Plasma Outlawed in Europe?

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NEW YORK, NY--There has been quite some coverage in the media about PDP sets being banned in the EU. While it makes great headlines, especially in the Euro-skeptic British press, it’s just not true. Here’s what has been stated:

Minimum energy efficiency standards for sets (essentially similar to the California Energy Commission draft proposal) that set a maximum power consumption limit proportional to screen area A mandatory Eco labeling system at point of sale, which allows consumers to understand energy consumption when choosing products. This will be compulsory. These labels are familiar to EU residents, as they are currently used on appliances and cars.

There is also a mandatory requirement to reduce standby power consumption below 1 Watt, something that set makers have generally addressed a year or so ago. The one-year grace period has just started to enable set makers to take action.

Noah Horowitz, a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, remarked that the draft European TV efficiency standard was “not very aggressive” when compared to the California Energy Commission proposal.

Some years ago I compared energy efficiency on LCD TVs. The best was a Sony, with a standby power well under 1W. The worst used an astounding 28W on standby and also made all kinds of noise even when off if a cell phone was nearby; clearly showing the chassis was active. The draft regulations will prohibit energy-inefficient designs such as this.

The new consumption regulations could create a problem for the most inefficient sets, but technologies like Panasonic’s Neo-PDP should keep PDP in the game if panel makers choose to invest. However, it may well raise the bar on PDP manufacturing and force another round of investment in new PDP drive technologies.

The proposals are in draft form, but are not specific to any technology. So PDP is not being banned, but inefficient PDP sets are. The draft is due to be published in April 2009.

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