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Is the Plasma TV a Big Energy Hog?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (April 25, 2013) - Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to

Q. I am shopping for a new TV and I am interested in a Plasma, but I hear it's an energy hog. True? And which TV is the best for my energy bill? -- Andrea, Arlington, Virginia.

Andrea, according to the EPA, the rear projection TV, or DLP TV, uses the least amount of energy. Second best energy saver is the LCD TV and then the Plasma TV is the worst, according to the agency.

The EPA didn't include new LED sets in their ranking, but most display experts would put it between the DLP and the LCD as far as energy costs are concerned.

Now, let me elaborate on what the EPA said. Or better yet, let me blast the EPA for what it said.

After reading the EPA ranking, you might think the Plasma TV will add hundreds of dollars to your annual electric bill, right?

Wrong! This is a common misperception about the Plasma set. While it does take up more energy than its rivals, the actual cost is minimal. If you watched a Plasma set for several hours a day, you might wind up paying an extra $30-60 a year, or $3 to $5 a month.

In contrast, if you watched a DLP, LCD or LED set for the same amount of time, you might wind up paying an extra $15-25 a year, or just $15-35 less than if you own a Plasma.

$15-35 less. For the whole year. That's it. Considering that many Plasma sets are slightly less expensive than comparably-sized LED sets, it's silly not to buy one because you would save $15-35 a year.

The EPA doesn't make this clear on its
"I'm shopping for a big-screen TV. Which ones are most energy efficient" page. It just says Plasma uses the most energy, which leaves a lot to the imagination of cost-conscious consumers, particularly when Plasma has a reputation for being an energy hog. (A reputation achieved in part because the early Plasma TVs did take up more energy than current models.)

The federal agency is doing a disservice to TV shoppers by not explaining exactly how much they would pay in energy costs if they buy one set or another.

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