Back in January, I singled out “green” issues as one of the key themes of the CES 2008 conference. I was focused on the environmental issues — power consumption, hazardous materials, manufacturing pollution — but the power consumption issue seems to have taken the spotlight as consumers are also more conscious about saving “green” on their utility bills.
So when the new Energy Star 3.0 standards took hold on Saturday, it should come as no surprise that HDTV manufacturers would jump on the opportunity to promote their energy-miserly products. One of the first is Vizio, which issued a release yesterday stating that “all of their LCD HDTV models that are shipping now to U.S. and Canadian retailers meet or exceed Energy Star 3.0 requirements. ” The company also launched “EchoHD”, a 32″ LCD HDTV that reportedly uses 44% less electricity than a typical 32″ competing set.
Note that the actual dollar savings on electricity for an energy efficient LCD HDTV may take a while to pay for a new set. An Energy Star 3.0 32″ set cannot draw more than 120 watts. If you’re replacing a set that draws twice as much power, the difference is only 120 watts, or the equivalent of two 60 watt light bulbs. If you watch TV for four hours every night, the efficient set will save you about a nickel on each month’s utility bill. I’m not saying that all those nickels don’t add up nationwide — helping the environment and lowering our energy dependence — but the fiscal impact for the individual consumer is rather small.
One other point worth noting is what is not said in the Vizio announcement. They say that all their LCD HDTVs comply with the Energy Star 3.0 requirements, but do not mention their plasma products.