Is California getting ready to ban big-screen TV’s?

150″ Panasonic “Life Wall”

The influential lobby group Consumer Electronics Assn. is fighting what appears to be a losing battle to dissuade California regulators from passing the nation’s first ban on energy-hungry big-screen televisions…

“Voluntary efforts are succeeding without regulations,” said Doug Johnson, the association’s senior director for technology policy. Too much government interference could hamstring industry innovation and prove expensive to manufacturers and consumers, he warned…

The association’s views weren’t shared by everyone in the TV business. Representatives of some TV makers, including top-seller Vizio Inc. of Irvine, said they would have little trouble complying with tighter state standards without substantially increasing prices…

“We would not propose TV efficiency standards if we thought there was any evidence in the record that they will hurt the economy,” said Commissioner Julia Levin, who has been in charge of the two-year rule-making procedure. “This will actually save consumers money and help the California economy grow and create new clean, sustainable jobs…”

California’s estimated 35 million TVs and related electronic devices account for about 10% of all household electricity consumption, the Energy Commission staff reported. But manufacturers quickly are coming up with new technologies that are making even 50-inch-screen models much more economical to operate.

New features, such as light-emitting diodes that consume tiny amounts of power, special reflective films and sensors that automatically adjust TV brightness to a room’s viewing conditions, are driving down electricity consumption, experts said.

I’m saving my pennies, now, waiting for LED-full backlit LCD’s to get down to affordable – for me. I’m not an early adopter on TV sets. But, the set I have in mind will use about 30% less electricity than the critter currently inhabiting the entertainment corner of our living room.

Oh, the Panasonic “Life Wall” up top? I could fit it into one end of the living room if I took out the woodburning stove. And I probably wouldn’t need the stove, anymore – after that.