California Energy Commission Approves New HDTV Restrictions

Posted Mon Nov 23, 2009 at 11:00 AM PST by Mike Attebery

Despite much protest from the consumer electronics industry, the California Energy Commission voted unanimously to adopt new regulations to cut down on high energy television sets.

The first tier of regulations – which bans the sale of televisions not meeting the standards – hits on January 1st of 2011. First, all televisions must use no more than one watt of power while in standby mode. This is a decrease from the currently allotted three watts. The second part of the regulation gets a bit tricky.

All televisions sold in California under 1,400 square inches will be required to use power (in watts) less than or equal to their area in square inches divided by five plus thirty two. The formula itself isn’t vital, but what is important to note is that this number comes out to just slightly above Energy Star 4.0 compliance. Similarly, the second tier of regulation which hits in 2013 creates a power standard that’s just slightly more lax than Energy Star 5.0 requirements which hit in mid 2012.

The controversy over this program mainly rests in the notion that while Energy Star compliance is completely optional, the CEC’s new standards are mandatory to sell within the state of California. Businesses objected strongly to the new ruling, as many consumers have expressed their willingness to purchase out of state or online if local shops are unable to carry the televisions they want.

The Consumer Electronics Association also spoke out against the ruling, stating that the measure is unnecessary and that not only is it limiting consumer choice, but that the CEC is limiting technological innovation as well.

The CEA has stated that a legal challenge is not out of the question.

Source: California Energy Commission (PDF

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Tags: High-Def Retailing, Industry Trends, California (all tags)