photo by dno1967
Is it time to buy a new television set? Because of the low prices and the DTV transition that happens in February, many people are out buying new sets. But you aren’t only concerned about price, right? You are also concerned about how much energy the new flat-screens TV’s use, and rightly so; there is a big difference between LCD and Plasma technologies. Let’s take a look…
LCD’s (which stands for Liquid Crystal Display), have a white light behind the glass, and when this light hits each pixel of the liquid crystals, the electric current decides what color will show up on the screen. They are generally lighter and thinner than plasma TV’s.
Plasma TV’s use thousands of sealed, low pressure glass chambers filled with a mixture of neon and xenon. Behind these chambers are colored phosphors, one red, one blue, and one green for each chamber. When energized, these chambers of “plasma” emit invisible UV light. The UV light strikes the red, green and blue phosphors on the back glass of the display making them produce visible light. Plasma’s tend to be heavier and thicker than LCD’s, but they also handle dark colors better and have faster refresh rates.
So what about energy efficiency? Well, LCD’s use between 2-4 times less energy than plasma TV’s do, depending on who you ask. They both use way less energy than the “regular” kind of tube TV (CRT) that most of us had (and still have) in our homes, but the LCD definitely comes out the winner on energy efficiency. LCD’s use florescent backlighting to display the images, which is a definite energy saver over plasma technology. Many of these TV’s are also Energy Star rated, but keep in mind that getting that rating on a TV is only a measurement of how much energy the TV uses while in standby mode and not while it is in full operation. And if you are like me, you will have it plugged into a power strip and cutting all the power anyway when you aren’t using it. For pure energy and cost savings while watching TV, buying an LCD is definitely the way to go. But once you bring it home, what should you do with your old TV set?
If it does not work anymore, do not just toss it in the trash (In many communities this is actually against the law due to the amount of chemicals in them). Check out Earth 911 or the EPA’s site to find a recycling center close to you that can handle this kind of e-waste.