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Today we have to start with a question: exactly how green are you? Does the extent of your conscience only run to recycling a few cans and bits of cardboard, or are you actually willing to pay more money for ‘green’ AV products?
Quite possibly you haven’t thought about this before given how few genuinely green products have so far appeared. But it’s a question you definitely need to ask yourself for this review, as the aptly named Philips 42PFL6805H ‘Econova’ is far and away the greenest TV we’ve ever seen.
However, while we obviously try to be as green as the next man, we also love our AV quality. So our job today is to find out if going green for your next TV requires you to take massive hits on your AV features and quality - and whether its eco credentials are really extensive enough to justify a sum of £1,200 for a 42in LCD TV.
First impressions of the TV are very promising. For remarkably it completely rewrites the traditional eco product rule book by looking positively extravagant in its glistening brushed aluminium bezel and ultra-slim chassis. Even though the majority of the metallic chassis is made from recycled aluminium using less than 10 per cent of the energy you’d need to make fresh aluminium.
What’s more, one of the reasons the rear is so slim is that the Econova doesn’t actually have a back. Not in the usual way, anyway. Instead, the rear of the TV is the rear of the screen mounting plate; there’s no extra ‘bolt on’ bit, with all the wasteful material use such a cover would entail.
Philips has also cleverly saved on materials with the TV’s stand. For as well as being made again from mostly recycled aluminium, this stand can also rotate backwards to form the TV’s wall mount, so there’s no need to manufacture a separate wall mount. Ingenious.
Even more ingenious, though, is the TV’s remote control. For this lovely looking little chap actually runs on solar power, with the necessary solar panel sitting on the remote’s rear. Obviously, this might be problematic if you intend to install your Econova into a perpetually darkened room. But we didn’t have any problems during our week-long test period, and there’s a USB cable provided should you need to top the power up when light levels let it down.
Yet another headline eco feature of the Econova is its running power. For thanks to a specially designed edge LED lighting system, the set can run on just 40W. This is obviously a best-case scenario, with the screen’s brightness output at its lowest. But even so, it’s still more than twice as economical as the best efforts of the previous greenest TVs we’ve come across, Sony’s WE5 series.
Elsewhere, you can turn the TV completely off via a zero-power switch; you can ‘mute’ the screen if you only need to hear the audio; there are all sorts of light meter and auto-off settings; and finally you can call up a simple onscreen display of how much power you’re using with your current settings at any given moment.