LCD vs. Plasma TV Energy Consumption

Written by vladimir sarlat
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LCD vs. Plasma TV Energy Consumption
Energy Consumption in LCD vs Plasma (full hd lcd tv image by mattmatt73 from Fotolia.com)

LCD and Plasma television energy consumption is a very popular topic with consumers, manufacturers and retailers. Now that old tube televisions are practically extinct, new technology comes in two forms: plasma and LCD. This new breed of television is larger, lighter in weight and produces stunning pictures with vivid colours. As LCD and plasma television technology continues to evolve, power consumption is an important consideration to make.

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Significance of Increased Usage

Plasma and LCD televisions have revolutionised television viewing with thin, wall mounted designs, surround sound and Internet connectivity. In direct proportion to this growth are the many activities the television is used for including gaming, streaming and watching movies on DVD and Bluray.

Types of Technology

LCD televisions create an image by using a backlight to shine through a panel containing pixels to create an image on the screen. Because the pixels reside in the panel not the backlight, resolution is not linked to power usage. The newest technology used in LCD televisions is LED backlighting. LEDs use even less power than standard LCD televisions with LEDs providing the backlighting.

Plasma televisions create an image by lighting each pixel individually by changing a gas (usually xenon and neon) into plasma to create light. To brighten the picture on a plasma television, the amount of light generated by each pixel requires more energy. Plasma televisions, while making great strides in recent years to consume less energy, still consume more energy than LCD televisions.

Size Matters

According to David Katzmaier and Matthew Moskovciak of CNET.com reviews, most LCD and plasma televisions come in large sizes from 12 inches up to 65 inches or more. The larger the TV, the greater the power consumption. Any flat screen technology will use more power than a tube television provided the flat panel isn't smaller than the tube television. For example, a 32-inch LCD will consume about half the energy that a 50-inch LCD would consume.

Effects of Picture Settings

Reducing the light output of your television regardless of the type can reduce the energy consumption. An LCD or plasma's energy consumption can be impacted with two settings within the users control--backlight and contrast. For LCD televisions, the picture brightness can be controlled by tweaking the contrast and backlighting. Plasma televisions are the same with the exception of the backlighting which often is named by the manufacturer. For example, Samsung plasmas use the term cell light instead of backlight. Other power settings can be tweaked to save energy but come at the expense of picture quality.

Energy Use Standards

In November 2008, The Environmental Protection Agency began certifying TVs for its Energy Star program. Originally, the standard for being certified was for televisions to be on standby. Later changed to EnergyStar 3.0, the standard was raised to testing power consumption with the power turned on. Standards are being raised again May 2010 and manufacturers must ensure their televisions consume 40 per cent less power than the 3.0 spec required.

Advantages/Disadvantages

LCD has the definite advantage in lower overall consumption and energy costs per year according to CNET.com's David Katzmaier and Matthew Moskovciak. If energy consumption trumps picture quality for you, LCD is the way to go; LED if you want the best power saver TV. If however, picture quality matters more than power consumption, then plasma is the way to go.

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