Friday, December 14, 2007

Counter In-tube-itive

Sometimes you can just be down right wrong, and it's time to fess up. I've been advocating and recommending to my friends and neighbors to consider moving to an LCD flat panel display because it's been my understanding that LCDs are more energy efficient that their tube counterpart. I may still be right, in that perhaps on a square inch to square inch basis LCDs may be more efficient. I need to confirm. But if you read this interesting Wall Street Journal piece (good for 6 days, no permalink to be found) one needs to remember that people are upgrading to much larger screens.

A 28-inch conventional television set containing a cathode-ray picture tube, or CRT, for example, often uses about 100 watts of electricity. A 42-inch LCD set, a typical upgrade item, requires about twice that amount of electricity. But the real beast is the plasma set. A 42-inch model often sucks up 200 to 500 watts, and a 60-plus-inch plasma screen can consume 500 to 600 watts, depending on the model and programming, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

So net net, more to quote the eternal words "More Power!" And don't even talk about plasmas? Those are the mega-energy hogs. Another way to think about is that plasma displays are like giant neon lights. Speaking of which which casino in Las Vegas will be the first to use LED for their signs, maybe it's already happened.

I had dinner with a friend (who will never read this blog, so I can bring him up) who recently bought a 52 inch monster, obviously I'm working at the wrong company since I can't afford such a beast. But the kicker is everyone in his office is looking at the same. Do I see a perfect storm of energy rationing coming up?

But to get back to the matter at hand, here are some interesting things to think about...

"What scares us is the prices for plasma sets are dropping so fast that people are saying, why get a 42-inch plasma set when you can get a 60-inch or 64-inch one," says Tom Reddoch, director of energy efficiency for the nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute's laboratory in Knoxville, Tenn., an independent organization that advises the utility sector. "They have no idea how much electricity these things consume."

Now in full disclosure, I don't have a TV, though I can watch some television over the air using my computer LCD monitor. I have caught the Wii bug and I am seriously thinking of getting a TV/upgrade monitor to go with it. But my inability to get a Wii may take care of that desire.

I close with a remembrance of one of my favorite movies and a scene about TV, in the movie Smoke William Hurt plays a writer who catches the game on a tiny black and white TV with bad reception, wearing a baseball cap, and in that simplicity he still looks happy.


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