Hardware Steven Kippel on 15 Jul 2009
California proposes strict energy usage limits on televisions
The California Energy Commission has proposed an arbitrary limit on television electricity usage. The limits would come in two stages, in 2011 and in 2013 bringing power usage down to 0.20 watts per square inch and 0.12 watts per square inch respectively. This would effectively ban plasma televisions, most rear-projection televisions, and some LCD displays.
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) recently released a report conducted in conjunction with Resolution Economics which showed the proposal would cost $50-million to California in state tax revenue loss, and 4,600 in lost jobs tied to TV sales.
If you’re not in California you should also be concerned. The Republic of California is the largest economy in the country, and sixth in the world. Most auto manufacturers in the USA build their cars to meet California’s stricter emission standards as a result, even though most states require much less. This could affect the future of home entertainment for the entire world.
Under this proposal, 83 percent of LCD televisions measuring 24-34 inches would be banned under the 2013 limitations, even though they currently meet or exceed Energy Star specifications. 80 percent of 35-39 inch LCDs, and 100 percent of plasma TVs over 60 inches would be banned under the 2011 limits.
The television industry has been working to increase energy efficiency without the pressure of government limitations, and without threats of limitations, bringing plasma televisions down considerably in just the last two years. It is possible the engineers at these firms would be able to make these goals in time, but there would more than likely be sacrifices in image quality to make it happen.
Clearly energy consumption needs to be curtailed, and televisions are estimated to use 10% of California’s energy usage, but I think the legislators need to work with the companies to develop plans that aren’t arbitrarily assigned.