Friday, January 18, 2008

kill your TV-- before it eats all of the energy

One more from the WSJ on energy (isn't it interesting that they produce so much on this topic?)-- this one from Rebecca Smith on "the giant sucking sound" of fancy TV's. The graphic accompanying the article is too large to reproduce, but the interesting stat is a 28" TV costs $30 to power per year, while a 60" plasma requires $130.

Prices for big-screen television sets are dropping, but the cost of home entertainment may still be headed up. That is because the fancy screens shoppers are lugging home this holiday season consume far more electricity than their old-school predecessors.

Consider that a 42-inch plasma set can consume more electricity than a full-size refrigerator -- even when that TV is used only a few hours a day. Powering a fancy TV and full-on entertainment system -- with set-top boxes, game consoles, speakers, DVDs and digital video recorders -- can add nearly $200 to a family's annual energy bill.

Most consumers aren't made aware of extra energy expenses when they are shopping for a TV. Energy Star tags, a government program that identifies the most energy-efficient models, won't begin flagging the greenest televisions, when turned on, until late next year. Currently, Energy Star judges energy consumption only in standby mode, limiting its usefulness.

While most new types of TV sets use far more electricity than the old-fashioned gadgets they replace, some upstarts are bigger energy hogs than others. In general, liquid crystal display, or LCD, screens use less power than plasma sets of comparable size. And in the largest screen sizes, projection televisions typically use less electricity than LCD or plasma models.

A 28-inch conventional television set containing a cathode-ray picture tube, or CRT, for example, often uses about 100 watts of electricity. A 42-inch LCD set, a typical upgrade item, requires about twice that amount of electricity. But the real beast is the plasma set. A 42-inch model often sucks up 200 to 500 watts, and a 60-plus-inch plasma screen can consume 500 to 600 watts, depending on the model and programming, according to the Environmental Protection Agency....

Currently, 11% to 13% of the average American household's electricity bill stems from consumer electronics. But that is projected to rise to 18% by 2015, according to the EPA, part of the Department of Energy....


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