New Toshiba LED HDTVs Ultra Power Efficient

Dennis Faas's picture

These days many people have flat-screen HDTVs (high definition televisions), whether it's in the plasma, LCD (liquid crystal display) or LED (light-emitting diode) format. But most of those fancy televisions are big power wasters, which is why the next wave in television innovation may involve energy-efficient TVs like Toshiba's new Regza 32BE3.

Toshiba is hoping to set its new Regza TV apart by making it more efficient both when it is in stand-by mode (not on or off, but ready to jump into action) and when it's actually displaying a picture.

Regza 32BE3 Uses No Power in Standby Mode

You might be surprised to learn that most flat-screen televisions continue to use power in standby -- not a lot, but over the course of a year it adds up to a major power drain. Some estimates peg standby power to eat up approximately 10% of all residential power usage.

To eliminate this waste for its consumers, Toshiba has developed an "Eco Chip" and a storage capacitor that, together, store electricity when the TV is on and then use that stored energy to completely disconnect the device from the electric grid when a user switches to stand-by mode. (Source:

This new Toshiba technology allows the capacitor to hold enough electricity to keep the Regza 32BE3 responsive to the remote control's "wake up" command.

Differences Between Plasma, LCD, LED and Power Usage

When the Regza 32BE3 is actually displaying a picture, it uses approximately 27 per cent less energy than its predecessor, the Regza 32A2.

It accomplishes this by means of LED backlighting. Higher-quality LED TVs (like the LG Infinia 42LV5500 42-Inch, available at, pictured right) have LED backlighting which utilizes the entire screen and each LED can be dialed independently. This is referred to as "local dimming" technology and the results are extraordinarily vibrant lighting.

In comparison, lower-quality LED backlights only light up the border of the display, whereas older-style LCD displays use compact fluorescent tubes (CFLs) for backlighting and are only located at the top and bottom of the screen.

In terms of brightness, LED backlit displays with local dimming are ultra-bright because they can dial in brightness down to very minute portions of the screen. LCD displays which use CFLs are always on, thus dark scenes in a movie (for example) still appear somewhat illuminated.

In terms of power consumption, LED-based displays are the most efficient displays available today. Plasma displays, for example, consume two to three times more power than an LCD to deliver an image of equal brightness. (Source:

Low Power Modes Use 50-75% Less Power

In the Regza 32BE3, there are also a pair low-power modes allow the picture to display using 50 per cent or even 75 per cent less power. Of course, these low-power modes effectively cut the screen's brightness considerably, which may appear less than desirable for some videophiles.

Some analysts think eco-efficient measures like this will not help TV sales significantly. "I think power consumption is not that high on the consumer consideration list, at least in the US," said Paul Gagnon, an analyst for DisplaySearch. (Source:

Here's hoping the experts are wrong on this one.

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