTV, which as the name implies, uses laser technology to produce images on the screen. Mitsubishi claims that this full-HDTV will cost less than plasma/LCD, require 25% less power, have a 50,000 hour life-span, and never lose picture quality over the life of the TV like plasma and LCD TVs do. LazrTV will be available by the end of 2008. If this technology can live-up to all of its hype, “laser TVs” could very easily become the most popular type of HDTV in the near future. The future of HDTV technology looks bright, but it’s up to the consumers to make sure that this future is “green”. So make sure that you take into consideration power consumption next time you go to purchase a TV, so that you don’t end-up with an energy-wasting power guzzler.
We hope you are inspired to improve the carbon footprint of your HDTV setup or at least help steer your choice in the right direction. Also, explore your overall TV setup with options for tv cables, hdtv connection panels and vogels wall mounts for your existing HDTV.