Since the television was invented, it has maintained its long-standing role as a medium of education, information, communication and entertainment. Through these, public opinions have been shaped, diversity has been promoted, and knowledge has been spread globally. In the modern day, televisions are used for much more, including gaming and media streaming; thus, taking the entertainment role of television higher. Other uses of televisions in the modern day include their usage as part of security systems and communication devices, making television sets even more useful now and almost indispensable. They are, therefore, not only found in homes but practically everywhere.

For whatever reason one might want to use a television, electricity to power it is required. Thankfully, advancements in technology have made it possible for most modern televisions to be energy efficient. Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), Light Emitting Diode (LED), Quantum Dot Light-Emitting Diode (QLED) and Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) flat-screen televisions have lower energy consumption compared to what pertained previously with Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) televisions and Plasma televisions. For example, generally, a 32” LED television would consume between 30 – 55 watts, while a QLED TV of the same size would consume between 55 – 60 watts for each hour they are switched on. A 32” LCD television would generally consume between 50 – 85 watts per hour when on. Most modern televisions consume about one watt per hour when on standby mode. These compare very favourably with older television versions, such as the CRT, which would require between 150 – 200 watts each hour. These are general consumptions for typical modern televisions.

The actual energy consumption of any television, however, can be found by checking for a label behind the television set or referring to the user manual. It is also important to note that these consumptions relate to standard viewing. Actual consumption depends on various factors, including resolution, brightness, and contrast settings. The implication is that if people are stuck with older television technologies, they consume more energy and pay higher bills than households who purchase newer and more modern televisions. Furthermore, consumption could increase for most modern television sets due to what the television user employs add-on features. Modern televisions allow add-on features such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and external sound systems. Enabling any of these has implications for actual energy consumption.

Fortunately, households without access to grid electricity can still use televisions. Power stations or generators can provide the energy needed to power a television. A power station or generator that can store about 1000 Wh can provide power for a modern television for up to 12 hours. Deep cycle batteries are another alternative to providing the energy needed to power a television. They can be connected to a power inverter to power a television.

Electricity is required for whatever reason one might want to use a television. Thankfully, advancements in technology have made it possible for most modern televisions to be energy efficient.

Deep-cycle lithium batteries are more common now, and a typical one could provide energy for a television set for a reasonable period. In more deprived areas, an alternative that has often been used is a car battery.

On this World Television Day, while we celebrate the goodness of television and its usefulness over the years, as well as the advancements in technologies that have produced modern televisions which have multiple uses beyond just ‘watching’, it is crucial to advocate for a switch to the energy-efficient television sets. Users of older technologies such as CRTs and Plasma ought to make plans to switch or might need friendly policies to motivate the switch to more modern television sets. At the very least, this would reduce their energy consumption while enjoying all the goodness a television offers.

Article submitted by Kwame Adjei-Mantey


The Future Africa Research Leader Fellowship (FAR-LeaF) is a fellowship programme, focussed on developing transdisciplinary research and leadership skills, to address the complex, inter-linked challenges of health, well-being, and environmental risks in Africa.