That hulking behemoth of a cathode ray tube television taking up space in your living room is not doing you or Mother Earth any favors. I’m sure we all know that watching TV is not the best way to save the planet, but even Mother Earth can’t deny that at least a few hours of culturally significant programming each week can be beneficial (not to mention countless hours of the Planet Green channel). And if you’re only watching a few hours a week, it might as well be on a sexy flat screen TV.
As you may have read, the manufacturing process of flat screens is hazardous because a utilized gas, nitrogen trifluoride, is supposedly thousands of times more harmful than carbon dioxide. But hey, the manufacturing of a Prius is so harmful (due to nickel in the battery) that it is more environmentally costly — pound for pound — than a Hummer. The good news is that if you choose a more efficient TV model (just like choosing the more efficient Prius), you can out-green competitors in the long run.
Philips’ Eco TV was released a few month ago to much fanfare. In addition to being a fashionable choice, it also uses only 72 watts during Power Save mode, barely more energy than a standard incandescent light bulb. The next best power sipping TV of that size uses almost twice the electricity . Leaving the TV on the average American length of time, a user will save $20/year versus competitors’ TVs. While most new brand name 42″ 1080p televisions with the Eco TV’s specs cost upwards of $1300-$1400, the Philips TV is just over $1100. The picture quality does suffer somewhat due to power saving features. But when you look at the amount of money you’ll save over the life of the television, not to mention its initially lower price, it’s a hard deal to pass up. It also presents hope that future televisions will embrace environmentalism, along with style and performance. If you’ve already purchased a heavy power sucker, remember to turn off the TV when not in use and to lower the brightness level to reduce power drain when in use. Here’s to hoping that I’ll be first in line whenever Sony releases a hand-cranked version, or at least one powered by a Wii Fit Balance Board.