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TV Energy Saving Tips

Even after you've bought a TV, you can still make a difference in your energy consumption.  Here is a short list of TV Energy Saving Tips that anybody can use to make their home theater more energy efficient.

Turn the TV off when nobody is watching it.  Sure, this one's obvious, but it's easy to get into the habit of leaving the TV on as "background" when you're not really watching it. And while TVs consume power in standby mode, it's a tiny fraction of what they draw when they're actually on.

Be careful to power down other connected devices, too, like game consoles and DVD players--which are easy to leave on accidentally even after you turn the TV itself off. A good universal remote that can "power down" the whole system by pushing a single button can easily pay for itself in a very short time.

Many TVs these days come with a power saver mode that's designed to cut down the power consumption. Performance of this mode varies from model to model, with the effect sometimes being drastic and other times providing only a slight savings. The only downside is that the power saver mode usually makes the TV less bright, but viewers found that sometimes this has a beneficial effect on the image quality, especially with the room lights turned off, in which case it's a win-win situation.

Many people buy a TV, turn it on, and never think to change the picture settings. Not only is that bad for the picture quality, it's bad for power consumption. Most TVs are very bright by default, and that leads to using more juice. One of the first things a professional calibrator will usually do is turn down the light output--which is traditionally controlled primarily by "contrast" or "picture" controls--along with several other adjustments that will maximize the performance of your TV.

Many of these tips are going to make the TV less bright, but that can be compensated by controlling the light in your room. While this may be a little overboard just for power consumption, limiting the light in your home theater also goes a long way toward creating the "theater" experience, as well as getting the most out of your TV.

If you're looking to buy a new TV, you can limit your power consumption by buying a smaller set. This doesn't always exactly hold--for example, rear-projection sets are often larger and draw less power than plasma TVs--but once you pick your display technology, going smaller will almost always use less juice. As always, you can compensate for smaller screen size, to a point, by sitting closer to the screen.  The general guideline is to measure the width of the screen and sit 3 times as far away.  Therefore, if you have a 52” screen, place your seating 156” (13 feet) away from the screen.

Some HDTVs and some other Audio Visual gear have an option called Quick Start or something similar, which allows them to turn on more quickly when you press the power button. The flipside of this mode is that when engaged, it typically consumes more power (sometimes up to 50 times as much) during standby, which can really add up. Do yourself a favor and turn this mode off. That few extra seconds' wait for the TV to warm up is well worth it.

Many LCDs give you the ability to control the intensity of the backlight in the TV. By turning down the backlight, you'll lower power consumption, but also make the TV less bright. While retail stores love to turn the backlights up all the way for their displays, experts find that they get the best image quality when they turn down the backlight significantly.

Having multiple TVs in a house is more of a norm than a luxury these days, but that also means your power consumption is going to increase as well. You can cut that power consumption by watching TV with your family. You might need to make a few compromises on what you watch, but sometimes it's more fun to watch with friends and family.

Instead of sitting down for another dose of reality TV, you could opt for reality instead. Not only might you get some exerciseFind Article, but you'll be cutting your energy bill.

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Charles Gueli invites you to ask questions about TV energy saving tips, and take advantage of the resources on , where guidance, information and support are always available.


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