According to an analysis released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) televisions sets from Samsung, LG, and Vizio use up to twice the energy that consumers were told they would. The recently purchased models by these manufacturers which are representing half of the U.S. market can lead to $1.2 billion higher energy costs.
“It appears that some major manufacturers have modified their TV designs to get strong energy-use marks during government testing but they may not perform as well in consumers’ homes”, says Noah Horowitz, senior scientist and director, Center for Energy Efficiency Standards, NRDC. “These ‘under the hood’ changes dramatically increase a TV’s energy use and environmental impact, usually without the user’s knowledge.”
The NRDC report states that Samsung, LG, and Vizio have designed their TVs to disable energy-saving features whenever users change the main picture setting, doing so with no or little adequate on-screen warning, which can boost energy use by 50 to 100 percent, or more. Manufacturers are likely designing their televisions this way as a means to increase the brightness of the television screen in an attempt to enhance perceived owner satisfaction, but the extra energy use is not accounted for in the DOE test.
HDR content consumes more energy too: “The latest version of ultra high-definition (UHD) TVs used approximately 30 to 50 percent more energy when playing content produced with High Dynamic Range (HDR) than conventional UHD content. In addition, the TV’s energy-saving features were automatically disabled whenever HDR content was played. HDR-capable TVs deliver bolder colors, brighter images, and higher contrast that will make the format increasingly popular but the test method does not include HDR content so the extra energy use is not reflected. “
The full report ‘The Secret Costs of Manufacturers Exploiting Loopholes in the Government’s TV Energy Test: $1.2 Billion for Consumers, Millions of Tons of Pollution’ is available online. “With millions of televisions purchased annually across America, all of this extra energy use has a major impact on national energy consumption, consumer utility bills, and the environment”, concludes Horowitz. “Steps must be taken to ensure televisions are as energy efficient as possible during actual use and not just during government testing.”
Photo: Sascha Sebastian / PIXELIO