When Green Thinking And Consumerism Collide :: MAXINE
Ever ask yourself, “When is enough, enough?"
In February 2009, our television technical standards are due to changeover to High Definition broadcast transmission standards. The impacts of this changeover will have a pretty large effect on our habits, or so we are told.
On the one hand, we need to be conscious about treating our Earth right ... on the other hand, we have a requirement to embrace technological advancement.
This changeover, as mandated by law, excerpted from Wikipedia –
The FCC has notified U.S. television broadcasters that the standard for transmitting TV over-the-air shall change from analog to digital. While there are many technical, political, and economic reasons for and implications of this change, the end-result for some segments of the American TV audience will be an improvement in picture and sound quality.
From a consumer standpoint, every conventional TV with an antenna will become obsolete, unless connected to a digital tuner. After the switch to digital transmission, TVs will be unable to receive terrestrial analog RF TV broadcasts unless connected to a set-top box or other device that contains a digital tuner. Roughly 20% of viewers receive analog broadcasts over the air, and will be affected by the analog shutoff. The majority of TV watchers will not be affected. The 80% of television viewers that use cable or satellite television will not be immediately impacted. Virtually all satellite users and an increasing number of cable users already use set top boxes to view programming, and analog cable television is being phased out in many markets. For people unable to buy new digital TVs, Congress is arranging to offer cash vouchers for the purchase of digital tuners.
The last major change in TV transmission standards took place when compatible color broadcasts began in 1953. That change was engineered to be backwards-compatible, meaning that existing black-and-white TV sets would receive and display "compatible-color" broadcasts (in monochrome) without modification. The impending change to digital from analog is not backwards-compatible.
Funny that - we have global climate change and we have a global consumer change-over and neither are “BACKWARDS-COMPATIBLE”!
Where is the “Green Peacock” flying over at GE/NBC/Universal when we need it? Just last month (November 4, 2007 to be exact), the viewers of all of the NBC broadcast television properties – NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, SciFi Channel, USA Network, Telemundo, to mention a few, were treated to a healthy dose of how we all can become better world citizens if only we begin to think and behave green. “Green is Universal” was the catchy phrase. After all, we are reminded over and over that Al Gore told/lectured us that the Globe Is Warming!
We consume resources at a record level and that, as we were reminded on NBC “Green Week”, if we all replace out incandescent light bulbs with the new Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL's) we can save the planet. During the broadcast day we were treated to “Green Friendly” TIPS like - Tip #2 - By allowing more natural light into your home, you can lower the use of electricity; artificial light adds up to almost 15% of the home's total electricity. That there is some mighty fine copywriting, we'd say!
Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) - CFLs are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs because they generate the same amount of light using less energy. CFLs generate light with trapped gas, while standard incandescent lightbulbs use filaments to generate light. Caption Credit: NBC Universal -- Image Credit: Wikipedia
And this little green glossary definition found on the NBC “Green Is Universal” website -
Energy Efficiency Energy - efficiency is a measure of how much energy is needed for a product to perform its function. For example, CFLs are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs because they generate the same amount of light using less energy. Reducing energy use is important to reduce human impacts on climate change.
Not one word was mentioned about the possibility of saving gobs of energy by just turning off our brand new, big screen, flat panel plasma TV!
Plasma Television - Behind the screens are millions of cells, each one for every pixel on the screen. Inside these cells are two gases, neon and xeon, and some chemical called phosphor that glows when hit by light. This chemical was founded in 1669, accidently, by a German scientist Hennig Brand who was doing some experiments on his urine. When electrical currents run through each cells, they charge both gases into a plasma state, or ionized state. This plasma emits UV light to hit the phosphors that glows afterward. In each single cell there are 3 subcells that contain 3 different phosphors – red, green, and blue phosphors. By controlling the current that goes into each one of the subcells, the amount of red, green, and blue glows combine into millions of color combinations. Image Credit: Ken Crane’s - Panasonic HD plasma television (biggest available) spanning 103 inches and weighing 485 pounds
This excerpted from The Wall Street Journal -
That Giant Sucking Sound May Be Your New TV
By Rebecca Smith, The Wall Street Journal - Last update: 11:01 p.m. EST Dec. 12, 2007
Consider that a 42-inch plasma set can consume more electricity than a full-size refrigerator -- even when that TV is used only a few hours a day. Powering a fancy TV and full-on entertainment system -- with set-top boxes, game consoles, speakers, DVDs and digital video recorders -- can add nearly $200 to a family's annual energy bill.
While most new types of TV sets use far more electricity than the old-fashioned gadgets they replace, some upstarts are bigger energy hogs than others. In general, liquid crystal display, or LCD, screens use less power than plasma sets of comparable size. And in the largest screen sizes, projection televisions typically use less electricity than LCD or plasma models.
A 28-inch conventional television set containing a cathode-ray picture tube, or CRT, for example, often uses about 100 watts of electricity. A 42-inch LCD set, a typical upgrade item, requires about twice that amount of electricity. But the real beast is the plasma set. A 42-inch model often sucks up 200 to 500 watts, and a 60-plus-inch plasma screen can consume 500 to 600 watts, depending on the model and programming, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
In the biggest screen sizes, a projection television is a better option from an energy-use standpoint because it consumes about 150 watts to 200 watts, far less than a plasma or LCD screen.
Assuming each screen is on five hours a day, the annual energy bill for the conventional 28-inch television set would be about $30 a year, compared with about $130 for the 60-inch plasma model, assuming power costs 12 cents a kilowatt hour. By the time other devices are added -- including game consoles, speakers and DVDs -- the cost to power the whole works can top $200 annually. (How to do the math: Something that draws a constant 100 watts of electricity uses 2.4 kilowatt hours of electricity in a 24-hour period or 876 kilowatt hours in a year. At 12 cents a kilowatt hour, the annual cost would be $105.12.)
Doug Johnson, senior director of technology policy for the Consumer Electronics Association, says the industry is working to improve disclosure and energy efficiency. He says comparing television energy use to refrigerator energy use is "hackneyed," adding, "when was the last time the family gathered around the refrigerator to be entertained."
Graphic Credit: MarketWatch, The Wall Street Journal
But consumers making an effort to go greener at home -- and who also want to ditch their bulky old TV set -- can be in a bit of a bind. The energy savings gleaned from swapping out incandescent light bulbs for energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights, for example, can easily be canceled out by the pileup in entertainment gear.
Set-top boxes, which deliver programs and movies through the Internet, cable or satellite dishes, also can be energy hogs. In fact, they typically consume about -the same amount of power whether they are being used or standing by.
According to a calculation by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a typical high-definition cable box with a built-in digital recorder consumes about 350 kilowatt hours of juice annually, more than a conventional television set and clothes washer combined.
For its part, the EPA appears to have settled on a process that will allow consumers to compare sets of the same size, across technology types. The agency expects to have improved Energy Star labels on television screens by November 2008 and to get them on set-top boxes, also in active and standby modes, by December 2008.
At MAXINE, our wallets and brains are exploding due to the collision of well intentioned and possible necessary technical changeover and nature.
The real and perceived change from both directions, the law of the FCC and the natural forces found here on Earth for hundreds of millions of years, require our attention and action, both are immovable forces, and both are not backward-compatible.