MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Look around any store trying to sell you the latest high-definition TV and you’ll see an official-looking “Energy Guide” showing how little this model will cost you in electricity. That’s only if you keep your TV in its “Energy Saving” mode.
“If the consumer chose to change the picture setting, for example to “calibrated,” now this energy-saving feature is off, and this TV maybe using 50-plus-percent more energy,” said Senior Scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council Noah Horowitz.
The NRDC contends some manufacturers are not informing consumers that a simple setting change, like increasing the brightness level, can significantly increase the amount of energy their TVs are using.
“What they did might not be illegal, but it’s clearly bad faith. We think what’s at play here, some manufacturers are trying to get a competitive advantage and have their TV’s look more efficient than their competitors,” said Horowitz.
The NRDC says the department of energy’s “TV tests” are out of date because it uses a procedure that doesn’t reflect real-world, higher energy usage. While the extra energy costs per household might be small, the NRDC says they add up over time.
“We all pay the price. Consumers are gonna pay an extra billion dollars in electricity costs over the life of their TVs. And the environment is suffering as well because we have five million more tons of global warming pollution,” said Horowitz.
Industry advocates contend the study is misleading.
“The fact is, that Americans don’t generally change the settings that the manufacturers put on TV sets. But some want to, and they should have that right….six cents a day, that’s what we’re talking about,” said Gary Shapiro, CEO of Consumer Technology Association
Part of the study focused on three manufacturers in particular: LG Electronics, Samsung, and Vizio.
LG Electronics told CBSNews it disputes the findings, saying it follows both the letter and the spirit of the Department of Energy’s testing procedures.