Energy Guzzling ... Televisions Sets

Written by Ann Shibler on April 15 2009.

TelevisionThis one’s not going to sit well with the couch potato crowd and several generations of viewers whose physical and social development and behaviors have been greatly impacted by television programming and who insist on buying the ever larger and fancier TV models that dominate homes, but California regulators have now targeted the family television set. And how California and the industry goes, so goes the nation.

It seems that plasma and LCD television sets are energy hogs. The California Energy Commission says a 42-inch plasma TV uses more energy than a large refrigerator. The Commission will go after manufacturers to reduce the energy usage by setting energy limits for all new TVs by 2013.

You weren’t thinking the government was going to regulate the length of time one could view their main access into the homes and minds of the people, were you? Oh no. Network programming is too easily a propaganda tool to forego; through careful crafting, the medium of mainstream media can mold opinion on a massive scale, in favor of the government’s perspective, of course. Besides, there’s something to be said for the escapism value as well -- the masses have to be able to be lulled and pacified somehow.

For five-hours-a-day usage, the average television consumes 10 percent of a household’s electricity. But specifically, based on that five hours a day, a plasma TV will use 688 kilowatt hours a year, an LCD will use 275 kilowatt hours a year, and the old-fashioned cathode ray tube TV will use 183 kilowatt hours per year.

By making a few changes in technology such as reducing the brightness of the picture, the reason people buy the plasmas and LCD’s in the first place, some energy reduction can be achieved, but only saving about $104 to $164 over the lifetime of the appliance, with the actual extra cost of “a few tens of dollars.” Not much feasibility there.

The Consumer Electronics Association conducted a study and found that retail sales will probably fall as a result of the increase in prices with the corresponding drop in tax revenue to the tune of $50 million, so the whole effort may be self defeating in the end for the state of California. Nonetheless, the regulators cannot resist regulating.

Of course, they’re all missing the obvious: shut the thing off or throw it out altogether, thereby saving a lot of energy and one’s sanity to boot. Wouldn’t this be the only truly “green” thing to do?

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