Things just got a whole lot tougher for HDTV makers, or at least those hoping to slap an Energy Star label on the box. That's because the new Energy Star 4.0 standard has officially gone into effect, and passing muster is no easy task.
As part of the new standard, the maximum amount of power an Energy Star TV can consume has dropped by about 40 percent, and any television manufactured on or after May 1, 2010 must meet this requirement in order to qualify for an Energy Star 4.0 logo. Models that are only 3.0 compliant can still qualify for the logo, but they must have been manufactured no later than April 30, 2010.
The newly stringent requirements come as a welcome change to environmentalists. Under the outgoing 3.0 specification, a 50-inch HDTV could consume 318 watts when turned off and still qualify for the Energy Star logo, but under the 4.0 specification, that same set would not be allowed to consume any more than 153 watts to be considered Energy Star compliant.
This means that several TVs will drop from the EPA's online list of compliant televisions, but at the same time, several manufactures are already looking ahead with Energy Star 4.0 compliant models slated for a 2010 release, including ones from Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, and Vizio.
Looking further ahead, Energy Star 5.0 will go into effect on May 1, 2012 and reduce power requirements even more. TV sets 50 inches and larger will be able to consume no more than 108 watts when 5.0 goes into effect.