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California Proposes Ban on Power Hungry TVs

We often wonder why plasma TV technology is taking such a seemingly quick exit from the industry. Perhaps it’s because of the green movement?

Pioneer announced earlier this year that it would be ditching the HDTV market altogether, which sadly means no more beautiful Kuro displays. Vizio won’t be releasing anymore plasma TVs either, choosing to go strictly LCD from here on.

Could this be a case of superior technology winning out? Home theater nuts could argue back and forth between LCD and plasma nearly as bad as computer users go at Mac vs. PC; but for those who live for everything green, perhaps LCD is the better technology.

The California Energy Commission will this summer propose a ban on selling televisions that don’t meet specific energy standards, reported Wired. The proposal has two tiers, with one coming into place 2011, and the next phase in 2013.

Televisions will have to fit under a specific power formula. Sets sold starting 2011 would have to have a power usage under (0.156 * screen area (in2) + 80) Watts. Sets sold starting 2013 would have to be even more efficient, down to (0.12 * screen area (in2) + 25) Watts.

The first phase in 2011 would save an estimated 3,831 gigawatt hours, bringing down TV energy consumption by 33 percent. The 2013 guideline would bring it down by 49 percent.

The proposal is being met with some resistance, particularly from those behind the Energy Star program, who feel that they’ve been doing all they need to in regulating efficiency. Makers of large CRTs (they still have those?) and plasmas are also displeased by the plan, but LCD sellers such as Vizio are actually in support of it.

Mind you, this is just a proposal that could still change, or be shut down altogether. But with TVs getting more efficient, and new technologies such as laser TV and perhaps even OLED, the guidelines by 2011 could seem like a walk in the park. Wouldn’t that be nice? … Unless you’re still clutching onto that plasma TV faith.

Marcus Yam is a technology evangelist for Intel Corporation, having previously been an executive editor for Tom's Guide and Tom's Hardware.

  • KyleSTL
    For those curious:

    Size Watts (2011) Watts (2013)
    32 148 78
    42 198 115
    50 247 153
    65 362 242

    Seems like pretty strict guidelines only very efficient current LCDs can meet.
  • Green is the new red, communism is alive once again.
  • rooket
    I wonder how much power my DLP takes, never really thought about it.
  • Square_Head
    LOL, I'm going to have to steal that line. Green IS the new Red. It just further builds my rage against California. I love my 100W light bulbs and my Plasma TV. I drive a truck that gets 15mpg and I eat trans fat. Suck on that liberals
  • lukeiamyourfather
    Who gives a crap about the the wattage a television uses. Maybe they should be more concerned with incandescent bulbs and the quality of insulation going into new homes since that would actually make a difference in power consumption for real people. That's my two cents.
  • A Stoner
    If you need more evidence than this to show you that the "greatest scam in history" is nothing more than a power grab by green activists and politicians, then I am not sure you can be convinced.

    CO2 has been in our atmosphere long before life on this planet ever got started. Every living green plant on this planet is fine tuned to operate at maximum eficiency when CO2 in the atmosphere is around 1500 ppm, hence the reason greenhouse operators feed CO2 into their greenhouses, not to keep them warmer, which is caused by the fact that heat cannot move up out of the greenhouse due to a physical barrier.

    Over the history of our fine planet, the last 3 million years has had the lowest, by a factor of 3 to 5, CO2 content in the atmosphere than any other time that scientists can determine. Death and ruin are not what happens when CO2 is higher than it is today, but death and destruction are what happens when it is lower than today. Fully 50% of the increased food production on our planet is a direct result of higher CO2 in the atmosphere, and at a certain point, I think around 130PPM if I remember correctly, plants can no longer survive, and that means we cannot survive. CO2 is non toxic to human and animal species up to 50,000 PPM.

    If we, as humans, want a better environment to leave our children, what we should be doing is everything possible to create more and more CO2 and releasing it into our atmosphere. We should be turning large amounts of rock into concrete, burning up the sequestered carbon in our coal feilds, and reinvigorating our atmosphere to the levels of 3 million to 200 million years ago. Instead we are working hard at figuring out the most cost effective plan to sequester even more of this life giving nutrient.

    The sad fact though, is that no matter how much CO2 we ever figure out to sequester, the oceans will return to the air. The ocean keeps an equilibrium of CO2. For every CO2 molecule in the atmosphere, there is a huge multiple stored in the ocean, and like fizz in a soda, it will put that CO2 back into the air. So for every PPM we want to reduce CO2 from the air, we need to take out about 50-100 PPM.

    Yesterday they stole your right to a safe and usefull car by demanding that fuel economy goes up to a point where building a car large enough to hold you and your family along with groceries or the family vacation luggage is impposible. This is an ongoing effort, and trust me when I say you should look at the car that was recently released in India if you want to know what a car of the future will look like. Tiny, plastic, no power. Gets great fuel economy, 42MPG, but it lacks in space, safety and comfort.

    30 years ago, they stole your right to cheap electricity when they stopped all new nuclear power generation plants in the USA. Nuclear geneartion plants are the second least costly energy resource we have, after hydro-electric dams, which have also been stopped.

    Today, they are stealing your right to market driven priced fuel for both your car and to heat your home, by unduly harsh environmental policies, including a new ban on offshore drilling, bans on drilling in ANWR and other places where we know we can get cost effective energy. The inability of power companies to build new coal fired power generation plants. Gasoline prices have come down recently, but a large part of that is the economic collapse which has cut back on energy demands by companies that are not producing as much as they could be. If you want to see what life is like when you cut back on energy use, look no further than any recession or depression from history.

    Tomorrow they are planning to take away your light bulbs, TVs, cosmetics, and anything else you, as a voter, allow them to. until one day, you find yourself nothing more than a slave to government, instead of the Government being Of the People, By the People, and For the People.

    Spread the wealth, controll the means of production, and set class against class, race against race, and gender against gender. While everyone is angry at everyone else, the government gets to continue stealing your rights one at a time, all in the name of fairness, equality and other things that sound great, until you see the results.

    The big bailout, a perfect storm to set the public anger at wall street. Everyone hates the AIG people, so it is ok to take the rights away from them. (The truth is that AIG got suckered into the position it was in by Fannie mae and Freddie Mac, by our government in other words, along with greed of course, but I see greed in shades of gray.) Tomorrow, maybe it will be the company you work for on the hated list, and your rights will be taken away. But is is OK, cause it is for the greater good that the government takes these rights away from you. Just like it is for the greater good you will not be allowed to own a TV of your chosing.
  • eddieroolz
    lukeiamyourfatherWho gives a crap about the the wattage a television uses. Maybe they should be more concerned with incandescent bulbs and the quality of insulation going into new homes since that would actually make a difference in power consumption for real people. That's my two cents.
    That works too, or maybe they need to focus on environmentally friendly energy generation like what we have in BC, hydro dams.

    California green movement is focusing on the wrong parts, and not the source of the problem.
  • grieve
    I am sure I’ll get flamed…But here goes.

    I like what California’s legislation is attempting to do, sure lower wattage TV’s is not the answer to the world’s energy/Carbon footprint problems but at least there trying to make improvements.

    California is leading USA to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions…. We need the entire earth to follow suit!

    I think Nuclear power plants are far more important than lowering TV wattage… And the Governator is pushing for this as well. Schwarzenegger also has a pretty aggressive plan for car emissions.

  • tenor77
    Krish4479Green is the new red, communism is alive once again.
    In California, car drives you!
  • grieve
    I am far from a Green activist; In fact I don’t take power into consideration when buying anything…My PC has a 1000W power supply.

    You would have to be a fool to not relies that lower wattage bulbs, lower wattage TV’s, lower wattage computers, Lower wattage everything is better, they ALL help!! USA is the World’s top energy user, baby steps are better than NO steps. Most people don’t even recycle cans/bottles/Cardboard…

    I’m not knocking USA, I just think it is time for everyone to open their eyes and relies WE are the fucking problem because we don’t care…

    Here is a nice graph (don’t know how legit or accurate this is), you can Google “worst energy consuming country” and many similar graphs… USA is #1 on all of them, regardless of the actual #’s.

    If California can pass something like this, Awesome!