February 15, 2012

LED Killed the Plasma Screen Star - 2/15/2012

For 2012 I'm writing this blog to document things our family has done to be more Earth-friendly. I started the year late and was trying to play catch-up to get current by the end of February but Amelia (my wife) mentioned that it was kind of dumb and confusing to have two different dates on each post.  So, starting today I'm posting with the same date and will fill in the skipped days over the rest of the year to ensure I have 365 in total for 2012.


We moved to San Diego from Chicago in the fall of 2009 (props to Lucas Thayer and Kevin Koehler for help with the long-haul move).  Due to the distance, and our meager worldly possessions at the time, we made a number of purchases upon our arrival in America's Finest City including a new TV.  At the time, and to this date, I don't know much about televisions but have learned that the different types of televisions use very different amounts of power.  I learned that in regard to electricity usage with my choice of a plasma TV (42") I had chosen . . . poorly.


As you're probably aware, assuming you reside in the U.S. flat screen TVs have become very popular over the last few years.  There are primarily 3 types of televisions screens for these devices: Plasma, LCD, and LED.

As noted in this 2010 article from CNET, plasma TVs use the most power of this group of three, followed by traditional LCD and then LED (technically a subset of LCD but different enough that I'll treat as a separate category).  For a full description of how the different types of TV work check the the ever helpful Lifehacker.

The total bill for a 300 watt plasma TV with an average of 5 hours of use a day and a price of 15 cents per kilowatt hour would total about $82 a year.  (300 watts x 5 hours use x 366 days in a leap year / 1000 to convert to kwh x .15 dollars per kwh)  This is not a huge amount, but if you have more than 1 TV in your home or use your TV more than 5 hours a day it can quickly increase.  LCD and LED TVs use approximately 1/3 to 2/3 less energy than a plasma TV according to both the above CNET article and this International Business Times article.  The latter article also notes that in Australia TVs are now the 4th largest user of electricity in a home.

Given the above I wish I would have purchased an LCD or LED TV instead of a plasma TV and wanted to share this information in case anyone else is considering a purchase of a new TV.  I'm in the market for a 2nd computer monitor since I'm now working at home and I definitely plan to purchase an LED.  Additionally, because they use less power, LEDs are cooler which can matter when you're at a desk.  Unless you happen to be in Alaska for a few months and need to cuddle your monitor.

Suggested action steps:

1) If in the market for a new TV or monitor consider purchasing an LED which has the lowest energy usage and energy cost
2) Hook up your laptop to the TV and check out the totally awesome Kenna Hell Bent video

Please let me know if you have any comments, compliments, criticisms, or questions regarding this post or have suggestions for future posts. If you'd like to receive future posts via email, enter your email address in the box at the top right labelled "Follow by Email".

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