Published On: January 4, 2009

California Reportedly Set To Regulate Power Usage of Flat HDTVs

Published On: January 4, 2009

California Reportedly Set To Regulate Power Usage of Flat HDTVs

California has decided that Energy Star certification isn't enough to regulate power consumption for televisions, so the state plans to outlaw television sets that consume more than a state set limit.

Plasma_ACPower.gifRemember back in the 1980s, when you were watching The Price is Right with Bob Barker and they finally got around to giving away a car that had "California Emissions" as one of the line-listed features? Living in Pennsylvania, I basically had no idea what they were talking about, but it sure sounded cool. Later, ironically when living directly next to CBS Television City where The Price is Right is filmed, I learned that, while California had basically no mass transit and a pretty poor environmental track record, they did have some pretty stringent laws that attempted to protect the environment in ways that were years ahead of the rest of the country. Today, when anything "green" means people are actually willing to part with their hard-earned green cash, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that the State of California is very likely to sign new legislation in 2009 that will limit the amount of power an HDTV can consume if it is sold in the state.

The subject of HDTV power consumption has recently become a hot topic in the world of consumer electronics, as plasma and many LCD designs in the early going, while bright, beaming and beautiful with their 1080i and 1080p pictures, were - how do I say this politely - power hogs. With the power grid of California old and underpowered, the state is looking at every way this side of going back to Enron for more power, which means potentially limiting the draw your HDTV has from the wall.

JVC announced last month that they had met the new national ENERGY STAR 3.0 efficiency rating. The industry group representing the plasma makers quickly responded with a list of their HDTVs that also met the new stringent standard. There is no word as to what the California standard would be, but it is unlikely that it would be tougher than the ENERGY STAR standard. However, anything is possible in this power-conscious world that we live (and vote) in.

What is not certain is the question of HDTV sets that are bought outside of the state. If an online retailer such as, say, Amazon.com sends you a more power-hungry HDTV from a Midwestern distribution hub, will you be fined as a consumer? Or will California's standard force the likes of Sony, Samsung, Pioneer, Sharp, Panasonic, Hitachi, Toshiba and Vizio, as well as many others, to find ways to make their televisions use less power? Home theater enthusiasts worry that there is a possibility that, by making sets more and more power-anorexic, the HDTV sets could suffer in terms of performance.

Time will tell if the bill passes, but voting against anything "green" these days, especially here in California, is tantamount to political suicide, so expect the state to pass a bill on this matter sometime soon in 2009.

Source: The Los Angeles Times

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