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    What Type of TV is the Most Energy Efficient?

July 2018

If you’re thinking about buying a new television or home theatre system, choosing a model with a higher star rating could reduce your energy bill.

While TVs aren’t the biggest culprits on the average household energy bill in Australia - heating and cooling typically take top honours there - they can consume a decent amount of energy.

In fact, TVs can use more energy than your fridge and freezer – around 6% of your total energy usage.1 Throw in a home theatre system and a weekend Netflix binge, and that percentage can spike pretty fast.

By doing a little research before you buy your next screen, you can significantly reduce the amount of energy your television consumes. Then, you can relax on the couch guilt-free and enjoy your favourite show.

TV energy star ratings

By law, every TV sold in Australia must display an Energy Rating Label.2 You can use this label to easily compare different models’ energy consumption – the more stars a TV gets, the more energy efficient it is.

To help you make sense of the Energy Rating Labels, read our guide to star ratings before you start shopping. You could also research energy consumption online and use calculators that help you work out how much energy particular TVs use.

Comparing the energy consumption of TVs

You’re not always comparing apples with apples when it comes to TVs. A number of factors affect their energy consumption:

  • Size – the bigger the television, the more energy it will consume
  • Screen type – organic light-emitting diode (OLED), light-emitting diode (LED) and liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs generally use less energy than plasmas
  • Brand – some brands produce more energy efficient TVs (generally, cheaper televisions are less energy efficient)
  • Viewing habits – turning down the screen brightness will use less energy, as can switching off standby mode

Given all these variables, it can be tricky to give you a direct comparison. For example, a power-hungry plasma television might actually be more energy efficient than a cheaper LED television of the same size. And that’s why the star ratings are so handy.

How much energy does a plasma, LED and LCD TV use?

There’s no simple answer, unfortunately. Again, all those variables above will affect a TV’s energy consumption. But it can help to know how the different technologies work:

  • LED and LCD – these days, both LED and LCD can be put in the same energy-efficient bucket. Most models today use LCD and low-energy LED lighting to backlight the screen, and generally use the least amount of energy.
  • OLED – a display technology that produces rich colours from super-thin screens, with no backlight. These are generally very energy efficient.
  • Plasma – these screens are made up of tiny cells that contain electrically-charged gases, and have a reputation for guzzling energy. That said, there are more energy-efficient models on the market now.

Buying an energy efficient TV

If you’re on the hunt for a new TV and want to find one that’s a little more energy efficient than what you’ve got now, your first step is to work out your budget. Not everyone can afford the most energy efficient TV in Australia!

Knowing roughly what you’re prepared to pay will narrow down your choice significantly. If you watch a lot of television, then spending a little more may pay off in the long run because you get a more energy efficient model and save on energy bills. Flip side, if you’re only an occasional viewer, then it might not make sense to splurge.

Then, work out what size you’re after – this may be dictated by wall space in your living room. Finally, choose your display technology (OLED, LED, LCD or plasma). Unless you have a firm preference in mind, this could be as simple as comparing the star ratings of different makes and models side-by-side to see what’s the most efficient.

Tips to reduce TV energy consumption

If you’re not planning on buying a new television any time soon, there are ways you can reduce the energy consumption of your current TV:
  • Go to settings on your TV and lower the brightness (less light means less power)
  • Position your TV away from natural light (so you don’t need that extra brightness)
  • Switch it off at the powerpoint instead of using standby mode
  • If you’re in the habit of having the TV on in the background during the day, consider turning it off and listening to music instead

The final word

Watching TV is a pretty power-hungry pastime. So if you’re in the market for a new television, it really can pay to look at the energy ratings of the models in your price range. Choosing a TV with a better star rating could mean less energy usage on your annual energy bill.

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