Modern flat-panel TVs- especially Energy Star certified models- are far more energy-efficient than the CRT TVs that came before them, but they can still leave a mark on your power bill, depending on the model. If you find yourself asking “how much power does a TV use,” it’s fairly easy to find the information and keep tabs on how it’s affecting your utilities. Knowing the energy footprint your highly-acclaimed TV leaves can help save you money, as well as keep track of how much TV your household is consuming on a month-to-month basis.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • LED TVs are the most energy-efficient while Plasma TVs use more than twice the energy over the same viewing period.
  • A TV’s Standby mode typically only uses around 2.25-5% of the power it uses when powered on.
  • Upgrading to an LED or LCD TV can reduce the yearly cost of your TV’s power consumption by more than 50%.

Viewing Habits and Yearly Expenses

According to various studies, the average American watches about 4 hours of TV a day. Over the course of a year, that’s two months of TV. While the energy consumption of small sets may not be all that significant, any household with an HDTV that has a screen larger than 40″ is using around 340 kilowatts of power yearly at a cost of more than $40.

While that still might not seem like much in terms of energy costs, there’s a good chance you’re using significantly more than that, and even $40 a year breaks down to a disproportionate percentage of your monthly power bill for a non-essential utility.

If you’ve got an LCD TV, the numbers are significantly lower- for the same four hours of viewing a day, a 42″-50″ LCD TV uses around 150 watts of power, which translates to only about $25 a year of electricity costs on your power bill. If you’re looking to cut power costs and lower your carbon footprint, upgrading to an LCD TV can halve your TV’s power bill and significantly lower that footprint. LED TVs fair even better than LCD models, using about 2/3rds of the wattage for the same amount of hours, making them the best modern choice for energy efficiency. Additionally, many LED and LCD are Energy Star certified, meaning they’re recognized officially as eco-friendly, efficient electronic products. You are bound to use more power if you use the internet on your TV and are always wondering how do I connect my tv to wifi.

Plasma TV Energy Use

While LCD and LED TVs are both far more energy-efficient than standard HDTVs and old CRTs, Plasma TVs, which offer next-generation performance and image quality, is another story. The energy footprint of a Plasma model with a 40″ or larger screen size is actually much closer to that of CRTs and HDTVs, making it a comparatively poor choice for cutting power costs and being more eco-friendly in your technology choices. Fewer Plasma models are Energy Star certified.

Plasma TVs offer better contrast and theoretically richer images than LCDs or LEDs, but they use about twice as much power- a year of average use for a Plasma TV will put $80 on your power bill, based on hours per week of use.

For direct comparison, here’s how the wattage use breaks down for a 42″ LCD, Plasma, and LED TV respectively:

  • 42″ LED TV= 80 watts
  • 42″ LCD TV= 120 watts
  • 42″ Plasma TV= 220 watts

With this knowledge, you can make a more informed decision about what kind of TV is right for you depending on whether you prioritize maximum performance and image quality (Plasma), maximum energy savings (LED), or a good balance between the two (LCD). It is quite important when you are figuring out how much you should expect to spend on a tv.

F.A.Q.S

What factors affect TV energy usage?

While factors such as audio volume have a minuscule effect on energy usage, other factors contribute a great deal- notably, screen brightness, and possibly more than any other factor, the resolution and refresh rate of the TV- Ultra HD TVs running 8K and 4K resolutions, for example, use somewhat significantly more energy than 1080p models of the same size.


How much power does a TV on standby use?

While it varies somewhat depending on model, type, and size, a TV in standby mode on average uses about 0.02C per hour, which is far less than most household appliances in standby mode.


What type of TV is the cheapest to run?

LED TVs are the most energy-efficient type of modern TV and thus have the lowest impact on your power bill, while Plasma TVs are the least energy-efficient, using more than twice the wattage of LED models.



STAT: In 2009, the California Energy Commission required all manufacturers to design TVs that used 49% less power by 2013- also meaning many more received Energy Star certification. (source)

STAT: Energy Star certified TVs have been shown to use an average of 25% less electricity (source)

STAT: Standby mode in TVs generally uses 2.25% to 5% of the power used when a TV is being used (source)

Jed Smith

I'm a musician and recording engineer and live in Queens. I have a cat. Her name is Elsa. I love to write about consumer tech and musical instruments.

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