Size Matters, but So Does Type When Choosing an Energy Efficient TVTuesday, January 28, 2014 by: Greener Ideal
Energy Star, a company that certifies electronic devices as being energy efficient, estimated that over 33 million televisions were sold in 2013.
The company says 19 million of those would be 40 inches or more. Whether you love or hate what’s on your television, as they have become bigger and brighter, they have become more energy efficient.
Large screen televisions have moved away from plasma, and more towards Liquid Chrystal Displays (LCD), and even Light-Emitting Diodes (LED), to the ultra energy efficient Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) televisions – phew – what a bunch of tongue twisting acronyms. Bottom line, the amount of electricity consumed by a television made today has dropped by over 60 percent compared to one manufactured over six years ago.
Globally, televisions account for about six to eight percent of our household’s power consumption. Obviously, the larger the screen, the more power consumed – a 32-inch LCD uses about half the power of a 52 inch LCD.
However, the type of television really does make a difference when trying to purchase an energy efficient TV. Television manufacturers are phasing out energy hogging plasma TVs. Plasma screens consume about two to three times more electricity to produce an image of the same brightness as an LCD. This is because plasma televisions treat each pixel as a light source and power consumption sharply increases, as each pixel must be lit individually.
By contrast, LCD screens use a separate backlight to brighten the LCD screen as a whole, which lights the pixels. LCDs also conserve power by turning the backlight down during dark scenes and up during bright scenes, as needed. Then came LED. The first LCD televisions used Cold-Cathode Fluorescent Lamps (CCFL) bulbs as the backlight. This type of fluorescent bulb is very energy efficient, but not as technologically energy efficient as the newer kid on the block – the LED.
LED LCD televisions are brighter, and far more energy efficient than CCFLs. Some LED LCD televisions are “edge” lit, meaning LED lights run along the edges of the screen, and some are “full LED” which means there are LED lights scattered throughout the entire back of the screen. Both LED configurations use less energy than CCFL LED backlight screens.
However, full LED ones are even more energy efficient, as they dim or brighten entire areas of the screen as needed. For example, a sunrise may only require the top half of the screen to be bright, while the bottom half may still be in a darker contrasting level of light. However, the most energy efficient televisions probably aren’t in your living room.
OLED televisions came out about two-years ago, and still have yet to find their way into our homes. However, according to universities studying this technology, they claim OLED TVs could be 100 percent efficient. OLED televisions are so energy efficient because they are composed of thin films of organic molecules that create light, instead of using any sort of external lighting source – such as an LED backlight.
Although many smart phones have embraced the OLED technology for use in their screens, OLED televisions have yet to become big sellers. This is because of their cost, a 55 inch OLED TV retails today for about $10,000, while a similar sized LED LCD TV only costs about $1,000.
OLED televisions have brighter picture and better energy efficiency than LED LCD televisions, however, there is still something even newer coming out – 4K Ultra High Definition. 4K is four times better picture than today’s standard of high definition – it’s like having four 1080p high definition televisions combined into one.
However, 4K Ultra High Definition is more of standard for image quality, as opposed to television type – think of is as the next level after high definition.
Because of the newness of OLED and 4K Ultra High Definition, not many of these televisions have been Energy Star Certified. However, to truly enjoy the brighter and better picture quality of these OLED and 4K UHD televisions, you really need a large screen – some have been over 85 inches! Which is good, because since the introduction of bigger screens, television manufacturers have been producing more energy efficient televisions – and that’s good for all of us.