The bottom line: As you search for the best TV for you, there is little need to consider energy savings.
Here are six quick tips to save energy when looking for a new TV:
1. Size matters.. but not that much. Until very recently, a larger screen size meant a higher electricity bill, but that’s no longer true. So get that larger screen! As one expert noted, “The new screens are amazing, and the most common regret people have after a purchase is that they didn’t buy the bigger screen.”
2. Plasma TVs: Too much energy. Plasma TVs are being phased out by most manufacturers, as consumers have avoided their high energy cost and shorter life spans. But, steeply discounted plasma TVs are still on the market. Avoid them. You may pay less up front, but their higher energy costs will eat up the savings.
3. OLED and 4K TVs: Too new for an energy rating. The latest in lighting technology is Organic LED, or OLED. These TVs are just hitting the market. Another innovation is 4K screens, which have four times the screen density of regular high definition TV. We suggest waiting a year or two before buying these new models, as they cost more than $3,000, and have an unknown level of energy use.
4. Front projector TVs: Watch the energy cost. Many homes have front projector TVs, and they are much loved in the family media or living room. Their energy costs are $50 per year higher than standard flat screen TVs.
5. Look for EnergyGuide, not ENERGY STAR. Every TV is required to have a yellow EnergyGuide tag, which shows annual energy costs. We reviewed 45 best selling TVs and found less than $9 average annual savings with an ENERGY STAR certified product. Frankly, there are a lot of good TVs out there, with or without the ENERGY STAR label.
6. To save the most money, look for best-selling brands and low prices. As we put together this shopping guide, we noticed that the best selling brands (LG, Samsung, and Vizio) often had the optimal combination of low prices and low energy use. Lesser known brands had high energy use or no energy data, and were not always cheaper. See our Product Guide for details.