Chart helps customers compare TV energy use
Question: Your preference for plasma TVs is clear, and I like their picture quality. Do you have information comparing the energy consumption of these newer plasmas with LCD TVs? When I shop for a plasma HDTV, how can I tell whether or not I'm looking at one of the newer, lower-energy-use models?
Katy O'Sullivan, Brimson, Minn.
Answer: Go online and visit reviews.cnet.com/green-tech/tv-consumption-chart where you will find a chart with power consumption and annual cost to run for a great many HDTVs. Figures are given for both the out-of-the-box picture settings and with the picture set for a more accurate image. Subscribers to consumerreports.com can log on and see the annual cost to run different television models. I subscribe to consumerrepports.com and consulted their site as well as CNET for this column. The findings are enlightening.
You will see that with the more energy-efficient plasma models the difference in consumption compared to LCD is negligible. In most comparisons I made the plasma adds only $1 to $3 per month to your electric bill compared to a comparably-sized LCD model. In some cases I found plasmas that cost less than comparably-sized LCD models. According to Consumer Reports, their recommended Panasonic TC-42P42X1 42-inch plasma only costs $29 per year to run, using less energy than every single 42-inch and 40-inch LCD model they tested. As you can see, buying an LCD thinking it will use less power than plasma is no longer a valid approach. The charts on these sites will help you find the green HDTV of your dreams, but if you don't want to do a lot of research the Panasonic models using their NeoPDP technology tend to be the most energy-efficient plasmas on the market and are a good place to start.
Finally, if you break it down to monthly cost, you will see that the difference between all of them isn't all that great. The most power-hungry 60-inch plasma tested by Consumer Reports had $99 in annual energy costs. Tested 37-inch LCD models averaged $32 per year. That is less than $6 per month comparing the least efficient plasma model (with a huge 60-inch screen) with much smaller LCD sets.
Question: I would like to know: Is there is a way to remotely control a cable box that is out of sight?
Answer: An IR repeater will do this for you. An IR repeater had two components, a receiver and a transmitter. You put the receiver somewhere in the room where it can easily "see" the remote control and the transmitter somewhere in front of the cable box. Just point the remote at the receiver and press the desired button. The receiver will pick up the signal from your remote and send a radio signal to the transmitter, which will duplicate and transmit your remote's IR signal. The cable box will pick up the signal and execute your command. You can buy an IR repeater/remote extender for $25 and up.
Because the repeater system simply re-creates what it sees they do not need to be programmed and can work with any IR remote system. Of course, it will not work with radio or Bluetooth remotes, but if you had a radio or Bluetooth remote the line-of-sight issue would not be a problem.Read past columns and product reviews and contact Don Lindich by visiting www.soundadviceblog.com .
First Published December 27, 2009 12:00 am