i3 | November 02, 2017

Television Innovation: Saving Energy and Making Cents

Elliot Grimm

It’s industry innovation — not government regulations — that has brought televisions bigger screens, better picture quality and new features to market, all while saving consumers energy and money.

Chances are, the television in your living room has functions and picture quality unimaginable just a decade ago. Today’s TVs bring real-life images into our homes and allow us to record and stream our favorite shows with the push of a button. The progress of innovation is immediately apparent when looking at old and clunky cathode-ray tube (CRT) TVs. Televisions now have bigger screens and weigh three times less.

Not as apparent, however, is the positive impact innovation is having on energy consumption and the savings being passed on to consumers.

A new CTA study, LCD Television Power Draw Trends 2003 to 2015, found that LCD TVs from 2015 consume 76 percent less energy (per screen area) than TVs did in 2003. The reduction means real savings for consumers — costing on average only six cents per day to power one TV, compared to more than 20 cents per day in 2003. The findings show how the industry provides the latest and greatest technology to consumers while remaining committed to increasing environmental sustainability.

Regarding public policy, voluntary, market-driven initiatives and partnerships, such as ENERGY STAR®, have been most effective in promoting energy efficiency because they allow industry the ability to compete and innovate. It’s important for the industry to be able to invest in R&D, meet consumer demand and collaborate on energy efficiency technologies. Our tech devices are now thinner, lighter, faster, smarter and much more energy efficient.

According to the study, TVs’ declining energy consumption largely stems from improvements in lighting technology and its operation. For example, backlight dimming reduces the power needed to display high-resolution images. Additionally, energy efficient features such as Automatic Brightness Control (ABC) and Motion Detection Dimming (MDD), which dynamically adjusts screen brightness in response to indoor lighting conditions, have become more common. The CTA study also found the passive standby draw of TVs dropped 63 percent.

While energy consumption has dropped, the average TV screen size has increased to 40 inches, representing more than 20 percent growth since 2010. At the same time, there have been other outcomes favorable to environmental sustainability.

According to a recent study conduxted by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and commissioned by Staples, not only are fewer materials used to make tech products, but materials of concern, such as lead and mercury, are being used less in tech devices entering the market today. Industry innovation continues to be the best driver to advance the energy efficiency and sustainability of our devices. And manufacturers deserve credit for the ingenuity and commitment to making more energy efficient products that cut power consumption, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower consumers’ energy bills.

As display technology evolves — as witnessed at CES every January — consumers continue to win through market driven solutions. TVs have been the enterpiece of home entertainment centers for decades, and as recent research findings demonstrate, TVs take center stage with their energy efficiency achievements as well.

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