image of a televisionIt is estimated that more than 34 million televisions were shipped to the United States in 2015.  With televisions getting bigger and using more energy, it's no wonder that most consumers say that energy efficiency will be a factor in their next television choice. Look for the ENERGY STAR label to save energy, save money, and help protect the climate.

ENERGY STAR certified televisions are on average, 27 percent more energy efficient than conventional models, saving energy in all usage modes: sleep, idle, and on. The label can be found on everything from standard TVs to large screen TVs with the latest features like ultra high-definition (UHD) and internet connectivity. Some models that earn the ENERGY STAR incorporate organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), the latest in screen lighting technology.

Saving energy with ENERGY STAR certified home entertainment products helps protect the climate. A home equipped with TVs, set-top boxes, a Blu-Ray player, and a soundbar that have earned the ENERGY STAR, can save nearly $140 over the life of the products. If each TV, DVD player, and soundbar purchased in the U.S. this year earned the ENERGY STAR certified, we would save more than $220 million and prevent nearly 2.8 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions every year, equal to the emissions of nearly 275,000 cars.

Learn how to save more energy by configuring the settings on game consoles to operate in the most efficient way possible.

Current Specification Effective Date: October 30, 2015

Televisions originally qualified for the ENERGY STAR label in 1998. ENERGY STAR certified televisions must consume 1 watt or less in Sleep Mode and On Mode power requirements vary according to screen area. External power supplies (EPS) packaged with TV products must meet level V performance requirements under the International Efficiency Marking Protocol and include the level V marking.

Televisions Key Product Criteria: ENERGY STAR

Learn How a Product Earns the Label

Today's Flat Screen TVs:

Today's flat screen televisions that are sold in the U.S. are mostly Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs), with a few OLED TVs, and some remaining plasma TVs on the market.

  • Liquid Crystal Displays or LCDs are known as "transmissive" displays because the light isn't created by the liquid crystals themselves. Instead, a light source behind the panel shines light through the display panel, which modifies its color and brightness to create the image. LCDs are the most popular kind of TV technology today, and most are backlit with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) either via an array of LEDs in the back of the panel or along its edge. 
  • Organic Light-Emitting Diode or OLED TVs are another "emissive" display. Unlike LCD TVs, where the LEDs only provide the backlighting, in an OLED TV the LEDs (which can be miniaturized thanks to their organic (carbon-based) component) provide both the light and control its color and brightness directly: each pixel is a small light-emitting diode.
  • Plasma TVs are known as "emissive" displays because the display panel provides the colored light necessary to create the image. The panel is composed of miniature gas-filled cells–similar in operation to fluorescent lamps–which glow when gas is energized to become plasma.

Digital Televisions

Digital televisions come in two subgroups, which are differentiated by sharpness of picture, usually described as "lines of resolution."

  • Standard Digital TVs (SDTV) – display an image composed of 480 horizontal and 640 vertical lines.
  • High-Definition TVs (HDTV) – display an image composed of either 720 or 1080 horizontal and 1280 or 1920 vertical lines. (The number of lines is also often footnoted with a "p" for progressive scan and "i" for interlaced scan depending on how the lines are illuminated.) More pixels produce a sharper picture. Most TVs sold on the market today are HDTV.
  • Ultra High-Definition TVs (UHDTV) – have an aspect ratio of at least 16:9 and at least one digital input capable of carrying and presenting native video at a minimum resolution of 3,840 – 2,160 pixels.
    • 4K UHDTV (2160p) has a resolution of 3840 – 2160 (8.3 megapixels ), 4 times the pixels of a current 1080 HD TV.
    • 8K UHDTV (4320p) has a resolution of 7680 – 4320 (33.2 megapixels), 16 times the pixels of a current 1080 HDTV.
    UHDTVs were introduced in late 2012, however, limited content is currently available for viewing in UHD format. Some television manufacturers feature UHDTVs that "upconvert" content to UHD.

Comparing TV pictures?

Compare contrast ratios. Contrast ratio is a measure of color representation (how the color information appears against a dark background). The higher the number, the better the color representation.

What is progressive scan?

There are two ways that a TV picture can update itself to display moving images. One way is by using an interlaced signal and the second is by using a progressive scan signal. An interlaced signal, which is the method used by the standard analog screen, updates half of the scan lines (i.e. every other scan line) at a time (typically every 1/60th of a second, though some panels can update faster). A progressive scan signal updates all of the scan lines every 60th of a second. So progressive scan technology creates a sharper picture with less flicker.

What's a pixel?

The term "pixel" is shorthand for "picture element." A pixel is the smallest item of information displayed on a television screen. Think of pixels as the tiniest dots that the picture is made of. A megapixel is one million pixels.

Other Television Features

Automatic Brightness Control (ABC)

The ABC feature is a self-acting mechanism that controls the brightness of the TV relative to the brightness of the room in which it is located. The ABC feature is intended to enhance the viewing experience and also save energy.

Local Dimming

Local dimming is different than ABC. Local dimming typically occurs in LED-backlit LCD TVs when sections of the LED backlighting are turned off or dimmed to help produce deep blacks and save energy.

Network-Connected or "Smart" TVs

Increasingly, TVs can be connected to the Internet over Ethernet or Wi-Fi. Network-connected TVs allow viewers to download or stream content from the Internet to their TVs. These Smart TVs can have varying levels of ability to run apps, display interactive on-demand content, and provide access to other Internet-based programs in addition to providing traditional broadcasted television.

Pre-set Picture Settings

Many TVs are now shipping with pre-set picture settings that viewers can select, such as "vivid," "sports" or "cinema." These picture settings reflect changes in the brightness and contrast ratio to enhance the content in a specific manner. The default picture setting is the setting that has been used to earn the ENERGY STAR. To ensure you continue to see energy savings, make sure you use the ENERGY STAR setting as much as possible.

What's Next?

Integrating set-top box functions into TVs

Some technologies are emerging that allow you to watch live and recorded programming on any TV in a home, without needing additional, or any, set-top boxes. In one instance, RVU (pronounced "R-view") is a client/server-based technology that allows a central set-top box to send live or recorded programming to various consumer electronics, including TVs, without the need for additional set-top boxes in each room. In other cases, manufacturers are working with programming providers to offer limited service on their TVs without the need for a set-top box at all.