OLED and LED TV Power Consumption and Electricity Cost

Updated

If you wonder how much electricity a TV uses, check the following calculator to estimate the annual electricity cost of a television as defined by size, viewing length, electricity cost, and TV technology. Keep in mind that this is just an estimate, and your final power consumption all depends on the content you watch and the settings used.

How We Test

Before we get into the details of power consumption, let's explain how we test for power consumption. We plug the TV into a Kill-A-Watt meter which measures the wattage. We display our checkerboard test pattern in SDR after calibration with local dimming disabled, and we record the power consumption. This is supposed to give an idea of everyday usage, but since everyone's consumption is different, it's simply an estimate. As for the max consumption, we set the TV in HDR with the checkerboard pattern, which sets the brightness to the max and enables local dimming, and we record the wattage in this situation.

TV Power Consumption Calculator

Now that we have that out of the way, let's talk about power consumption. Most modern TVs don't take up much power as technologies such as LED and OLED have brought television power usages down a fair margin. Gone are the days of inefficient CRTs and plasma sets that could run up electricity costs by a good amount or even overheat. 

Along with developments in technology that have allowed for more energy-efficient TVs, other new advances need more power, like HDR, which requires TVs to get brighter. Larger TV sizes are also becoming more popular, so they need more power than smaller TVs, even if they use the same technology. However, even then, TVs still don't require a whole lot of power to function, and they won't be burning a hole into your wallet when you get your utility bill.

Heat considerations

TVs that require more power also get hotter. For most 4k TVs, this isn't too much of a problem, but we've noticed 8k TVs get hot. If you have a TV that gets hot, it's best to avoid placing it in a hot room and allow for good air ventilation around it. This shouldn't be much of a problem in the winter because it may actually help heat your room, but you can end up spending more on air conditioning to cool it down in the summer. Then again, most 4k TVs won't get hot enough to make a big difference in the winter or summer.

How Much Power Does A TV Use: The Relationship Between Electricity Cost & Size

OLED and LED Power Consumption

As you can see in this chart plotting TVs from 2016 and 2017, there's a definite link between size and power consumption. Some features, such as full-array local dimming, are more costly, both to build and use. They require more LEDs than standard direct-lit and edge-lit type LCD TVs, but this isn't represented in the chart. OLEDs have been consistently more power-hungry than the average LED models. In both cases, it's not a ton of power, especially compared to older plasma TVs that often consumed twice as much as even the hungriest LEDs and OLEDs.

2021 update

This chart above is a bit old now, so don't look at the data points, but the trends still apply under our latest Test Bench 1.6 with 2020 and 2021 TVs. Out of our 4k TVs that we've tested, the TVs that require the most power in SDR are generally OLEDs. Seven of the ten most power-hungry TVs are OLEDs, and the three LEDs in the top 10 are 65, 75, and 85 inches. Larger TVs still require more power than smaller ones, which is expected. We noticed another trend with the Max Power Consumption: the 4k TVs that require the most power are also some of brightest, which are all LEDs. Even if you get an LED TV, it doesn't mean it will need less power than OLED if you constantly watch HDR content at its max brightness.

Another trend we notice is that 8k TVs require a lot more power than 4k TVs. This makes sense because 8k TVs have four times the pixels as 4k TVs, so they need more energy to power. When testing 8k TVs at their max consumption power, they often get too hot to touch, which we rarely notice with 4k TVs.

You can see the full table with Test Bench 1.6 here

Brightness And Energy Consumption

OLED and LED Brightness and Energy Consumption

Not only does consumption scale with size, but it also almost perfectly scales with brightness. As you can see above, raising your brightness from minimum progressively leads to higher consumption and inevitably higher costs. Reducing the brightness to the 50% setting instead of max doesn't exactly halve the energy use, but that's mostly because other parts of the TV also consume some energy.

Tips For Reducing TV Power Consumption

  • Lower the backlight setting. The backlight is by far the biggest drain on your power, and the lower you can get your backlight, the less power your TV will consume. Placing your TV in a dark or dimly lit environment will help you avoid needing a bright backlight.
  • Turn the TV off. It may sound basic, but some people leave their TVs running all the time. Leaving a TV on constantly will result in much higher costs than if you turn the TV off. This rule applies to any plugged-in electronic device, though.
  • A lot of TVs have a “Quick Start” feature. This usually means that they stay in standby mode when you press the power button instead of shutting off completely. Turning these features off can help, but some models also allow you to hold the power button on the remote to shut down completely.
  • Most TVs today feature a light sensor that can adjust the TV's brightness to the room. Instead of having the TV constantly run at a static brightness, this feature can help reduce consumption by lowering the brightness when it isn't needed. However, some people may not enjoy this because it constantly changes the brightness.
  • If you often fall asleep in front of the TV at night, make use of its sleep timer feature. This greatly reduces consumption since you're not leaving the TV on when you're not watching it.

Conclusion

Power consumption varies from TV to TV and with the type of content you watch. However, there's a trend that larger, brighter, and 8k TVs require the most power to function. OLEDs also tend to have slightly higher energy consumption than LEDs, but not if you're using a bright LED TV and watching HDR content. You can use our power consumption calculator above to give you an estimate of how much you'll be spending on electricity annually, but it all depends on the type of content you watch.

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