Stories enter the public consciousness. Like the one about the alligators in the New York sewers – or the one which states that The Great Wall Of China is the only man-made structure that can be seen from space – or the one that says you should switch your TV off while you are not watching it, since when it is on “standby” it consumes nearly as much power as when it is switched ON.
But the problem with all these stories is – they are BOGUS.
I have already dealt elsewhere with the first two – so let us examine the third. It first emerged in the Seventies. At that time OLD tellies still had transformers, which DID consume a significant amount of power when they were running in standby mode – but nothing LIKE as much as the tube and EHT circuits which ran when it was ON.
But the then-LATEST TVs had SWITCH-MODE power supplies which consumed FAR less power – and when the sets were on standby, only PART of those were active.
Now Your Humble Scribe was a service engineer then – however, even someone incapable of changing a light-bulb ought to have realised this story was horsefeathers. All they had to do was compare the HEAT coming from the ventilation slots at the back of the cabinet when the set had been off for a while – with the heat coming out when it was ON.
And yet this ridiculous story persists to THIS DAY – so let me lay it to rest.
My own telly is a 47″ LCD – and being BIG, it consumes 350 watts when on. But on standby, it consumes less than TWO watts – and half of THAT goes to power the yellow LED indicator lamp on the front. Unfortunately, Philips don’t DARE tell people to LEAVE the set on standby – they just HINT at it by revealing the standby power consumption.
And while it appears you CAN turn it FULLY off, using the switch on the side – you are not actually DOING so. All you are doing is telling the logic circuit to extinguish the INDICATOR LAMP! You see, that switch is not really a switch at all – merely a button that connects to the main board. No relay drops out. NOTHING happens, except to that LED lamp. The set is powered up for as long as the mains plug remains in the wall socket.
Of course In My Day, when TV stations closed down for the night (yes, I’m old enough to remember when TV stations DID that) an announcer would often tell people to disconnect their tellies from the wall. This was supposed to be for safety reasons – i.e., OLD tellies WERE prone to catching fire in the middle of the night. But nowadays, modern circuitry has made that a virtual impossibility.
No, these days, the only worthwhile reason to isolate a TV – by disconnecting the AERIAL (or decoder box) – is to protect it from LIGHTNING STRIKES. But given the erratic behaviour of lightning – and the rarity of aerials actually being hit – AND the fact that most household contents insurance policies cover it anyway – it’s hardly worth it.
And as for saving money on your electricity bill – the few PENNIES you’ll save every year will not even cover the cost of the phone call you’ll eventually have to make to the electrician you’ll have to call – to come and replace the sockets you’ll wear out by constantly pulling the plugs in and out of them.
So when you’re done watching the goggle-box, boob-tube, whatever, just HIT the damn “standby” button – and try not to lose the remote!