Aussie government hits flat TV manufacturers with new stds

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Canberra, Oct 10 (UNI) Plasma and liquid crystal dislay (LCD) television manufacturers in Australia are facing a tough time after a government report suggested new energy efficiency standards for flat TVs which are not ''green''.

Most of the Plasma televisions and LCD sets consume a major chunk of energy and they have to meet a set of minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and a star-based energy rating programme to remain in the market, a report prepared by Digital Cenergy Australia in association with the Australian Greenhouse Office recommended.

After October 2008, if any product fails to get a single star rating, it will be banned from the market. Another set of standards will be introduced in April 2011, the Melbourne Herald Sun quoted the report as saying.

The Australian government took the decision on the basis of startling data of Equipment Energy Efficiency Committee that revealed that televisions were the fourth biggest user of energy in the home after space heaters and coolers, water heaters and refrigerators.

Also, Digital Cenergy had tested 116 television sets including more than 20 plasma models. Only four of the plasma sets could meet good standards of energy efficiency, the test showed.

Reacting to the discussion paper, many manufacturers say that the deadline set by the report is ''too close'' and many plasma and LCD TV sets available for sale would unable to get one-star rating.

Panasonic, plasma TV manufacturer, said it was reviewing the discussion paper and did not want to comment at this stage while LG expressed hope that flat TVs would remain in the market, though some manufacturing changes have to be made.

''Plasma continues to be a viable technology that has proved very popular with Australian consumers. LG plans to continue offering a wide range of the latest screen technologies to our customers into the future, including plasma, '' it said.

Confident of complying with the proposed standards, Sony visual display senior product manager Graham Keogh said, ''Globally, TV energy consumption has been a priority factor in Sony product design. All models in Sony's current range already have frugal power requirements.'' ''In terms of the MEPS...like many LCD models on the market, Bravia LCD TVs already comply with many of the standards suggested in the Digital CEnergy discussion paper, '' he added.

Ironically, flat panel TV sales exceeded 550 million dollars in the second quarter of 2007 with more than 100,000 units being sold each month, market research company GfK sales figure revealed.

United Kingdom, United States and Japan are also drafting similar proposals.

UNI

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