How much energy does power saving mode on TVs really save?


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Each television has a number of different “picture modes”. There’s almost always an “Energy Saver” or “Power Saving” mode that tends to sound the worst. How much energy does this mode actually save? Is it worth using?

What is power saving mode?

Your TV’s picture modes are presets for different levels of brightness, contrast, and saturation. You can usually adjust these items separately, but the modes do everything for you.

“Power Saving” mode is simply designed to optimize these settings to save power. The most obvious way to do this is to darken the screen. Power saving mode will usually be the darkest of all the modes available on your TV.

Simply put, whether they’re called ‘Power Saving’, ‘Energy Saver’ or ‘Eco Mode’, these picture modes imply that your TV will consume less energy. Is it true?

RELATED: What does “game mode” mean on my TV or monitor?

Data

Enough talk, let’s get to the data. Using a smart plug capable of measuring power, I recorded the power consumption of three different TVs in all of their available picture modes. All three had a “Power Saving” mode, a “Vivid” mode, and a “Standard” mode.

Picture Mode 43″ Scepter 1080p 50″ Hisense 4K Badge 32″ 1080p
Energy saving 35.5w 87.7w 39.7w
Vivid 54.6w 115.7w 48.2w
Standard 54.6w 115.2w 44.7w
Benign 35.9w
Theater 82.4w 42.2w
sport 114.8w
Game 114.8w

There are some interesting results here. First, power saving modes at all levels use less power than standard settings. The “Vivid” modes also don’t seem to use much more power than the standard settings, meaning they adjust color more than brightness.

Two of the TVs have a “Theatre” mode which had a similar effect on power consumption as the power saving modes. In fact, the largest 4K TV uses the least power in this mode. This is because theater modes generally dim the display for dark rooms.

Some of the differences between power saving modes and other modes aren’t as pronounced. Smaller 1080p TVs don’t have major differences between power saving modes and higher power consumption modes. The difference is greater on the 4K TV, which uses more power overall.

Does it matter?

Woman streaming video content on TV.
Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock.com

What can we learn from this admittedly small sample of data? First of all, the power saving mode clearly works Something. This is perhaps not very surprising – of course, a darker display requires less power. Still, it’s good to know that “power saving mode” isn’t some empty marketing term.

Let’s say your electricity rate is $0.18 per kilowatt hour (kWh) and you have a 4K TV similar to the one in the table above. Watching TV for four hours a day on power saving mode would cost around $1.90 per month/$23 per year. At the highest power consumption mode, you’re looking at about $2.50 per month/$30 per year.

You’re essentially saving $7 a year for a slightly worse picture on your TV. Are the energy and money savings enough to make it worth it? It is entirely up to you. If you have a very large ultra-high definition TV, that might make a pretty big difference. However, if you have this TV, you probably want it to be the best it can be.

Power saving mode can be a good “everyday” mode to use while you switch back to “Standard” or “Vivid” mode for movies or other things you really want to shine. Ultimately, it saves energy, but it might not be enough for you.

RELATED: How to get the best picture quality from your HDTV

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