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back to article California votes in HD TV power pruning law

Legislators in California have voted to exterminate overly energy-hungry TVs, creating a law that insists the state’s tellies meet strict energy consumption standards. Set to come into force in 2011, the law will require TVs with screen sizes of 58in or less to consume 33 per cent less electricity than existing models do. For …

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Unhappy

Telly SUV

All tellys must use less electricity, except rich people's!

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Flame

Brightness...

Manu's will just crank down the brightness (back light) to meet these standards, then the end user will just have to turn them back up to see the picture. Since there is no link to the law, and I couldn't find it (I admit, I didn't try hard) there should be a provision that at a certain light output level (white picture) X will be the power usage or better. Just saying reduce watts used is easy...

I have a 53" set, and I can tell you that there is nearly 100W difference between all the way off and all the way on brightness. It does do some auto adjustment based upon picture and ambient lighting (also a must for newer tv's.)

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Silver badge

What about all the ones they've got already?

What is the carbon foot print of everyone having to buy new tellies?

What happens to all the old ones?

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Unhappy

What about set-top boxes?

I got a UPS that displays the current power draw in watts, and I was surprised to learn my large LCD monitor only draws less than 1 watt on standby, while my set-top box draws 20+ watts no matter if it's on or off! I also noticed my PC draws 10W if it's "powered off" compared to 35W in-use. My PSU is a brand-new "80+% efficient" one.

So I'm pulling 30W while everything's "turned off", which is a chunk, don't you think?

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Unhappy

Zero savings in energy costs

As a lifelong California resident, I can assure you the utility companies will whinge about lost revenue and obtain a rate increase from the CPUC. Total savings for the consumer: zero.

Other than that, the reductions in resource consumption and CO2 emission are good things. Just don't try to sell this to me on "cost savings". :-)

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FAIL

Poor choice of device

If they had any sense they would choose devices which have a quantifiable performance - e.g. the PQ of a TV image is not quantifiable and therefore when the manufactures employ some control trickery to lower the energy consumption it will probably result in worse PQ for the owners but still follow the regulations.

If they were sensible they should have mandated 80%+ efficient PSUs or proper <1w standby for all devices or more efficient fridges/freezers or air conditioners.

Just not things which are audio visual!

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@Dazed and Confused

The law only applies to new TVs sold in California from 2011. Users won't have to dump old TVs.

I'm surprised by the fact that the "mega screens" were left out, but apparently the logic is that the represent a tiny proportion of the market, and there are jobs at stake - if you buy a 58" screen, you'll be paying someone to install it for you, whereas most 42 screen are "self-installed".

Some would argue that this is an example of excessive regulation, because manufacturers are striving for greater energy efficiency anyway, but it is just an additional driver in a direction that most of us want the industry to go anyway.

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Easy to attain law

...and since it;s only 1 state, getting rid of non-compliant inventory in other states is a non issue.

Half the power savings can be attained simply by making minor tweaks to existing sets.

1) capping max brightness at reasonable levels. Unfortunately for the manufacturers (and fortunately for us) this will limit their ability to lie so much about contracst ratios. I could really care less if black is black, but white is so bright I have to avery my eyes, that's not a contrast ratio that means anything....).

2) ensuring TVs use little to no power when in "idle" or off.

3) remove speakers from the TV. (who uses the built in speakers in 40" LCD's anyway?)

4) LED backlighting

Also, to jRallo, I can't find a link either, but I had read yesterday the law included max output when on and max output when off, so simply dialing back the brightness won't have an effect unless they limit MAX brightness permanantly in the firmware. (and if they go too far, the set will look like ass in stores, and noone will buy it anyway).

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Terminator

@Dazed and Confused

| What is the carbon foot print of everyone having to buy new tellies?

|

| What happens to all the old ones?

Old ones continue to sit on their stands. Nobody is being forced to buy a new set.

The directive (it's not a law, the CEC isn't a legislative body) only applies to new sets.

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Anonymous Coward

Hate this comment requirement thing...

Isn't that why there's a power switch, or at least a button on the surge protector?

And yes, I understand most people don't use them. Just increase the electricity rates and the problem will take care of itself, along with some other ones.

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Anonymous Coward

Awesome

Spending money to create laws to force businesses to do what they're already doing.. and should you purchase some throwback to last year's technology in 2011, no doubt they'll spend extra money on TV Police who will inspect homes for ne'erdowell TV purchasers.

And people wonder why California is in the mess it is today.

A 42" 1080P 60Hz power hungry 60Hz TV cost $3000 less than 2 years ago. Today they cost less than $800 because nearly every one is a discontinued item. By the time this law comes into force, 46" LCD LED TVs will cost about $1000, probably less. About as many manufacturers will be producing energy inefficient LCD TVs by then as are producing the first generation of plasmas now. That means none of them. You might find one on ebay or craigslist, but no one is going to waste the money making them as well as the TVs people actually want.

You see they've noticed that we're all pissed off our sleek, shiny LCD TVs consume more power than the old fashioned tube monsters they replaced. They don't need California to tell them they'd better find something that doesn't double our electricity bill when they bring out the next line of TVs. So while they wait for the utopia of cheap OLED, they're making LCD LED. In other words TVs that consume about 1/3rd less power.

In two years no one is going to spend money on old fashioned technology when they can get a minimum of 240hz 1080P for the same price or less.

And how exactly is California going to police this awesome law? Are they going to spend money on TV Police, who will invade the homes and businesses of ne'erdowell power hungry TV owners? Or will they content themselves on spending 100s of millions on a bureaucracy to force TV manufacturers to do what they're already doing? Politicians are geniuses at figuring out ways to spend money and in process pocket some of it for themselves and their cronies. Californians seem to be geniuses at letting them do it and then refusing to pay the bill.

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Perfectly possible

The manufacturers just have to pull their finger out. My new 37" Samsung (LE37B550) only consumes 50W in use. I was amazed when I swapped out my old 32" Toshiba which consumed 150W.

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@ Dazed and Confused

I expect the legislation affects only new TVs being sold, there'd be no way to enforce it retrospectively.

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Go

@JRallo

How did you measure that? And what make/model of TV is it?

Anyway, the Backlight power use will be a lot smaller when LED-backlit screens become more normal.

@Hermes Conran

You know what? I was about to decry you as a commie but you're right- there's no reason why they shouldn't be able to do that. They could at least include the larger screens in standby power regulations- there's no reason I can think of that a 53" TV with its display off would need more than a pretty much identical 20" TV with its display off.

And digital TV boxes use plenty power as they're always getting EPG updates, program information, etc. That means the radio filtering and signal decoding hardware's still churning away.

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Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Lets see, a telly is on 4 maybe hours/day and in standby 20 hours/day. They're saying it has to use 50 watts less while it's on, saving 200W/h.

Now consider the standby consumption of a telly. And a DVD recorder. And a satellite tuner. And a games console. And a PC. And a Printer. Alarm clock radio. Audio system. Digital radio. Microwave oven. Duplicate systems used even fewer hours/day in bedrooms, guest rooms, etc.

My home power meter shows that standby power consumption is usually over 1 watt and often over 3, per device. Let's say 10W for the telly stack. 10 x 20 hours = 200W/h, again.

This is complete and utter waste. The TV's remote-control does standby for several years on a couple of AAA cells! They should have mandated that no device is allowed to consume more than a milliwatt when in stand-by, and not bothered about what it uses when it's on. Electronically, that would mean disconnecting the PSU completely from from the mains in stand-by, and running micro-power electronics off a rechargeable battery or large capacitor, which would recharge every time "on" was commanded. Easy to do that with an optically-coupled triac.

Once California had forced the manufacturers' hands into producing hardware that can stand-by on microwatts instead of watts, it would not be long befoe that same technology became universal, saving vast amounts more power all over the world. Chaper then to make just the one "greenest" version, rather than continuing to produce a different version to waste more electricity.

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Annual power costs

"So I'm pulling 30W while everything's "turned off", which is a chunk, don't you think?"

My rule of thumb is it costs about $1 a year per watt (assuming the device is on all the time).

Just to double check my math though:

There are roughly 9000 hours in a year (8766), times 30 watts is 270 kilowatt-hours.

Not sure what your electricity costs are, but mine are about $0.10 per KWH, for $27 a year in 'standby costs'.

So, for a quick assessment, a buck per year per watt.

Rather amazing it costs less for me to buy a 1TB drive than it does to run the NAS it's in!

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Silver badge

Er,

I work for a company that makes power stations.

I can't with any good conscience encourage this newfangled trend of using less power.

Next thing you know, they'll be telling us we can't leave our lights on overnight.

Shocking I tell you, shocking...

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Grenade

Get out!

How about the government gets the heck out of my living room! It is none of their darn business what TV I watch. If I want to pay for the electricity to run it, that is my choice.

Maybe I'll dig up a 1960's Zenith tube television and see how much power that uses.

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FAIL

great HDTV power-saving idea

Just turn the goddamn' thing off and unplug it. Take a walk. Go to a museum. Read a book.

Nancy Grace, Oprah and Project Runway in wide-aspect high-def are still crap.

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Bronze badge

@Dazed and confused: what happens to the old tellies?

Erm, nothing. They don't suddenly stop working, and people don't suddenly have to replace them.

Looks like you're living up to your name this afternoon. :-)

AC: I wouldn't trust your power meter. If it's an ordinary Freeview set-top box, I doubt it would draw 20W, ever. And 35W is suspiciously low for a desktop PC. It probably isn't a true RMS meter.

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Joke

Round screens save energy

You're not watching the stuff in the corners anyway.

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Silver badge

Comparing a truck load of apples to a dripping orange juice tap

"... the move will have saved sufficient energy by 2021 to power 864,000 single-family homes."

How long must an orange juice tap be left dripping until it leaks the same amount of juice as a truck load of apples? Exactly how many Joules of energy do they expect to save? How much power in Watts (=Joules/second) does a single family home use? For how many seconds will the energy saved by 2021 power 864000 homes?

Sounds like usual the piss and wind turbine figures used to justify subsidising wind farms. If everybody saves a little energy the result will be a small reduction in energy use. If you are going to do something meaningful about CO2 then everyone will have to do a lot. That means focusing on the biggest uses energy. For California that is probably transport, air conditioning and water. Watching half a television instead of one only sounds useful if you use a bogus energy / power comparison.

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100 Watts?

Are those manufacturers insane? I mean for years the average japaneese LCD-TV took less than 10 watts while fully operating. Some even took less than a single watt. How come they now need so much more?

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Happy

@ Marty McFly

Maybe I'll dig up a 1960's Zenith tube television and see how much power that uses.

Maybe you will

Maybe you'll be very surprised at how little electricity it takes when on and the fact it takes no electricity when off (with a proper off switch).

Just a thought.

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@Nigel11: standby vs off

"The TV's remote-control does standby for several years on a couple of AAA cells!"

No, the TV's remote control does OFF for several years on a couple of AAA cells. It needs to consume no power at all to be able to detect you pressing a button - closing a switch. It's the equivalent of turning a TV off with its proper mains switch (if is has one).

Christian Berger: I don't know where your mythical 1W TV came from - there's no such thing, and I've never heard of an LCD TV taking only 10W either. And remember that screen area is proportional to the square of the diagonal measurement (for the same aspect ratio), so a 32" TV will have four times the screen area (requiring four times the power to light it up) than a 16" one.

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FAIL

@ handle

The control buttons do not power the remote on and off. Remotes use switch matrices, which must be scanned, and are scanned, several times per second, for years, on a single pair of AAA cells. This takes a certain amount of power.

Odd to comment on this since your knowledge of electronics must be about zero for you to think that.

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Grenade

@Michael C

"3) remove speakers from the TV. (who uses the built in speakers in 40" LCD's anyway?)"

I do and on a 42" at that. I also check the quality of such in the shop and crappy internal speakers are a deal breaker. I'll fire up the surround system for films and anything important, but for just watching ordinary telly (most of which is stero only anyway) it's too intrusive into family life and unnecessary.

Likewise, the thought of Cartoon Network going in the background in several hundred watts of crystal clear 5.1 makes me shudder.

Finally, given my habit of watching things late at night, the neighbours would have put both barrels of a 12-gauge through my KEF subwoofer by now.......

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Bronze badge
Happy

AC: Nope, you've FAILED this time I'm afraid!

Yes, control buttons on remote controls are in a matrix which must be scanned. HOWEVER, while the device is waiting for ANY button to be pressed, NO scanning is needed - you simply apply a DC signal to all the lines on one side of the matrix, and look for a signal on all the lines on the other side. Once you've detected that a button has been pressed, you THEN start up the clock and scan, to find out which button(s) are involved.

Now, how would YOU rate YOUR knowledge of electronics after that? Hmm - slightly above zero I think, but a classic case of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing.

You'd better make sure you're correct before using the "FAIL" icon or... you'd better remain anonymous for fear of being made to look a right plonker!

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What we really need..

Is a remote control that can pull plugs out of sockets.. problem sorted.

I do love the round TV idea though, because he's right.

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