Happy Carbon Tax day!

The “dreaded” Carbon Tax comes into effect today.  And look, the sun is still shining, the world did not end.

I’m not going to go into the politics of things here, I’m just a geek. So I want to talk about my new TV.

We bought our previous TV in 2009, when we moved into an unfurnished flat for the first time here in Sydney. We bought a 32″ Philips LCD TV, and I really liked it back then. I guess it must have been mid-range even back then, not the smallest format but certainly not extra large. Anyway, over the years there were these newsreports about electricity prices going up (way before the Carbon Tax), and every time you saw an interview on TV, you would see these images of families with gigantic TVs in their living room. And they wonder why their electricity bill is so high? TVs nowadays have a energy star rating displayed in stores. Not sure when that came into effect, but it has been for a while. And I have been keeping an eye out on those whenever I’d visit a JBHifi or something, and the last couple of years I believe they have been coming down a lot with advances in LED LCDs and Plasma screen improvements.

I got me a Belkin power meter plug and looked at how much our current Philips TV was using. About 128 Watts an hour, as much as a powerful light. Additionally, I thought it no longer looked its best. To calculate the star rating used in the stores you have to multiply that wattage x 10 (hours a day) x 365 (over a year) to get the kilowatt hour usage per year. Which gives me a staggering 467KWh/y, which is a lot, especially for a 32″. So I started to look around for a new TV, something below 300KWh/y, and bigger than 32″, full HD, better blacks/contrast and not too expensive. In the end it was a toss up between new models from Panasonic and Sony (Samsung was disqualified, don’t care for LG, Loewe is too expensive, Sharp was meh). In the end it’s a 40″ Sony HX750.

This isn’t going to be a full on review of the HX750 (I may do that later, but probably not…), but there were some things to notice. So, 40″ is again considered a mid-range, bedroom size (10-15 years ago I would be ecstatic with a 70cm CRT TV).  But in our living room, the first thing you notice is how much bigger it is than the 32″ (well, 20cm in diameter). Also, it doesn’t seem to be that bright. But if you do happen to come across a white screen, well you’d better be wearing shades. Don’t know, maybe because of its larger size (than the 32″), a bright screen is pretty annoying, and you want to have it tuned down a bit. Another thing you notice when you put on Freeview is how much it sucks. Really, the image was pretty bad. There are maybe about three dozen settings to tweak, and after a while I’m pretty happy with the low resolution (576i) images on Freeview (only a couple of then transmit in 1080i). But BRs do look amazing. But, that’s not the actual intent of this post. How much does it consume? Well, where for the Philips it was about a constant 128W (+/- 10W), the new TV does about 48W, going down to 33W for dark scenes and up to 68W for a full white screen. That is considerably less than my previous, 3 year old TV! That calculates to about 172KWh/y (though the star rating indicates 260KWh/y, which would be with brightness all the way up). So, it’s a better, larger TV, that consumes far less. Pretty happy with that!

Do you use a desktop PC at home? Did you know that could easily use 100-200W and a lot more? Did you know a laptop only uses about 20-90W (power usage of different, but older model PCs at a university)? And what do you use it for? Is most of it browsing, checking email? Did you know an iPad (or any other tablet) only uses 2.5W, and could save you a lot on your power bill (if you need another reason to buy one…)?

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