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How Much Energy Does your TV Consume?

The energy consumption of televisions is an interesting topic with some surprising answers. Today, televisions are bigger and fancier than ever, but many consumers want to know how much their new TV could change their electric bill. Although the technology has come a long way since the 1950s, the cost to operate TVs has increased along with the screen size. Now, TVs and peripheral devices account for roughly 10 percent of a home’s annual energy consumption. Some televisions use more electricity than the average refrigerator. If you’ve been wondering how much energy your TV really uses, here are a few answers.

Energy Use Based on Technology

Back in the day, all televisions and computer monitors used cathode ray tube (CRT) technology. Modern televisions use a variety of techniques to produce brighter, better pictures. Flat-screen CRT televisions are quite common and surprisingly efficient. They use an average of .23 watts of electricity per square inch of screen. Other flat-screen televisions have liquid crystal displays (LCD) with LED backlighting or another bulb system that illuminates the pixels. LCD televisions are slightly less efficient than CRT televisions, and they are available in large sizes. The average LCD television uses .27 watts of electricity per square inch.

Plasma is the latest trend in television technology. These TVs are available in large sizes, but they use .36 watts of electricity per square inch. Plasma televisions can consume twice as much electricity as other systems. It’s important to note that there are efficient and inefficient TVs in any category. According to studies, the average television costs $30 to operate for one year. However, statistics from the same study say that the most expensive television will add $230 to your annual electric bill. The extra cost of plasma televisions isn’t the only thing to consider. Many people choose these TVs because they can display true blacks and have different features than LCD televisions. Plasma TVs do not need a backlight, but they do need a lot of power to illuminate the plasma gas that displays the picture.

TV Energy Consumption

Manufacturers and efficiency groups attempt to estimate the energy consumption of televisions and electronics. Energy Star labels typically include the annual energy consumption and cost of operation for each item based on comparable products. However, this is only an estimate and doesn’t represent actual use. The energy consumption of any television is dynamic. Whether a television is turned off or turned on, there will be subtle energy fluctuations. Bright television ads use more electricity than the dark, somber shots in your favorite television show. Downloading TV guide information in standby mode also requires electricity. However, screen size ultimately determines how much energy your television uses regardless of the technology.

Calculating Your TV’s Energy Consumption

To determine the energy consumption of your television, you’ll need to check the sticker on the back to locate its energy rating. The sticker should state the model of the TV and its wattage. This number could be anywhere from 75 watts to 230 watts. The TV’s energy rating shows how much electricity the appliance uses during one hour of operation. Most American households operate a television for five hours each day. To determine the energy consumption, you’ll need to estimate your viewing time in hours and multiply that number by the TV’s energy rating. The product is your TV’s average energy consumption for one day.

It’s easy to find out how much it costs to operate your TV for a day, a month or a year. Once you have your TV’s average energy consumption, you’ll need to determine how much you pay per kilowatt of electricity. To find this number, divide the cost of your electric bill by the number of kilowatts used. Then, multiply your average daily consumption by the cost of each kilowatt hour. The product will represent how much it costs to run your TV for one day. From that point, you can estimate the average monthly or annual cost of operation.

To reduce your TV’s energy consumption, adjust the brightness and backlight settings. Selecting energy-efficient options may darken the picture. By making subtle adjustments, you can reduce your energy consumption slightly each day. In general, it only costs a few cents to operate a large digital TV for one hour.