Televisions, set-top boxes, digital TV recorders, DVDs and DAB radios combined are responsible for around a fifth of a typical home's electricity bill. Choosing the most efficient models helps to keep your energy bills down, so you save money and do your bit for the environment.
Digital radios or DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) radios have been one of the biggest-selling consumer electronic products in the last few years – with superior sound quality, a wide range of extra channels and rapidly falling prices. Digital radios generally consume more power than their analogue equivalents. Intertek testing for Which? 2006 showed an average digital radio to have a standby consumption of around 5 watts, which is around five times higher than analogue models. But the technology is rapidly improving, and digital radios carrying the Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo use around 75% less electricity annually than older digital radios.
Digital television recorders: Recording your favourite shows doesn’t have to cost more in energy bills. In most homes, entertainment equipment accounts for about 20% of your electricity bill. Energy Saving Trust Recommended digital television recorders must meet strict energy performance criteria.
Televisions can be the most power-hungry of all entertainment appliances, particularly the larger ones. The larger a television is the more energy it will consume, regardless of its energy rating. For instance, an A-rated 22" LCD TV would typically cost £6 a year to run whereas an A-rated 56" TV would cost £31. Choosing a smaller TV generally means choosing a more efficient TV. While it's tempting to go for a larger screen, larger screens show up the imperfections of non-high-definition TV signals and make it easier to notice the blockiness of images from DVD and blu-ray videos. So you might get a better viewing experience with a smaller TV. Look for the Energy Saving Trust Recommended label to get one of the most efficient available TVs of its category.
•HD and 3D TV: Many homes now have cable HD TV and most televisions on the market nowadays are HD ready. HD TVs have more pixels per square inch of screen area and therefore tend to consume more energy than SD (Standard Density) televisions. Buying a smaller SD TV is likely to use less energy than an HD TV, but with the move towards HD broadcasting you might wish to consider how long into the future you are happy to continue using an SD TV.
•LED, LCD and plasma screen are most common forms of flat-screen TVs on the market. LED and LCD TVs are not as good for seeing the screen from sideward angles, but otherwise there is little difference between the picture quality of these and plasma screen TVs. However, plasma screen TVs tend not to come in smaller sizes, and generally use more energy than similar sized LED or LCD TVs.
Simple set-top boxes turn your TV digital. An Energy Saving Trust Recommended simple set-top box must be efficient in both 'on' and standby mode. The label is your guarantee that you're buying a simple set-top box that uses less energy. As it's a product you'll use frequently, it's well worth your while to look for the label and get the most energy-efficient model.
Energy-saving plugs and sockets come in a number of forms; they can come with timers or a single off switch. You can plug televisions and computing equipment into them to reduce standby power and make it easier for you to switch everything off with a single switch. On average a UK home spends between £50 - £90 a year powering electronic goods left in standby. You can save on your energy bills by ensuring that you turn this equipment off at the plug after when it is not being used.