Energy savings opportunities in the global digital television transition

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Journal Article

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Globally, terrestrial television (TV) broadcasting is in the midst of a complete transition to digital signals. The last analog terrestrial broadcast is expected to be switched off in the early 2020s. This transition presents huge energy savings opportunities that have thus far been ignored. Digital TV switchovers have likely increased energy consumption as countries have completed transitions by providing digital TV converters to analog TV users, which increase energy consumption and extend the life of energy-inefficient analog TVs. We find that if analog TVs were retired at the time of a digital switchover and replaced with super-efficient flat-panel TVs, such as light-emitting diode (LED) backlit liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs, there is a combined electricity savings potential of 32 terawatt hours [TWh] per year in countries that have not yet completed their digital TV transition. In view of these findings as well as the dramatic drops of super-efficient TV prices and the unique early-retirement opportunity resulting from cessation of terrestrial analog broadcasts, TV-exchange programs would easily and substantially advance energy efficiency.


Energy Efficiency

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Research Areas