Preliminary findings released from UK energy company British Gas’s upcoming Home Energy Report 2016, set for publication in January 2017, reveal that household energy bills from watching TV are likely to increase for the first time since 2011. Data analysed by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) points to the new generation of 4K TVs as the source of this upturn in increased energy consumption: data shows they require a third more energy than a HD TV.
The report shows that in 2001 the average household spent £14 (€16.70) on powering its TVs for a year, and that by 2008 it had increased 44 per cent to £20. This figure then declined over the next seven years to £18 – driven by more energy-efficient TVs.
Two million UK homes are expected to purchase a 4K TV by the end of the 2016, while nine million households are predicted to own one by 2019. However, the greater image clarity comes at a higher energy cost. In 2015, the average 4K TV used 33 per cent more energy than an HDTV. So on average, energy consumption from a 4K TV is now more than three times that of a laptop and five times that of a games console.
When examined from an energy usage perspective, the total number of 4K TVs in UK households during 2014 required an additional 11 GWh electricity compared to their HD counterparts, equating to just £1.8 million in higher energy bills around the country. In 2019, however, this extra energy usage will leap dramatically by 4264 per cent (to 480 GWh), costing UK homeowners around Britain an additional £82 million.
According to Daniel Colford, Smart Energy Expert at British Gas, TV has long been considered the nation’s favourite pastime and as such people will always look to upgrade to the latest technology to improve their viewing experience. “With living rooms now awash with technology and entertainment gadgets, many of which routinely use power even if on standby, we recommend taking a closer look at each device to see how its energy use can be reduced and getting smart meters installed to monitor overall household energy consumption,” he advised.
Whether viewing a favourite soap or sitting down to watch a new release, British Gas’s Smart Energy Experts have hints and tips to help reduce usage whilst still enjoying a great viewing experience:
This research forms part of the British Gas Home Energy Report 2016 to be released in January. The report is developed by the Centre for Economics and Business Research from in-depth evaluation of British Gas data and published research from numerous reputable sources, including IHS, Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) ECUK.
Cebr’s analysis was based upon IHS forecasts for the number of UHD TVs in the UK. NRDC estimates on the energy consumption of UHD TVs compared to HD TVs were then combined with BEIS data on the amount of energy used by UK households for TVs, in order to estimate a UHD TV’s yearly average energy consumption. Finally, this data was scaled up to the wider UK economy, and combined with a BEIS domestic electricity prices forecast to enable analysis of the monetary impacts. As noted above, the analysis assumes that UHD TVs make no energy efficiency gains over time.