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Power Technology

DAM Pops Energy Star's Bubble 147

Martin Hellman writes "Last month we discussed a major problem with the EPA's Energy Star program. A Sony TV that was advertised to draw less than 0.1 watts in standby mode was actually drawing 15 watts — 150 times the stated value. A lack of information in the user manual and a poor response from Sony led me to suspect the problem was with the Electronic Program Guide feature, but a lack of information in the User Guide and a lack of response from Sony made it impossible to be sure — or to turn off the EPG. At current prices, that power consumption cost me about as much as a subscription to TV Guide magazine! The EPG was not as free as the on screen instructions would have you believe. Now, Device Guru reports on the resolution of that issue. As suspected, the problem was with the EPG, and there is a way to turn it off — now documented in that story. The problem is probably not unique to Sony or TVs that claim Energy Star compliance (devices are self-certified by the manufacturers!), so picking up a power meter is likely to have a good return on investment. As a result of this waste of power, the EPA is planning for future versions of the Energy Star requirements to limit the amount of time a TV can spend in Download Acquisition Mode (DAM) as the time for acquiring the EPG is known."
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DAM Pops Energy Star's Bubble

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2009 @11:07AM (#26772391)

    It's a little like hiring the A-team to eradicate your rat infestation. You're paying a premium to save money in the long run, but the long run simply isn't long enough to justify the short-term expense.

    No, this is simply misleading advertising/fraud. Sony claims the TV meets standard X, and it doesn't.

    Summon the lawyers, and file a class action lawsuit.

    Odds are pretty good many other TV manufacturers do the same thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2009 @11:16AM (#26772445)

    I obviously turn off the devices first. At that point they are supposed to be drawing very little power. If they are drawing enough power, even when off, that powering up and down is going to harm then why have an off button on the device at all?

  • Same with Panasonic (Score:5, Informative)

    by Exp315 ( 851386 ) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @11:54AM (#26772699)
    I had exactly the same experience with my Panasonic TV. I put a power meter on it shortly after I bought it and discovered that it was drawing 20 watts when off instead of the promised 0.1 watts. I figured that the problem might be the EPG, and discovered with experimentation that the undocumented method of putting in a Zip code of 000000 disabled it and solved the problem.
  • by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <.moc.xobreven. . ... .vidavsxd54sals.> on Sunday February 08, 2009 @12:48PM (#26773199) Homepage

    You shouldn't be flipping a DVR on and off. Not only is that harmful, as DVRs are computers with filesystems and whatnot that can lose integrity, but it defeats the purpose of having a DVR. (And many of them can't be shut down correctly in any easy manner.)

    It's your TV that really needs to be on a power switch, along with possibly your amp. (My damn stereo has a light to indicate it's off. Yeah, thanks for that.) And DVD players, many of which don't even have the concept of 'off'. And VCRs that aren't used for recording if you still have one of those around. And don't forget AV switches...don't need to switch around if nothing's turn on.

  • Not in the manual? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2009 @01:58PM (#26773817)

    The specifications page at the end of the manual clearly states:

    * While the TV is collecting TV Guide data and/or during software update the power consumption is less than 30W.

  • by Matt Perry ( 793115 ) <> on Sunday February 08, 2009 @02:29PM (#26774151)

    As an aside, what colour is a mirror?


  • by hjf ( 703092 ) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @02:57PM (#26774471) Homepage

    what? first: a 100mA 4.5V wall-wart uses 0.45W at full-load and inefficiency load makes it use 0.9W. even on 1% load it still draws about 50% of its rating.

    second: where do you get the single-wattage power converter idea???? at least Philips TVs, even the cheapest one sold for about USD 150 here in Argentina has dual power supplies. A so-called "burst" psu which makes it use less than 0.5W on standby. That's the "standby" psu. It also has a full-power psu. the microprocessor is constantly going into "sleep" mode to save even more power, it uses so little energy that you can unplug it and the standby led will stay on for a couple of minutes (!). Newer models don't even have a standby led to save even more power (it turns itself off after a few seconds).

    Philips audio sets also have "eco-power": they even turn off the VFD and don't show the time while on standby.

    (Disclaimer: I work as an authorized philips repair technician. I learned all that in training)

  • by pyrrhonist ( 701154 ) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @04:36PM (#26775581)
    You know what's really going to make the your head asplode?

    Sony TVs come with a printed version of the GPL and LGPL!
    (also the license statements for OpenSSL, FreeType2, Expat, Curl, Popt, and libjpeg)

    ...and, yes, they provide the link to the source code [].

    They're evil, but they're in compliance with the GPL.
    They're evil, but they're in compliance with the GPL.
    They're evil, but they're in compilance with the GPL.

  • Re:Infidel ! (Score:2, Informative)

    by roaddemon ( 666475 ) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @06:59PM (#26777111)

    Awesome: "the faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorn is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that they are pink; we logically know that they are invisible because we can't see them."

Think of it! With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!