California's dreaming of banning sale of HDTVs that are too power hungry

Unless you don't pay attention to your utility bills at all, you've probably noticed that having an HDTV or two is costing you some extra cash when the electric bill arrives each month. That's because they consume a lot of power—a lot of power—even when they're turned off (as they're still sipping juice vampirically through the outlet).

Unless you don't pay attention to your utility bills at all, you've probably noticed that having an HDTV or two is costing you some extra cash when the electric bill arrives each month. That's because they consume a lot of power—a lot of power—even when they're turned off (as they're still sipping juice vampirically through the outlet). It's no surprise that TV makers are now falling all over themselves touting the "green" and "eco-friendly" features their new 2009 lines offer.

That's still not good enough for Cali, which has historically been out in front of the rest of the nation when it comes to fighting car emissions and implementing other environmental restrictions. Now the state's Energy Commission is considering guidelines for TV energy consumption that would prevent sets that require too much power from being sold in the state. Manufacturers shouldn't freak out too much yet, as the first stage of the regulation wouldn't take place until 2011, with the tougher standards not enacted until 2013. Among its goals: to reduce standby power from 3 watts down to 1 watt.

Over at our sister site CNET, TV editor David Katzmaier posts about how well current TVs he's reviewed would fare under California's potential regulations: Half of the LCD sets tested in 2008 would have failed, and just two out of 28 plasmas would have passed (and those two "cheat" by reaching the limits through their dim default mode). Plasmas are going to need to work a lot harder to reduce their energy consumption, though many of this year's LCDs can meet the new Energy Star 3.0 requirements.

California officials will decide on its potential new regulations this summer. In the meantime, have or will energy concerns factor into your purchase of a new TV? Do you notice the power requirements of your current HDTVs? Let us know in the TalkBack section.

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