Want to save energy, but still want your HDTV? Today you can have both high-quality high-def viewing and energy savings.
If there’s a blue Energy Star logo on the latest TV you’re eyeing, you know it meets stringent power requirements. And you shouldn’t have to worry about performance being compromised.
An LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) television typically requires much less power than plasma, which has seen makers Pioneer and Vizio drop the technology within the past year. LCDs are becoming more and more efficient, thanks to full backlighting by energy-friendly LEDs (light emitting diodes), as well as features like local dimming, ambient light sensing, auto-off settings and home viewing modes.
Those features are worth looking for because:
Local dimming dims or shuts off LEDs in certain dark areas of a picture, thereby boosting contrast, black levels and energy savings.
Ambient light sensing automatically adjusts brightness, color or contrast settings based on room lighting conditions.
Auto-off settings power down or put the TV into “sleep” mode.
“Home” viewing modes use a lower-power state than the brilliant “torch” modes used to display TVs in retail outlets.
Some advanced calibration modes also take efficiency into account.
TV efficiencies will get even better. Television manufacturer watchdog DisplaySearch forecasts that “large area” LED backlights will surpass conventional fluorescent backlighting in LCDs by 2014. Energy Star isn’t done, either, with new and much more stringent specifications set to go into effect in 2010 and ’12.
The current Energy Star 3.0 specs call for HDTVs of 42 inches and 50 inches to use 208 watts and 318 watts or less, respectively, while standby power needs to be less than 1 watt. We didn’t limit ourselves to those sizes, but we did look at nine similar-size TVs larger than 40 inches, all of which feature Full HD 1080p resolution and Energy Star 3.0 compliance. If money isn’t an issue, ultra-efficient options include Sony’s 11-inch OLED (Organic LED) XEL-1 model or Mitsubishi’s 65-inch LaserVue TV, with respective retail prices of $2,499 and $6,999.
Click here to view a slideshow of our nine TV energy-efficiency stars.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.