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Does Power Consumption Influence Which TV You Buy?

Yesterday, Tom Norton posted a blog about how much power is consumed by plasmas and LED LCD TVs, and the difference is staggering. With TVs of similar size, the plasmas he measured consumed more power on average than the LED LCDs by roughly a factor of 5!

In general, plasmas carry a lower price tag than LED LCDs of comparable size. But if plasmas consume five times as much power, they cost five times as much to operate, so those initial savings can easily be wiped out and then some over years of use. Then there's the whole "green" argument, which I won't get into here.

Is power consumption of concern to you? Does it factor into your TV buying decision?

Vote to see the results and leave a comment about your choice.

Does Power Consumption Influence Which TV You Buy?

David Vaughn's picture
Considering the low annual cost of even the most power-guzzling TV, it wouldn't influence my decision one bit. I have a power-hungry plasma and projector that both get a lot of use.
mweston's picture

You think I am gointo worry about plasma power consumption when I am running a 1200 watt front channel amplifier, a 500 watt center amplifier, two 400 watt subwoofer amplifiers, and two 300 watt a channel amplifiers for surround and rear channel speakers. I also want to bi-amp the front channels with an additional 1,000 watts. It sounds magnificent as it is, but can be better with the additional power.

notabadname's picture

I will probably go the local-dimming LED route via an Elite. But the low power consumption would take decades of use to balance the higher price of the TV over a plasma model. So it seems like a silly factor to consider in the actual purchase decision if you are an avid reader of this site, and serious about quality and performance.

I would bet many of us spend $50 to $100 per month on $4 coffee drinks. So saving about $35 per year, or $3 per month, by using LED over plasma seems laughable to me. If the dollars are that tight in your budget, you probably aren't looking at getting a new 60 incher for the home theater.

Canada's picture

Power consumption is the last thing I think of. I am more concerned with picture quality, and if that comes in an inefficient plasma so be it.

enfant_teribl's picture

But a TV won't make any impact compared the the energy comsumption of everything else.

MatthewWeflen's picture

It's not my first concern (PQ and features are), but I do think about it.

I just don't get when people say things like "Saving $35 per year is laughable." I like money. If a TV is going to cost me $350 extra over its lifespan, I will certainly consider it (not to mention the additional cooling costs that running a "hot" television might necessitate).

When I was being offered replacement deals for my defective Sony LCOS set (which was a heat generating power hog), I was offered the choice between a CCFL EX500 and an LED EX700. I ended up choosing the EX700. Most reviews indicated that the PQ performance was roughly equal. So why wouldn't I factor in a cost savings like power usage?

notabadname's picture

I like to make money wise decisions, from investments in a high-efficiency furnace to fuel economy in an automobile. But I can show those to have what I feel is a "significant" impact on my overall budget. Making a decision that will change the income I keep at the end of the year by only $35 total is irrelevant in the big scheme of mortgages, insurance, health care, etc. So I think if someone is making a decision about a flat panel purchase, it should be based on how it performs its task - image display. That task has a measurable list of benchmarks used by this site/publication. Energy consumption has no impact on those benchmarks of black-levels, motion blur, color accuracy, etc. So yes, it seems laughable to me, to make that a deciding factor in the purchase of such an important part of the home theater experience.

MatthewWeflen's picture

I never said it was the primary or deciding factor. In fact, I stated above that picture quality and features were my primary motivators. But if all other things were equal, I'd consider it, and it could be the deciding factor if I thought two sets were otherwise comparable.

$350 over the life of a set means you could buy a new disc player (like an Oppo) or a new receiver, or speakers, or whatever.

So laugh all you want. I'll enjoy my $350.

notabadname's picture

Any investment that would take a year to see a return of $35 or a decade for $350 is simply of zero consideration to me. That "cut-off" "worth" is different for everyone. But when I read a comparison of two TV's, there will be a "best" for the performance features that make me read audiophile and videophile reviews. The day "electrical consumption" joins the list of; or is considered in the determination of:


In these editorials and reviews, I'll stop laughing.

And please correct me if I am incorrect Scott, but I don't believe you are considering amp draw in any of those categories, such as Value or Performance are you? If so, I shall stop my laughing immediately ;)

mtnbiker's picture

I see $350-500.00 over a 10 year period negligent at best. Most people would save that alone brewing their own coffee or cutting out soft drinks and bottled water in half a year or less (not to mention that CRV tax). So, I agree that is laughable or just not worth thinking about. If I was that concerned about the extra cost in utilities I would cut out my surround, DVR (big hogger they say), my amp and receiver. I even consider myself somewhat green with my electronics I turn everything off except my DVR with a surge protector with a couple always on sockets. The whole point of getting a tv is for many of us on this web site is the performance. I'm not going to buy a sports car for its gas milage, just like I'm not going to buy a tv that doesn't perform the way I want.

steve1971's picture

I dont influence me one bit. Like one person already said I am more concerned about PQ then anything else and my Sony 46V5100 has that base covered so I am happy with that.

bugsy's picture

If you save $350 on what you *would have spent* on electricity for 10 years, is it realistic to say that you could buy yourself a nice Blu-Ray player or otherwise enjoy that money?

$350 for 10 years is $35.00 a year and about $2.92 a month.

Are you actually going to take $2.92 every time you pay your electric bill and put it away into a Blu-Ray fund, saying to yourself, "Man, I'm glad my HDTV is so energy efficient; otherwise I would be giving this $2.92 to the Electric Company"?

Even if you don't explicitly put your "savings" into a separate fund, will that $2.92 a month actually significantly influence your overall savings plan? At the end of 10 years will you remember that you were saving $2.92 a month for...what was it again?

An extra Big Mac here or there and your $2.92 or more is gone for that month.

scalesusa's picture

The comment about plasma TV's using 5X the power sounded far fetched, so I looked up the power usage of a typical Panasonic 50 inch plasma, and a Sony 55 inch led backlight LCD.(closest match I found with little effort.

There wasn't enough difference in energy consumption to spit on.

The Plasma uses 195KWH a year, and at our rate of $0.047 per kwh, it cost $9.17 per year.

The Sony 55 inch uses 159 kwh per year for a total cost of $7.47 per year, a savings of $1.70 per year.

Someone is way out of date!

Although I was originally planning to avoid plasma TV's due to the claimed 5X power usage solely due to heat generation, there appears to be no valid reason to do so.

Why would I spend $500 more on a LCD TV just to save $17.00 total over 10 years??

You can do the comparison yourself, just view the manufacturers power usage specification and multiply your energy rate by the annual kwh cost in your area. Ours is very low.

applebyter's picture

Like most others, I consider picture quality over just power usage, but if picture quality is similar I then decide on power usage. My main consideration is stand-by power usage.