New Year, New TV?

Buying and watching tips to help you save


You stop at your local big-box store to grab a few things. Suddenly the wall of big-screen TVs draws you in. You stand mesmerized by the bright colors and synchronized screens. Your mind races with dreams of binge-watching your favorite show, the big game or the award acceptance speech. Sound familiar? You aren’t alone. Except for tax return season, more TVs are purchased now than any other time of the year.


What to look for when buying

If a new TV is on your purchase list, here’s what to look for:


  • OLED vs. LED LCD. The most popular TVs on the market are either LED LCDs or OLEDs (organic light emitting diode). OLED TVs offer higher contrast ratios, tend to be slimmer in size, and use the least amount of energy. LCD LEDs, on the other hand, tend to be brighter and more vibrant in color than their counterparts and come in at a more affordable price than the OLED TVs.
  • Check the label. Today’s TVs are much more energy efficient, but all are not equal. Check out the EnergyGuide label to compare models and make sure to keep an eye out for an ENERGY STAR label. TVs that meet the ENERGY STAR guidelines are about 25% more energy efficient than standard models.
  • Consider size. The larger the TV, the more power it consumes. You may not need that 70-inch screen if your room is on the smaller side. Take some time and measure the distance from your couch to where you want to place the TV. Divide by two. For example, if you sit 10 feet away from the TV, divide by two and that gives you 5 feet or 60 inches—the ideal size for the room.

Saving electricity while you watch

How you watch TV can have a big impact on energy use. Consider these tips:


  • The biggest tip? Don’t leave the TV on if no one is watching.
  • Take the first tip even further. TVs can use energy even when they’re turned off. To avoid wasting energy, plug your TV into a power strip and flip the switch when you’re done watching.  
  • Check out your TV’s settings. Disabling the quick start feature and dialing down the screen brightness reduce extra energy use.
  • If you’re using your television to stream live radio, consider using the TV’s radio screen (or blank feature). This feature turns the TV to a blank screen whenever you are listening to the radio so you don’t waste energy when you’re not watching.

The secret to energy efficiency is all about being in the know. Now settle back and enjoy the experience.