Flat Screen Vs. Tube TV Energy Use

Written by shoaib khan
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Flat Screen Vs. Tube TV Energy Use
Newer, flat-screen TVs consume more power than cathode ray tube TVs. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Blake Patterson)

The most popular flat-screen televisions are either LCD (liquid crystal display) or plasma. Flat-screen televisions are making the old CRT (cathode ray tube) TVs obsolete. In the last few years, sales of flat-screen TV have risen while sales have decreased for "tube" TVs.

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Today there are about 260 million television sets in USA. Their load on the nation's total electricity production is 47 billion kilowatt hours, about 1 per cent of total production. As the number of TVs per person increases, and as TVs get bigger and bigger, their claim on the nation's electricity production can only increase.

Power consumption at home

The average household watches five hours of TV per day. When people buy a new TV, they tend to retain the old one and move it to another part of the house; the new TV is essentially an addition, not a replacement. This tendency adds to electricity bills, as TVs consume power even when they are switched off.


In the UK, the government-funded Energy Saving Trust says flat-screen TVs like plasma TVs are on average 50 per cent bigger than CRT TVs, and consume about four times more energy. As for carbon emissions, CRT TVs produced about 100Kg (2,200lbs) of carbon dioxide per year, while the newer, larger plasma TVs produced 400Kg (39.9kg) of this climate-warming agent.

Energy use

Understandably, large-screen TVs consume more energy than small screens. This being said, power consumption also depends on technology; a decent CRT TV consumes 3.4 watts per screen inch, while a plasma TV gobbles up 9.4 watts. Power efficiency per screen inch for an LCD TV is similar to a CRT TV, but since the average LCD TV is much bigger, they consume more power.

Saving energy

Cutting off power to the TV from the main supply can save 10 per cent of the power a TV consumes. Watching TV on a dimmer screen could save as much as 15 per cent.

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