SID 2008: Display Industry Tackles Energy Use

According to Paul Drzaic, President of the Society for Information Display (SID), consumers worldwide use tens of terrawatt hours of electricity each year, just to watch television (citing information from the Consumer Electronics Association in a free report). That’s an enormous number, and if we can get each set to save only a little more energy, a tiny percentage drop in the usage will result in a measurable decrease in energy consumption.

The display industry is responding to the call for conservation and better power efficiencies, and is showing off some technological advances at the SID 2008 conference in L.A. this week. For example, LCD HDTVs require very bright backlights to create an image. Many backlights lose as much as half the light that shines into the back of the panel, rather than through the LCD layer. DuPont has developed a backlight design that reflects as much as 98% of the light through the LCD layer, almost doubling the efficiency. This means that the backlight can use one half to one third the number of fluorescent light tubes behind the panel, saving cost and reducing energy.

Many companies were also showing panels that use dynamic backlight dimming. This refers to designs that will lower the light output of portions of the backlight in response to the content of the image on the screen. Not only can this increase contrast, it also can also reduce the power needed to display typical television and movie content. Chi Mei Optics and LG Electronics were among the companies demonstrating this approach. The result is a savings of as much as 50% of the electricity used.

How are you to know if your LCD TV will save energy? The LCD TV Association hopes to have the answer, with their “Green TV” initiative. This is a program that will put the “Green TV” logo on qualifying LCD HDTVs, which are designed to reduce power consumption. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is also planning to release their new, more stringent Energy Star program for flat panel TVs by then end of 2008. You can read more about it here.