MANHASSET, NY -- In a recent report anecdotal evidence of calculations of energy costs using real utility bills show real payback for buying a LED-backlit TV over CCFL.
The problem is there is a disconnect between technology push and marketing pull in the TV industry, according to market research firm DisplaySearch.
A recent report warns that what is becoming a commodity business can be turned to a value-add to the consumer and allow TV providers to set prices at a premium.
Paul Gray, Director, European TV Research, DisplaySearch, in his latest blog claims the "payback time for an entry-level LED-backlit TV is under four years in California, and under two years in Europe."
Gray is dumbfounded that rather than highlighting the energy efficiency benefit to consumers of LED-backed LCD sets, set makers appear to be complaining that LED backlights cost too much and they are retreating from their plans to switch to LED.
Gray also found reluctance by TV makers to emphasize the energy efficiency advantages of LED-backed LCD because TV makers seem to think that consumers would be unable to understand the issue of energy consumption. "This is an amazing lack of understanding, given that in markets like white goods, consumers routinely use energy consumption as a point of comparison," said Gray.
Looking at the marketing of TVs, one would think that all consumers care about is 3-D, comments Gray. "This is symptomatic of an industry that is removed from its end-customers."
A new research report by DisplaySearch shows that consumers are far more sensitive to power consumption than 3-D.
OK, so it's my research. The consumption comes from EnergyStar, and their test method used a looped video sequence of both bright and dark scenes.
The sets compared were the base CCFL and LED backlit models from Samsung, which have the same video processing, so it's an apples-to-apples comparison and does not reflect different pricing power in the market.
Data is in my blog here:
For what it's worth, I assumed 2000 hours per year operation and used US EIA figures for energy costs.
If consumers are unable to understand energy costs, how come in the USA people are buying more fuel-efficient vehicles, and in Europe over 60% of cars sold are diesels?
I would claim that for consumers, unless the price is within what they have in their wallets,especially right now,they will rarely care about how much they can save on electricity. Look at all the discussions and conversations about energy efficient lighting ban for example.
Another detail missing is the size of the screen. A 50inch+ screen consumes considerably more power than a 40inch or less. I think LEDs have an even greater edge over CCFL in the incremental power vs size difference, and as Jim C points out, produce a better picture overall.
Perhaps a simple marketing campaign could be based on one of the things that impressed me about LED sets. Walking through the aisles at the shop where I bought mine, a quick hand over the cooling grates on the back gave me a sense of the power usage (waste, actually). I'm still amazed at home when, after watching for an evening (4-5 hour span), I can walk by the set and just barely feel a slight warmth along the top edge. One doesn't just save the energy that the set doesn't consume; where we live, in the summer, less heat liberated into the TV room means less air conditioning energy too.
A clear way of communicating to consumers the energy cost of a TV would be a win-win. Energy saving technology would be encouraged and consumers would save money and energy. It is scary how many hours some TVs are on. Now if a simple technology could turn off the screen when the room was unoccupied (some people want the background noise), even more energy could be saved.
LED backlighting saves energy compared with CCFL not only when fully powered (due to better efficiency) but also when illuminating a dark scene. It is then powered down to reduce brightness. This is also the reason for the vastly better contrast or dynamic range performance.
Okay, so I know it's not the focus of the article, but the improved video quality has to be stated. LED backlit TVs are head and shoulders above CCFL backlit TVs.
Between this and the energy savings, this should be a no brainer. At best buy, the difference between a samsung 40" CCFL and LED backlit TV is $100-$200. With the numbers Selinz just posted, the payback could be in as low as one year for a vastly better TV.
Do consumers want to pay for LED's? No, not unless there is a performance advantage. There should not be a $500 premium for LED's. Perhaps $100? Ok, let's do math. Suppose 333 watts which gives us 8 KW/hr per day if it's on 24hr/day (my Dad leaves his TV on all day/night). If we assume 12.5c/kw-hr, then we have a buck/day. $365per year. from CNET.com
Average plasma: 301 watts
Average LCD (standard): 111 watts
Average LCD (LED): 101 watts
PlayStation 3: 197 watts
PlayStation 3 Slim: 96 watts
Xbox 360 Elite (2007): 185 watts
Nintendo Wii: 19 watts
Xbox 360: 187 watts
Average PC: 118 watts
DirecTV HR20 DVR: 33 watts
Nintendo Wii: 19 watts
Slingbox: 9 watts
Wireless router: 7 watts
So yearly saving can be as much as $200.
Where does this hugely impressive power saving come from? The major consumption of light is the LCD panel itself blocking much of the light due to color filters etc.. This does not change for LED, so why much more efficient?
Why does this article, printed for engineers, have no technical content?
I will guess what is missing for a stink test.
Calculation, $500 premium for LED, 4 year payback makes $125 per year energy savings.
There are no details, so I will guess the following, assume 5 yrs per day, every day per year peak time usage,
My peak time incremental energy cost is 10.7 cents per kilowatt-hour.
For $125 per year I must save 1.1 Megawatt-hrs per year, or 640Watts during operation.
My TV specs do not give operating power consumption, but MAX current is 3A, so MAX power is 360Watts. It is impossible to save twice the energy you are using unless you want the TV to pump power into the grid.
Engineers, please do not be pushed around by marketing people. Demand to see calculations or do not accept this environmental none-sense. They might destroy our culture unless those capable of doing realistic calculations stand up to those marketing people pushing their nonesense.
I'm guessing you are in the minority, c2cthomas. I think the average American is looking at the price out the door, not a payback in 4 years. Even I would think twice about such a long term payback considering the rapid pace of technology and obsolescence in a year or so for consumer products. And look at the savings of CFLs and the reluctance of people to buy them because the take to long to warm up, regardless how much they save in energy cost.. Face it, Americans aren't too bright.
One of the 1st things I look for us power consumption vs. usage per day of any electrical powered device in my house. Power consumption is in my "needs" column - not my "wants" column when it comes to making a decision towards my purchase.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.