These days, TVs are packed with apps, extra features, and more settings than most of us will ever know what to do with. Whether you have a budget model or the best TV on the market, the choices can be overwhelming. Another thing you may notice while surfing through the different settings of your TV is the power saving mode often called Eco mode.
Conserving energy (and saving money) sounds like a slam-dunk—especially if you’re looking for a more eco-responsible lifestyle. But what does Eco mode do, and is it worth keeping it on?
What is Eco mode?
Eco mode is a setting you can find on many TVs designed to reduce power consumption. Sometimes it’s a dedicated picture mode, but more often, it’s a standalone setting that changes the picture mode itself, among other settings. In most cases, this option is done by default out of the box.
These settings go by many names: Eco Mode, Energy Saving Step, and Brightness Adjustment, to name just a few.
What does Eco mode do?
Unsurprisingly, the easiest way to reduce the power consumption of a TV is to reduce its display. These energy-saving settings do just that: dim the display’s brightness, often based on the amount of light in the room. TVs that base their energy saving measures on ambient light do so with hidden light sensors. From the manufacturer’s point of view, Eco mode also allows TVs to meet certain power consumption limits set by government agencies.
Where can I find Eco mode on my TV?
Contrary to what you might think, the TV’s power saving options are not found in the picture settings menu. Instead, you can find options located under menu options called General, System, Support, or Advanced. In the case of an OLED TV (like the LG C2), you can access these settings in the OLED Care submenu, which is included in Device Self Care.
If you can’t find any power- or power-saving settings, check for anything that refers to the TV’s light sensor. Since most power-saving settings use a light sensor to dim the TV’s brightness based on ambient light conditions, some TV brands take a more direct approach to labeling the settings.
Here’s an important thing to remember: Depending on the make and model, your TV’s power saving/ambient light sensor setting may not be global, but instead, it’s limited to the selected picture mode. If you change the TV’s picture mode or input, check again if the power saving settings have not reset.
Should I use Eco mode for my TV?
Literally, no. At least, not if you want the highest picture quality on your television. Before we take a TV to our test lab for analysis, we always disable any power-saving or light-sensing components. We do this because we want to test the TV in the best possible way, and there is nothing better than when the display is automated.
Take High Dynamic Range (HDR), for example. This content delivery format is designed to take advantage of the brightness and color saturation of today’s TVs. Most TVs you can buy now support HDR – even the most affordable models.
HDR that looks impressive relies on a wide dynamic range between the darkest and brightest elements of the image. If the TV reduces its brightness, the highlights will not come out and the near-dark tones will be crushed, resulting in a dull picture. What’s the point of investing in the best TV you can buy if you don’t get much of a return?
Yes, the TV’s power saving mode saves power. But unless you keep the TV on all day, the amount of energy it saves is negligible. If you do keep the TV on all day, there’s a good chance you’re not paying much attention to it in the first place, so you can keep Eco mode on.
What are some ways to reduce energy consumption?
If you’re concerned about cutting back on energy savings and would like to take steps to reduce energy consumption, consider setting your TV’s backlight to a slightly lower setting. This will keep your display more eco-conscious without the light sensor constantly making adjustments to the image.
Alternatively, you can always keep the power of your TV on during normal, everyday viewing (watching the news, catch some games) and turn it off once movie night rolls around. You’ll save energy around the edges while making the most of your TV’s features with more viewing.
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