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
  • source

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%:

    1. Turn off the TV when you’re not watching it (Duh!)
    2. Turn off your TV’s quick-start option (if your TV is equipped with one)
    3. If you have an LCD, dim the backlight a bit
    4. Turn on your TV’s power-saver mode (if equipped)
    5. Adjust the factory settings of the TV to dim the brightness a bit
    6. Don’t watch so much TV!

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.


8 Responses to “Power Guzzlers: How Green Is Your HDTV?”

  1. NS on April 16, 2008 9:19 am

    Gosh i had no idea that TVs could be power hungry. Thanks for a very informative post.

  2. Kevin on April 30, 2008 5:37 am

    What I am about to show you is going to shock you, not the invention itself but what has happened since:

    In the year 2006 an aspiring inventor appeared on the BBC show Dragon’s Den – a show where 5 entrepreneurs decide whether to invest in inventions and innovative services created by members of the public – advertising an invention that would reduce power consumption of every device in existence to a mere 0.02W when on Stand-By mode. The entrepreneurs were understandably impressed and invested.

    That is not the shock! The shock is… after 2 years we cannot find this product on the market and the device was proved to work. I suspect some of the large UK energy companies got involved and did what Big Suger did to the miracle bean in the US!

  3. Electric Car on August 31, 2008 10:08 pm

    Very thought provoking post there. Gives you an idea how each thing that we do in our daily lives have either a positive or negative impact on the environment around us. I had no idea that these big TVs were such power guzzlers. With a little thought to how and what we do each day, such as our mode of transport for instance, we can collectively make a substantial difference to the big picture.

  4. John Sosebee on September 1, 2008 10:56 am

    I bought a Vizio 52″ Plasma TV Christmas ’07. I had been looking at the big TVs for months, but they were just too expensive for me to afford. At the beginning of the Christmas buying season, Walmart had a “loss leader” special. They sold these TVs for $800 each but only had 6 per store. The normal price was $1200+. I got the last one in the store I shop in.

    I had it mounted on the wall in my sunroom (media room) in my house. I built cabinets on either side of it and a computer desk in the corner and a counter top all across one end of the room with storage cabinets underneath for files and such. Since the computer is in the corner to the left of the Plasma TV, I am working there in the evening while the TV is on. Had I known before I purchased the unit, that it generated so much heat, I don’t know if I would have gotten it or not. I chose the Plasma because it has a glass front rather than a soft plastic front, as does the LCD. I have several cats in the house, and I was terrified that one of them might scratch the LCD, which I knew from experience, would eventually ruin it. Additionally, my electricity bill is $30 to $50 per month higher than it has been in the past, due, I am convinced, in a large part to the new Plasma. I went from a 32″ regular TV to the 52″ Plasma.

    For anyone contemplating purchasing a new “big flat screen” I offer these observations as food for thought.

  5. Most Energy Saving TVs on October 3, 2008 8:22 am

    The JVC LT-40FN97 HDTV is very energy efficient, only 0.38 watts when on standby

  6. DL on December 19, 2008 2:30 pm

    I just got a new DLP LED Samsung and wonder where it fits into the energy lineup. Was considering a 58″ Panasonic plasma which supposedly has an energy star rating, but I assumed LED would be greener. However, I would prefer a thin screen so am not sure the DLP LED is the final choice.

  7. George Feelgood on February 26, 2009 10:51 pm

    Speaking of green power and energy consumption, I’ve had a Samsung LN52a650 for some time now and, based on the electric bill, I feel this was a good choice overall, and that, 18 months down the line, there is no excessive heat from the back of the LCD HDTV…and, if there was…I don’t think I would be complaining, considering the winters on the NE Seaboard.

    It’s still early days (me thinks) to speculate about energy savings…it is, after all, still a private enterprise and, until the majority stand up to be counted, we might as well enjoy being fleeced in broad daylight.

    Love this post on HDTVs… if I were to make a comparison between the Sony (of which I have almost everything Sony – save for the HDTV) I’d say Samsung have something brewing here with their Red Touch of Color technology on the 700 and 800 series of HDTV.

    Feelgood
    Samsung 1080p LCD HDTV

  8. samsung 1080p lcd hdtv on March 2, 2009 4:58 pm

    Of the Samsung brand of LCD HDTVs, it’s a fact and, based on user reviews, the LN52A650 has by far the most vivid picture on the market.

    Not only is this HDTV different…(it is after all, the first to embrace the Red Touch of Color technology from Samsung).

    With its standard swivel base, you’re guaranteed picture perfect viewing from any angle in the room…and with no glare, you can rest assured that this was a good investment worth watching.

    I’ve also had the opportunity to play around with the Sony Bravia KDL-52W4100 52. Priced to go, but was put off by the dark shades changing.

    Either way, they’re both sterling products, but I just tend to prefer the Samsung.

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About me...
Hi! I am a self-confessed geek with an insatiable appetite for gadgets and travel. Currently I own a MacBook Pro, 30GB iPod video and a big credit card balance.
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