Crazy oil, electricity and gas prices together with the prospect of global warming have made green issues arguably the hottest topic on the planet right now. So it was kind of reassuring to find all the AV brands at CEATEC putting their best green feet forward.
The most repetitive example of this could be seen in the appearance next to countless TVs of little LED readouts showing exactly how much – or rather, how little - power they were using.
Every manufacturer was convincingly able to prove in this way how far it had come in the past 12 months regarding the energy consumption of its TVs. But the overall ‘winner’ in this particular numbers game was Sony, with its JE1 LCD TVs.
The 32in KDL-32JE1, just released in Japan, is currently the most efficient 32in TV in the world, with an average running power consumption of just 89W and annual power consumption reckoned to be just 86kWh.
Having achieved these impressive figures by enhancing the efficiency of backlight tube light emission and the light transmission of optical film, Sony earned extra respect from us for its strikingly simple but effective idea of sitting the 32JE1 next to a lamp using a 100W – and therefore less efficient than the TV – light bulb.
The most extreme example of an eco-friendly TV concept, though, belonged to Sharp. Although you might not realise it, Sharp is one of the biggest players in the solar panel market. And it’s decided to put its solar panel and TV expertise together to make the world’s first solar powered TV.
Admittedly, this sounds like a pretty bonkers concept at first glance. Especially if you happen to be a TV addict living in sun-challenged Manchester. But it actually starts to make sense when you realise that Sharp is targeting the concept at the developing world, where an estimated 1.6 billion people live away from any sort of electricity grid. Having a TV powered by solar power would enable these people to settle down for an evening in front of the telly no matter where in the world they happened to be – provided they happened to be within range of a TV transmission, of course. So at last, the peoples of the Sahara will be able to watch I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here along with the, um, 'civilised' world.
Although our photograph shows a single TV scenario, complete with a solar panel large enough to drive the TV, Sharp doubtless envisages solar-powered TV as being more a community project, where much bigger solar panel arrays drive, say, the TVs of a whole village.
The TV Sharp is working on to accompany its solar power system is intended to be an ultra-efficient LCD model too, using far less power than current TVs – though this will result in it looking a bit chunkier than the slender TVs we’re used to these days, as you may be able to see from our photograph.