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ENERGY STAR Televisions Specification V9 Focuses on Dynamic Luminance


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is nearing completion of the Final Draft of ENERGY STAR® Television Specification Version 9, first proposed in 2020. Driven by the development of 4K and 8K ultra-high-definition TVs, key changes in the newest specification include simplifying the test method for on-mode power limits and setting uniformed standby power limits for all smart TV operating systems.

The EPA is also establishing new rules to disincentivize overly dim default luminance levels, to deter TV manufacturers from creating unrealistically dim conditions to meet energy consumption requirements.

On-Mode Power Limits

One of the biggest changes with Version 9 is the emphasis on Dynamic Luminance (DL), meant to capture more real-world conditions under which LED TVs operate. During testing, each new TV model is measured for on-mode power (POA) under three Preset Picture Settings (PPS).

Figure 1 - TV PPS Energy Usage Example

  • Default
  • Brightest
  • HDR10 (High Dynamic Range)

Each PPS has an associated On-Mode Power Limit, calculated based on the TV’s viewable screen area and DL. The latest draft allows a TV to qualify if the average on-mode power under all three PPS falls below the average limit.

In the example show in Figure 1, a TV is 16 W under the on-mode power limit in HDR10 setting and 23 W under the limit in the brightest setting. Even though it is 9 W over the limit in default setting, the average of all three PPSs is 10 W, and under the average limit. Therefore, this TV can qualify for ENERGY STAR. This average on-mode power limit approach provides TV manufacturers the flexibility to use more power in high-performance settings like HDR10 or Brightest, as long as the rest of the settings consume less energy to balance it out. However, this also opens the door for possible gaming of the system by dimming one or more PPSs overly low to claim unrealistic energy savings.

Don’t Cheat!

Figure 2 - Dynamic Luminance vs. Screen DiagonalTo eliminate the incentive to overly dim, the EPA proposes a lower luminance threshold for use in calculations related to on-mode power limit compliance. The threshold is 20 cd/m2 for default and brightest modes and 10 cd/m2 for HDR. Because there is no current policy incentive for the DL to be at any particular level, the datapoints in Figure 2 represent what manufacturers believe consumers want.

The EPA emphasizes that these thresholds are not minimum luminance requirements for TVs – they only apply to energy saving claims. TVs can have any default brightness setting and still participate in ENERGY STAR.

Standby-Active, Low Mode

Another simplification is in standby-active, low-mode power. The latest draft requires this mode to be tested only after entering from the default SDR PPS.

Draft 2 also proposes a standby-active, low-mode limit of 1 W. Out of the 37 tested TV models that were connected to an active network, 17 models maintained standby-active, low-mode power well below 1 W. Based on that, the EPA believes it is possible for manufacturers to work with their operating system providers to keep standby power levels below this limit.

To learn more about PI’s ultra-low standby consumption solutions, which maintain high efficiency and maximize usable power in standby-active, low mode, visit the TVs & Monitors application page.

For all materials related to the revised specification, visit the ENERGY STAR TVs product development page: