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As consumers already know buying an Ultra HD TV is an expensive process. But a US research group says that the costs might be significantly more than viewers realise.
The problem comes in the form of the household’s electricity bill. The USA’s influential National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), in a detailed report on the impact of the adoption of UHD says that tomorrow’s UHD sets will cost the nation an extra $1 billion a year to run
The report, carried in trade newsletter Display Daily, says that replacing today’s typical HD TV of some 36” in size with 50” or larger models will have a direct impact on utility bills. “Not only do today’s large UHD televisions consume almost one-third more energy, on average, than the HD TVs they’ll replace, there is a huge range in the efficiency of the UHD models on the market,” said senior scientist Noah Horowitz, director of NRDC’s Center for Energy Efficiency.
“We found an almost three-fold difference in energy consumption between the best and worst UHD TVs, with some models using little or no more energy than their HD predecessors, proving the technology already exists to cut needless energy waste in these large televisions,” Horowitz said.
The NRDC study says that the US currently has some 300 million installed TVs, and switching these over – in time – would mean the equivalent of an extra 8 billion kilowatt hours, which equals three times the amount consumed by all the homes in San Francisco in a year. The least efficient of the new UHD models consumes power at the rate of a new refrigerator.
Add in the near-essential High Dynamic Range (HDR) features that high-end sets are now being supplied with, and the power bill jumps again. “The new High Dynamic Range, or HDR, feature that provides brighter colours and deeper shadows could significantly increase national TV energy consumption. Our testing showed the HDR version of a movie used 47 per cent more power than the same title in 4K format. More attention is needed to understand HDR energy use and reduce it,” says the report.