War, huh....what is it good for? Energy efficiency? Not usually. But in the war between LCD and plasma displays, that's exactly what we're getting.
The flat-screen television market is booming. The most energy efficient thing to do would be to watch TV on your old 15 inch LCD monitor, but the big-screen hotness is, for some, too difficult to resist. The next best thing is a direct competition between two flatscreen formats. Plasma and LCD. Right now, the two technologies are in a dead heat. Though LCD TVs and plasma screens currently operate in slightly different markets (plasma's are bigger) they consume about the same power per square inch. (You might hear that plamsa's consume way more, but this is just because they're usually much bigger.)
As consumers start to ask questions like "Is this TV really going to use more power than my refirgerator?" and getting a less-than-satisfying shrug/nod from the salesperson, efficiency is becoming a hot item. Both LCDs and Plasmas have become around 25% more efficient in the past year alone using while simultaneously becoming cheaper. That is the power of a format war. Neither of these technologies is going out without a fight.
For now, the EcoGeek recommendation remains at LCD. They use slightly less power and, even more importantly, last longer, so you won't have to replace it so soon. With either screen, always unplug at the source to prevent vampirism, buy a smaller set, and turn down the brightness when you watch at night (you can cut power use by as much as 50% by doing this, and you won't even notice if the ambient light is low (saving further energy.)) And always demand to know the power consumption of any product you buy.
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