TV sets became a popular consumer product after World War II, and they’ve been a constant fixture in living rooms and bedrooms ever since. Televisions have come a long way since those early days, in terms of programming, looks and also how much energy they consume. The first TV sets were CRT styles, cathode ray tube, and this was the predominant type for decades. The arrival of LCDs, plasma and LED display technologies was the death knell for CRTs. The thing is, most CRTs use less energy than plasma televisions, but they lack the larger screen, sleek designs, user-friendly features, and higher resolutions of newer LCDs and plasmas. Today, you won’t find too many of those big and bulky CRT TV sets sold in the U.S. anymore. However, if you’re feeling nostalgic, you can still buy new models in China, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East.
Most Americans will try to hold onto their TV set as long as they can. Unless you’re the kind of person that always has to have the latest technology, you’ll probably only replace your TV every seven or eight years. If it’s time to upgrade your television, here are some choices to consider.
TV types in use today
Yes, CRTs have gone the way of the Edsel, and it looks like plasma TVs may be headed to the TV graveyard soon, too. That said, you can still buy plasma TVs, and now they’re much cheaper than LEDs and LCDs. While many people agree that plasma TVs have a superior picture quality and offer a better viewing experience over LCDs, most plasma models consume more power than those old, bulky CRTs and much more than LEDs and LCDs of comparable size. Also, plasma TVs aren’t light weight, so that’s another thing you’ll want to consider. Other things to consider with plasmas are their lifespan — most have a shorter lifespan than LCDs and LEDs.
The early 2000s saw the rise of LCD (liquid crystal display) TVs. Today, they’re the most commonly produced and sold television. When they first arrived on the scene, their thin and lightweight design (compared to CRTs and plasmas) was hard to miss. The slim profile was an instant hit with consumers, as was the sharper resolution and larger screen sizes. It’s true that the larger the screen size, the more power they consume. However, with an LCD, the difference between 32-inch screen size and one that’s twice as big is just a few dollars more a year.
So, if you value a bigger screen size, the cost of paying a bit more annually is not such a big deal. And, if you want to compare lifespans, LCDs have a much longer life than plasmas. LCDs use cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) for backlighting—this is important to remember when we get to LED TVs.
TVs keep getting better in energy use. Take LEDs, for example. While LEDs still use LCD technology, they differ in that they use energy-efficient LEDs to illuminate the screen. They also use much less power than their LCD and plasma counterparts.
In fact, LEDs use almost 70% less energy than plasma TVs. If you’re looking to impress your friends at the next Super Bowl party, you can find an LED TV screen size that’s up to 90-inches! Plus, LEDs have a thinner frame to boot.
One of the most energy efficient TVs for 2019 is also an economical choice. The VIZIO E75-F1 features direct-lit LED technology and 74.6-inch screen size with 2160p resolution. This ENERGY STAR certified television will cost about $19.06 a year to operate. Smaller sized LEDs, like the 19-inch direct-lit LED, RCA RT1971-AC will cost an average of $3.31 a year to operate.
Certified energy efficient TVs
With bigger screen sizes and higher resolutions, you can expect more energy consumption. So, if you want a TV that consumes less power, go smaller and keep the screen dimmer. Of course, if bigger is better in your book and you’re in the market to upgrade your television, you can find out how much power your new, bigger screen TV consumes. All you have to do is look for the Energy Guide label. You can’t miss it. Since 2011, the FTC has required every TV to display a bright yellow and black label. These labels estimate how much it costs to run a TV for a year. Of course, this estimate assumes that you’re paying an average of 11 cents/kWh electricity and you’re watching 5 hours of TV a day. So, the actual cost depends on your local utility rates and viewing habits.
When you’re shopping for certified energy efficient televisions, look for ENERGY STAR® models. ENERGY STAR® TVs can provide energy savings and environmental protection. The good news is that most of the top TV models sold in the U.S. are ENERGY STAR® certified, so it won’t be hard to find a model that can save you money.
Ways to make your TVs more energy efficient
The average American watches a little over 5 hours of TV a day. Yes, getting a newer model is an excellent start to minimizing your TV-related energy costs. However, you may not even need to get a new TV if you apply some tips to save energy and readjust your TV habits. Even the smallest changes can make your existing TV more energy efficient. If you don’t need it, consider disabling the “always on” and voice command features. Be sure to turn off the TV when nobody is watching. Some models have built-in timers to help you curb your viewing habits, like falling asleep with the TV on.
Switching to a new electricity provider can help you save money.
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