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Televisions: Buyer’s Guide

Buyer's Guide

Look for the Logo: ENERGY STAR®

ENERGY STAR® is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. The program sets minimum efficiency standards for appliances and building products and recognizes and labels the top performing models on the market. The standards are more rigorous than federal standards, and vary by product category. A list of qualified televisions can be found online at energystar.gov.

Best Picture: Go LCD

LCD technology is more efficient than plasma technology. LCDs are capable of using only a fraction of the energy plasma screens use.1

Features to Look for:

Energy Management Settings: Find models with automatic adjustments for efficiency and image quality. The most efficient TVs are LED LCDs that let you adjust the backlight up or down during bright and dark scenes. Also look for models that have manual backlight adjustments, since the default settings typically tend to be too bright on most TV models.

LEDs: Look for models that use LEDs as the light source.

Energy Save Mode: Get a model with an energy saver mode, and remember to manually set this mode when you get your TV home!

Picture Off Setting: If you are just listening to the TV audio or cable radio, this setting will help to save power.

Timers: Program your TV to automatically turn off at a certain time, or after a specified period of inactivity. This can also include a “presence sensor” to turn the picture or TV off if no one is in the room.

Smaller Screen: According to CNET’s website, a 32-inch LCD uses only about half the energy a 52-inch LCD uses.

Use & Care

Proper maintenance and use of your home’s television will maximize efficiency measures. Learn more about Television Use & Care, where to start, and how to care for and operate TVs for the most savings.


If you’re thinking about making efficiency improvements, the Televisions Overview is a great place to get acquainted with the basics and your options, before you buy a new TV for your home. Return to Office & Home Electronics .

1Katzmaier, D. & Maskovciak, M. (2010). CNET Energy Efficiency Guide: The Basics of TV Power. Retrieved October 4, 2012, from http://reviews.cnet.com/green-tech/tv-power-efficiency/?tag=greenGuideBodyColumn.0

This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by Southern California Edison under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

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