Size, resolution, the underlying display technology, 3D or not 3D, contrast ratio: these are all things one considers before splashing out on a television. How many of us think about energy consumption? The SEAD Initiative (Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment) is laboring under the apprehension that however many it is, it's not enough. What's it doing about? It's launching Global Efficiency Medal awards to very visibly identify the most energy-efficient flat-panel TVs (and other electronics), and last week it announced its winners ahead of an awards ceremony in January.
Not only has SEAD identified the three TVs it claims are the most energy-efficient in their respective size categories, but it's also picked out a forthcoming TV (equipped with some of that "emerging technology" gubbins) that it thinks will lead the proverbial charge of the energy efficient televisions of the next few years.
Assuming consumers will pay any attention at all to this announcement, it's rather good news for both Samsung and LG. Samsung's catchily named UN26EH4000F was identified as the most television TV in what is laughably described as the "small-size category," which in fact includes all televisions under 29 inches.
Anything from 29 inches up to, though not including, 42 inches qualifies for what is equally-hilariously described as the "medium-size" category – an award which was shared between Samsung's UE40EH5000W and UN40EH5000F televisions. Yes. Those. And in the apotheosis of understatement, the "large-size category" (42 inches and up) saw LG's equally imaginatively named 47LM670S singled out for the crown.
Though SEAD acknowledges that the energy efficiency of flat panel TVs has markedly improved since their emergence, it claims that the best TVs identified by the awards are "33 to 44 percent more efficient than those with similar technologies," (though its not clear if that's in comparison to the mean consumption of all models in their size, or whatever else).
The SEAD Initiative also identified an LG prototype TV as Global Emerging Technology Winner: a 47-inch backlit LCD prototype which will apparently be available within two years. It claims the prototype is "59 percent more efficient than commercially available televisions with comparable technology," which, again, is frustratingly loose phrasing.
The SEAD Initiative is run by the governments of Australia, Brazil, Canada, the European Commission, France, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
While it's all well and good to single out exemplar models, it's unlikely that people will select a TV based on energy efficiency alone. Perhaps more useful would be for the SEAD member nations to pass legislation in their respective countries that forces retailers to list power consumption, in use and in standby, in the specs sheet, to help consumers (and particularly those on hellish electricity tariffs) to factors efficiency into their thinking.