6 green TVs that'll save you money & the planet
15th May 2009 | 11:15
TVs that won't drain power or kill the environment
Panasonic TX-P46G10 - £1,250
Proof that plasma loves the planet as much as LCD
Conventional wisdom – of the pro-LCD persuasion, at any rate – holds that plasma requires far more power than liquid crystal. Panasonic is out to contradict this theory with its latest generation of NeoPDP gas flatscreens with the introduction of the TX-P46G10.
With the P46G10, Panasonic provides two ways of benefiting from its NeoPDP design, enabling you to either enjoy twice the brightness of Panasonic's normal plasma TVs while using the same amount of energy, or else get 'normal' Panasonic plasma brightness levels from half the 'normal' energy use.
There are still signs of judder during camera pans, and colours occasionally look a bit green-tinged, with a bit of sporadic orangey red thrown in too.
But otherwise the P46G10 is surprisingly affordable and proof that you really don't have to sacrifice quality to go green.
Read more: Panasonic TX-P46G10 review
Samsung UE-46B8000 - £2,000
Solid mid-range screen with good looks and decent performance
The Samsung 8 series UE-46B8000 LED TV is currently being backed by a huge TV advertising campaign in the UK. Viewers are instructed to simply search for "Samsung LED".
Clearly, Samsung is trying to create some buzz around its new LED TVs, and it's working.
Just like many other strong eco TVs, Samsung's green efforts extend right back to the UE-46B8000's core construction.
Slight backlight inconsistencies appear if you watch the screen from much of an angle; the 200Hz engine can cause processing side effects if used on anything other than its Clear setting; the sound system lacks bass; and black levels can look washed out from some digital sources if you don't use the HDMI Level Low menu tweak.
However, while not perfect, pictures are still every bit as gorgeous as its design. And you couldn't really ask for more than that.
Read more: Samsung UE-46B8000 review
Buy from our affiliates: 1staudiovisual
Sharp LC-46DH77E - £1,000
Full HD super-sized screen offering excellent value for money
Pretty as a picture, the Sharp LC-46DH77E LCD TV cuts more of a dash than previous Sharp sets. But, more importantly, it's also one of the first to feature a dedicated 'Eco' button on its remote control.
This means that every time you use the remote, you're getting a visual reminder that you could be running your TV more efficiently. Plus, you only have to press a single button to deploy this extra efficiency.
If you're after a 46in panel, then £1,000 is pretty good price tag, making this a great value TV. But, within the context of this group, there's no getting round the fact that it falls short of a number of its rivals in terms of both its overall performance standards and its level of green support.
Read more: Shap LC-46DH77E review
Sony KDL-40WE5 - £1,319
Sony's first dedicated Eco TV breaks the 100W barrier
There is one feature inside Sony's eye-catchingly white KDL-40WE5 that we just can't ignore – a power consumption of just 97W while it's in use.
This figure is lower than those claimed by most 32in – and even some 26in – TVs and more than 50 per cent lower than the manufacturer's own 40W4500 40-incher. The main reason for this power saving is newly developed backlight technology, which uses Hot Cathode Fluorescent lamps (HCFLs), rather than the usual CCFLs.
With the KDL-40WE5's excellent pictures being joined by some suitably powerful and clean audio, the only negative thing to say about this terrific 40in eco warrior is that its colours and contrast drop off if you watch from a wide angle. Otherwise, it's all good. Very, very good.
Read more: Sony KDL-40WE5 review
JVC LT-42DV1 - £1,250
The company's second Super Slim TV marks a big improvement over its first
JVC's LT-42DS9 was the first really thin flat TV to appear in the UK. But it was also an award-winningly eco-friendly set for numerous reasons. Now the sequel is here in the shape of the LT-42DV1.
And although at 69mm at its deepest point it's not significantly slimmer than the LT-42DS9, the LT-42DV1 does deliver one or two extra green touches.
This JVC set uses a little less power, for instance – just 159W, typically.
Turning the dynamic contrast system on definitely deepens black levels, but only at the expense of a little shadow detail and a tendency for brightness levels to jump around rather obviously. It doesn't help black levels, either, that the set's contrast reduces considerably if you have to watch from the side.
Read more: JVC LT-42DV1 review
LG 42LH5000 - £1,050
Solid green credentials join forces with good performance and sumptuous design
Korean manufacturer LG may not make the biggest noise about its green credentials, but it has been quietly making impressive inroads into power consumption for longer than most with the release of the 42LH5000
While its 141W power consumption might not be the best ever, it's still a respectable figure, and is backed up by a healthy set of features designed to keep energy use as low as possible
These include automatic backlight controls; the unusually sophisticated Intelligent Sensor II system for reducing image brightness in response to dwindling light levels in your room; a proper mechanical power off button; and, most unusually of all, six 'smart energy saving' modes for adjusting the screen's overall brightness leve.
Read more: LG 42LH5000 review
The best-in-test winner
Winner: Sony KDL-40WE5
Innovation and value give Sony the green light
We expected to find compromised picture standards in our pursuit of a healthier planet, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Bottom of the pile is the Sharp, which is a bit weak with standard definition, fiddly to use, and doesn't sound very good. It is too hard to pick between the LG and JVC 42DV1 for fourth and fifth spots.
But in the end, despite the Korean set having the edge on design, connectivity and features, it comes in fifth with the JVC fourth – chiefly on account of the latter's superior standard-definition pictures and black level response.
Our top three TVs are all genuine Best Buys, so separating them is tough. The Panasonic takes the bronze position as it lacks the green features and wow factor of the other two.
The Samsung set produces the best overall picture quality in this group test, once you've set it up right. And it looks outrageously gorgeous. But its relatively high price together with its flat audio ultimately hand victory to the innovative and startlingly good Sony 40WE5.
Read more: Sony KDL-40WE5 review