i3 | October 01, 2020

How TVs Have Become More Energy Efficient

Mark Levine

Nearly everyone owns a television, and many people own more than one. We watch news, sports and entertainment on televisions every day. They play a vital role in our lives. TV manufacturers continue to dazzle consumers with new technologies that improve the viewing experience. With technologies ranging from Ultra High-Definition (UHD) to High Dynamic Range (HDR), television pictures have improved so much it can seem that you arenot watching a screen at all. For example, when watching a football game, the picture has such vivid color and resolution, you feel as if you are actually at the game.

Features such as HDR and 4K video resolution give consumers more vivid colors, better brightness and enhanced resolution. You would expect these picture improvements to lead to increased power consumption. But TV manufacturers also have improved energy efficiency in other areas of the TV’s design.

Improving Energy Efficiency

Adding Automatic Brightness Control (ABC) is one method TV manufacturers use to keep energy use down. ABC uses a built-in light sensor to detect the ambient level of light in a room, and then adjusts the brightness of the screen to provide a more appropriate and comfortable viewing condition. If the viewer is watching TV in a well-lit room, the screen will brighten, and if the viewer is watching in a dark room, the screen will dim. Dimming the screen based on ambient lighting in the room typically results in less energyconsumed.Another way TV manufacturers are able to keep energy use down is by lowering the backlight in certain areas of the screen, often called “local dimming.” In dark areas of the picture, the backlight may be dimmed, which maintains the same picturequality and consumes less power. For example, if a movie scene is displaying a dark sky with a bright moon in the upper right-hand corner, the backlight needs to be bright only in the area where the moon is on the screen, and the backlight can be dimmed on the rest of the screen. This can also give the user a better experience as well, because the dark sky can be extremely dark and the vivid color of the moon can really shine through.One study CTA commissioned, Energy Consumption of Consumer Electronics in U.S. Homes in 2017 (Fraunhofer, 2017), found, “the energy consumed by consumer electronics declined about 14% since 2013, continuing the trend that started in 2010,” and that “TV energy trends show that on average, it only costs consumers six cents a day to power their television.” This means the annual cost of running a TV is similar to buying a few cups of coffee each year.


New over-the-air broadcasts, called “NEXTGEN TV,” will be available in the U.S. starting in late 2020. NEXTGEN TV is the future of TV, offering new ways for viewers to see, hear and interact with TV programming. It includes features such as enhanced video and immersive audio, interactive capabilities and advanced emergency alert notifications.The user will have access to 4K UHD and HDR content as well as ‘movie theater-like’ immersive sound. Consumers will also have access to enriched content such as an on-demand video library and an advanced TV guide. With all these new features, TVs will continue to provide consumers with a quality experience while maintaining energy efficiency. 

New over-the-air broadcasts, called “NEXTGEN TV,” will be available in the U.S. starting in late 2020.

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