Buying a new TV or using an old tube TV with a converter; which uses more energy?


Environmental magazine Plenty got a doozie of a pickle of a question concerning the upcoming switch to digital TV. The gist of the question is: Which would use less energy: an old, analogue tube TV plus a converter, or a brand new digital set?

Plenty correctly identified that adding a digital converter to an analog set would result in a negligible increase in energy consumption, so it’d be okay to pick up a converter and run the old tube TV into the ground.

Me, I like to use any excuse to buy new technology, so I’d say “Gee, as long as you’re spending money on a converter box, you might as well just put that money towards a new TV.” I’d, of course, neglect to mention the $40 coupon program.

As far as new TVs go, Plasmas use far more energy that tube sets, according to Plenty, than do LCD TVs. So it’d be okay to buy a similarly-sized LCD TV to replace your tube TV. Buying a digital tube TV to replace an analog tube TV wouldn’t do much, though, because they’d use about the same amounts of energy. Also, I’d like to add that buying a big, heavy digital tube TV makes about as much sense as drinking coffee while waterskiing.

Ultimately, Plenty suggests considering a converter for now and waiting a year or two until energy consumption levels of LCD TVs plummet even further. Our official stance here at CrunchGear is: When in doubt, buy a new TV. That’s not as environmentally responsible, especially since you’d have to dump the old TV somewhere but, hey, flat panel TVs look better and there’s nothing quite like only having to use one remote.