Consider operating cost of giant TV

If you find the giant TV of your dreams on sale over the holiday, take a minute to check how much electricity it uses before you buy it.

It used to be that a huge television screen would use as much energy in a year as your refrigerator. But manufacturers have done a good job of making models that consume much less electricity and have a minimal effect on your electric bill.

The exception is the plasma TV: That one is still something of an energy hog.

A few tips if you’re buying a TV during the next big electronics sale:

Buy a screen with LED technology. Like the LED light fixtures in your home, this technology uses less energy and the lights burn for longer.

Study the yellow-and-black EnergyGuide label that the U.S. government requires on every new TV. It will tell you approximately how much running that set will cost you in utility costs so you can compare products.

Another label to look for when you shop for a new TV: The Energy Star label. This one’s not required, but TVs that qualify to display it use about 27 percent less energy than others.

If you’re also buying a set-top box, Blu-Ray player and soundbar, look for Energy Star-qualified models. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that you can save nearly $140 over the life of the products.

Once you get the TV home, turn it off when you’re not watching it. While a TV that’s turned off will still use trace amounts of electricity if it’s still plugged in, one that’s running in an empty room will waste even more energy.