If adopted, the regulations will require televisions sold in California to be more energy efficient beginning in 2011. The requirement would be tougher in 2013, with only one-quarter of the TVs on the market currently meeting that standard.LED televisions utilize even less electricity, but are still several hundred dollars more expensive than LCD or plasma televisions of the same size. The market is already moving towards LED televisions precisely because of the qualities LED offer over LCD or plasma (power usage and picture quality) and it is only a matter of time before the market decides the issue.
Energy commissioners say TVs account for about 10 percent of a home's electricity use. The concern is that the energy draw will rise by as much as 8 percent a year as consumers buy larger televisions, add more to their homes and watch them longer.
Some manufacturers say implementing a power standard will cripple innovation, limit consumer choice and harm California retailers because consumers could simply buy TVs out of state or order them online.
The standards would apply to all TVs up to 58 inches, allowing increasing power use for larger TVs.
For example, all new 42-inch television sets must use less than 183 watts by 2011 and less than 116 watts by 2013. That's considerably more efficient than flat-screen TVs placed on the market in recent years.
A 42-inch Hitachi plasma TV sold in 2007 uses 313 watts while a 42-inch Sharp Liquid-crystal display, or LCD, TV draws 232 watts, according to Energy Commission research. LCDs now account for about 90 percent of the 4 million TVs sold in California annually.
In fact, it appears that LED technologies could cut power usage by 50% for the same size product. Samsung is already offering LED televisions that are Energy Star v.3.0 compliant, cutting power use by 40% over LCD televisions of the same size. As the cost drops on the LED televisions, the market penetration of these televisions will increase, that is until future technologies become available and render the LED systems obsolete.
Here we have the government once again trying to dictate winners and losers in a marketplace that is constantly changing and evolving for the better.