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The new EU energy label for televisions – Everything you need to know

The new EU energy label imposes very strict standards. As a result, all current models are probably in the lowest class (G). Read more for detail.

From 1 March 2021, the use of a new type of EU energy label on TV (and a number of other devices) is mandatory, and the old labels must be removed. At first glance, the two labels are very similar, but there are important differences. What should you pay attention to, how useful is this new label, and what does it mean for the future?

What’s wrong with the old energy label?

The old energy label used a scale from A +++ to G. This is not very intuitive, it is not clear whether an appliance from the A ++ class is really that much worse than one from the A +++ class. This series of pluses is also no advantage for readability. In addition, there appear to be hardly any devices in the lower classes. For TVs, for example, only the 8K models are slightly lower (typically C and D), but the majority of the models are in A + to B.

The most important changes in brief

The scale on the new label runs from A to G. This should improve clarity and readability.

The test methods and calculations have changed. They still take into account the screen surface and a standardized measured power consumption. The indicated power consumption can therefore differ slightly between the old and new label. More importantly, however, the new standards are considerably stricter. As a result, most devices will show a much worse score. The A class should even be empty. This is to encourage manufacturers to develop more energy-efficient devices.

There is an important addition for TVs. The energy label will now indicate the consumption in SDR and in HDR. Since HDR images can be much brighter, this has a clear impact on consumption. That listing is an important step forward.

All labels will be provided with a QR code. Via this QR code you can find additional information about the device in the EPREL database (European Product Database for Energy Labeling). This is the full legal text if you want to read it.

The new energy label

View the energy label below for an explanation of the different elements on the label.

  1. The QR code that leads you to the EPREL database with additional information
  2. The name of the manufacturer
  3. The type designation / model number of the appliance
  4. Scale of the energy efficiency classes from A to G.
  5. The energy efficiency class of the appliance in SDR, at a consumption as indicated in point VI
  6. The energy consumption when playing SDR content, expressed in kWh per 1,000 hours
  7. The energy efficiency class of the appliance in HDR, at consumption as indicated in point VIII
  8. The energy consumption when playing HDR content, expressed in kWh per 1,000 hours
  9. The visible screen diagonal in centimeters and inches and horizontal and vertical resolution in pixels
  10. The number of this regulation, “2019/2013”

 

Transition period

Anyone who has bought a new TV since November 1, 2020, normally found the two types of energy labels in the box. That transition period will end on 1 March 2021. Sellers then have 14 days to change labels, both online and in physical stores.

Old and new side by side

To indicate the differences, we put the old and the new energy label of the LG OLED55CX next to each other. Which of course immediately catches the eye: the energy efficiency class on the old label is still an A, but on the new label it has tumbled to G! That while of course nothing has changed on the device. The new standards are simply considerably stricter.

 

The statement on the old energy label “151 kWh / annum” has disappeared. That number represented a daily usage of four hours a day. So you could calculate it by multiplying the consumption (109 Watt) by 4 × 365 and dividing the result by 1,000. So: 109x4x365 / 1000 = 159. The manufacturer may deduct 5% from that if the device is equipped with a light sensor and meets certain conditions. This brings you to 159 × 0.95 = 151. We have always found that number relatively meaningless because it adds little information, and because without some research in European legislation you did not know what per annum just meant.

On the new label we find “106 kWh / 1000h”. This indication replaces the annual consumption, but uses a much clearer indication, namely per 1,000 hours. That number is easy to convert into consumption for any other period. In addition, it also displays the old power consumption, as 106kWh / 1,000h means a power consumption of 106 Watt. The difference with the old label (109 Watt) is due to a slightly changed calculation method.

New is of course the consumption (and the corresponding letter code) for the HDR consumption. In this way, the new label will also provide a clear view of this. This is very important as HDR content increases consumption considerably. Moreover, as a consumer you can probably also estimate how strong the HDR capacities of your device are (especially for maximum brightness). Devices where the two numbers are close to each other will probably show little difference between HDR and SDR. With a large difference, you can assume that this means that the device has a much higher peak brightness in HDR. They are logical assumptions, but we’ll keep an eye on this next year to see if that correlation is actually visible.

The EPREL database

An interesting new fact is the EPREL database. At the moment we don’t have access to it yet, but we do know what to include. And it contains quite some interesting data. In addition to, for example, the power in standby, standby with a network connection, you will also find the screen technology used. How detailed that information will be remains to be seen. You no longer have to guess the refresh rate, it is also in the database. This way you can easily check whether a device uses a 50 or 100 Hz panel. If the device has a ‘speech recognition sensor’ (aka a microphone), you will also find that here. It is not clear whether this also means the microphone in the remote control, or just one in the TV. The complete list can be found in the original legal text.

Consequences of the new energy label

The new standards are very strict. So strict, in fact, that almost all existing devices will currently carry a G label. We have briefly calculated what the maximum consumption of a 55-inch TV may be for each energy efficiency class.

Energy efficiency class Maximum absorbed power (W)
G. > 77
F. 77
E 64
D. 51
C. 42
B. 33
a 25

This shows that even reaching the F-class will be a difficult task. After all, a 55-inch TV must consume less than 77 watts for that, and we don’t find any candidates in the 2020 lineup. For comparison, under the old regulation, a 55-inch TV was allowed to consume 112 Watts in the A-class and even up to 157 Watts in the B-class.

This strict approach is in line with the reasoning that the energy label should encourage manufacturers to make more efficient appliances. But with that, the new directive (currently) misses its goal of helping consumers make their choice. After all, if everything gets the same (bad) score, there is no longer any distinction, unless of course you look at the numbers on the label. But the new guidelines actually go even further.

The future must be even more economical

There also is a regulation which imposes maximum consumption. This is because limits are imposed on the energy efficiency index (EEI) that a device must meet in order to be allowed to enter the market. Devices that do not meet this requirement may therefore no longer be introduced (of course, this has no impact on existing models). The EEI is calculated based on the screen area and consumption. The maximums can be found in the table below.

EEImax (resolution of up to 2 138 400 pixels (HD)) EEImax (resolution of more than 2 138 400 pixels (HD) and up to 8 294 400 pixels (UHD-4k)) EEImax (resolution of more than 8,294,400 pixels (UHD-4k) and for microLED)
March 1, 2021 0.90 1.10 n / a
March 1, 2023 0.75 0.90 0.90

For the scheme on March 1, 2021, 8K screens and microled screens have already been cleared of limits. For 4K devices, the maximum EEI is 1.1. In concrete terms, this means the following maximum powers for a number of popular screen sizes. The calculation of the EEI differs slightly between LCD and OLED.

Screen size (inch) Maximum Power (W) for a UHD 4K TV Maximum Power (W) for an OLED UHD 4K TV
32 42
40 60
46 77
50 89
55 105 115
60 121
65 139 150
75 174

These are already pretty strict restrictions, but if we convert the directive of 1 March 2023 for a moment, it appears that manufacturers will have to work very hard on energy efficiency in the coming years. Especially since both 4K and 8K TVs must then meet the same directive and there are no longer any exceptions for OLED or micro-LED.

Screen size (inch) Maximum Power (W) for a UHD 4K or 8K TV
32 34
40 49
46 63
50 72
55 85
60 99
65 113
75 142

For comparison:

  • A current 55 inch OLED like the LG OLED55CX consumes 106W according to the new label. By 2023, a new 55-inch OLED model must consume a maximum of 84 watts (a decrease of 21%) to be allowed to appear on the market (still with a G label).
  • An 8K TV such as the QE65Q900T currently consumes 341 Watts. An equivalent 8K model that will be on the market after March 1, 2023 may use a maximum of 113 Watt. A decrease of 67%! And even then, the device still only has a G-label.

Admittedly, there is a transition period for these strict limits. Only devices that are above the threshold and that were produced after March 1, 2021 are not allowed to enter the market. In this way, there is probably little impact on the 2021 lineup, which devices were produced before this date.

Conclusion

The new EU energy label imposes very strict standards. As a result, all current models are probably in the lowest class (G). Of course nothing changes to the existing models, they still consume as much (or little) as before. The impact on the 2021 lineup will become apparent in the coming weeks and months. But the new standard does indicate that the legislator is pushing hard in the direction of more efficient appliances. In any case, we can only applaud that. The directive for the coming years also makes it abundantly clear that manufacturers will have to work hard on consumption. Televisions will have to reduce their consumption significantly (20% – 50% and more) in two years’ time, in order to even be allowed to appear on the market. . Even stronger efforts are needed to score in a better class. This also raises the question of whether such savings will have an impact on image quality. It is impossible to say anything about that at the moment, but we are keeping a close eye on this anyway.

 

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