How to use less electricity Home entertainment energy saving

Home entertainment, computers and gadgets will account for 45% of the electricity used in the home by 2020. 

Unlike white goods, such as washing machines and fridges, which are given an official rating for energy efficiency, there's little readily available information on the energy efficiency of your home entertainment gadgets.

Best for energy saving

Which? measures the energy consumption of many products and has found huge differences between the best and worst. Our tests on LED and plasma TVs are a good example. We have found an energy-efficient LED model which costs just £4 per year to run. 

At the opposite extreme, our tests have uncovered a 50-inch plasma TV with an annual running cost of £83 (based on watching it for five hours each day).  

An energy saving TV can also save money

Switch on your TV's eco mode to save electricity

Energy-saving TVs

LED TVs are now the most popular type of TV, and they are also far more energy efficient than LCD or plasma TVs. But, as a general rule, the bigger the TV, the more electricity it's likely to use. Find out which TVs are cheapest to run with our .

Most new TVs that are 32 inches or bigger have an ambient light sensor. This automatically adjusts the TV's settings according to how dark or light your room is when you switch it on. Our tests show that using this feature can cut energy use by 30-50%.

You should also consider switching on your TV's eco mode, if it has one. Nearly all of the latest TVs have one, and it works like an ambient light sensor but usually saves less energy. Unfortunately, picture quality suffers in both ambient and eco modes.

The radio blanking feature removes the radio station logo and other information from the screen while you listen to the radio through your TV. If your TV has this feature, it can slash energy use by 50-90%. Even if your TV can't do this, you can dim the screen while listening to some stations by following on-screen instructions.

But, of course, you don't just want a cheap-to-run TV, you want one with a brilliant picture - like our Best Buys. Read our reviews to find out which are the energy-efficient Best Buy TVs.

Computer and laptop energy costs

Computers, printers, monitors and laptops make up around 13% of the electricity used in your home, according to the Energy Saving Trust. Laptops typically use 85% less electricity than PCs, making them the energy-efficient choice.

With smaller screens and components, choosing a laptop over a PC could save you around £30 per year.

Look for energy saving PVRs

PVRs cost around £5 per year to run

Saving energy with PVRs, DVD players and set-top boxes

These generally have quite low annual running costs of around £5 per year for personal video recorders (PVRs) and £2 for set-top boxes. But they start to add up on your electricity bill because we leave many of these products on standby, rather than turning them off fully.

To find the most efficient appliances, check our energy cost estimates in our individual . 

Standby energy saving

Appliances on standby cost households £86 on average each year, according to a 2012 study by Defra. In total, this costs UK consumers £1.3 billion each year.

TVs left on standby are not the electricity guzzlers they used to be, as long as your TV is a relatively new model. This is because there are now regulations that say electronic products sold within the EU must have a standby power of less than 1W. Our Best Buy TVs use 0.1W to 0.2W in standby mode. So even if left on standby all year, they would add less than 50p to your electricity bill.

Even with lower standby costs, many households still have older, less energy-efficient models and lots of electronic gadgets. And the cost of many boxes attached to your TV adds up, so it's worth thinking about switching them off, too.

Save energy with TV recorders

Many Freeview set-top boxes and PVRs don't have proper on/off switches because they need to be on to record TV programmes and download over-the-air software updates (which add functionality to the box, update the programme guide and so on).

Which? tests have found that leaving certain models on standby can make a huge difference to energy costs. For example, the most efficient PVR we tested cost £2.84 per year. The least efficient costs £19.45 every year.

If you want to completely switch off your PVR or Freeview box, keep an eye on the Digital TV Group website or manufacturers' websites. They provide a schedule of updates, so you know when you can switch your box off (at the mains if it doesn't have an off button) without missing out.

The Sky+ PVR doesn't have an off switch, to save wear on the hard drive, and unfortunately there's not much you can do about this.

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