Cost To Run A TV Revealed [8 Cost Saving Tips + Calculator]

See how much it costs to run a TV by size & resolution. Keep your TV running costs low with these 8 easy cost saving tips. And use this calculator to work out your own costs.

Following on from the TV wattage study, which analysed the power consumption of 107 of the best and most efficient TVs on the market, let’s take a look at TV running costs.

Spoilers:

  • The average cost to run a TV is $1.34 per month ($16.04 annually).
  • Per hour, modern TVs cost between $0.0015 and $0.0176 to run, with the average costing $0.0088.
  • Running a TV 24/7 in Standby mode costs between $0.66 and $3.94 per year.

The running costs for specific TV sizes and resolutions are listed below, along with 8 easy ways to reduce your running costs.

Cost to run a TV image with TV and dollars

Cost to run a TV

On average, in the US, it costs $1.34 per month ($16.04 annually) to run a TV. Per day, assuming the device is in On mode only, it costs 21 cents to run a TV (0.0088 cents per hour).

This is based on the average unit rate of electricity in the US (i.e. 15 cents).

In addition to identifying the average TV power consumption, the study of 107 of the best modern TVs reveals the lowest, highest and most common TV wattage. Taking these results along with the average cost of electricity in the US, the table below shows how the average cost to run a TV compares with the cost to run TVs with the lowest, highest and most common wattage.

TV wattage categoryCost per hourCost per dayCost per monthCost per year
Average$0.0088$0.21$1.34$16.04
Most common$0.0176$0.42$2.58$30.90
Highest$0.0176$0.42$2.65$31.80
Lowest$0.0015$0.04$0.25$2.94

The average cost to run a TV is considerably lower (nearly half) than the TVs with the highest and most common wattage.

Annually, it costs over 4 times more to run a TV with an average wattage compared to the TV with the lowest recorded wattage (i.e. Spectre – E18).

The cost to run a TV depends on many factors including the wattage, price you pay per unit (i.e. kWh) of electricity, TV size, resolution, settings, etc. 

The level of usage is another key factor.

Annual and monthly usage is assumed to be 5 hours in On mode (daily), and 19 hours (daily) in either standby-active, low mode (standby while connected to a network, if this is available) or standby-passive mode. Energy Star and manufacturers typically make this assumption in their power consumption reports.

For hourly and daily usage I assume usage will be in On mode continuously (so I’m disregarding Standby mode for these shorter periods of time).

Cost to run a TV per hour

Modern TVs cost between $0.0015 and $0.0176 to run per hour, with the average and most common costing $0.0088 and $0.0176 respectively.

Financially, the difference between the lower and higher end of the hourly running costs is not substantial, at just over 1.6 cents.

However, relatively speaking, the difference is substantial – it costs over 1,000% more to run a high wattage TV compared to energy efficient models.

TV size has a considerable impact on the cost to run a TV per hour – continue reading to see the hourly running cost by TV size. But first, let’s briefly take a look at the cost of leaving a TV on all day.

Cost of leaving a TV on all day

Leaving a TV on for a full day costs between 4 cents and 42 cents in electricity, with the average being 21 cents.

Financially, the cost difference may not appear substantial, but the difference in expense adds up considerably over time.

Leaving a TV in On mode uses a lot more electricity compared to Standby mode. So, let’s quickly take a look at costs in standby mode.

Cost to run a TV on standby

This study shows that modern TVs consume between 0.5W to 3W in Standby mode.

Running a TV 24/7 in Standby mode costs:

  • Between $0.000075 and $0.00045 per hour.
  • Between $0.0018 and $0.0108 per day.
  • Between $0.06 and $0.33 per month (31 days).
  • Between $0.66 and $3.94 per year.

How much it costs to run a TV by size

As mentioned, TV size impacts the amount of electricity a TV consumes and, therefore, its running costs.

The table below lists the average running costs (assuming 15c per kWh) for different TV sizes.

TV sizeCost per hourCost per day / 24hrsCost per monthCost per year
19 inch TV$0.0025$0.06$0.41$4.86
24 inch TV$0.0030$0.07$0.48$5.71
32 inch TV$0.0042$0.10$0.67$8.07
40 inch TV$0.0051$0.12$0.81$9.69
43 inch TV$0.0072$0.17$1.04$12.44
50 inch TV$0.0106$0.25$1.64$19.64
55 inch TV$0.0115$0.28$1.76$21.13
65 inch TV$0.0142$0.34$2.12$25.42
70 inch TV$0.0164$0.39$2.56$30.75
75 inch TV$0.0172$0.41$2.54$30.50

The average cost to run a TV varies with size.

19 inch TVs cost $4.86 per year to run, while at $30.50, 75 inch TVs cost over 500% more to run annually.

Interestingly, on average, it’s cheaper to run a 75 inch TV compared to a 70 inch TV (the reason for this is explained here). However, generally speaking, the larger the TV the more expensive it is to run.

Another factor that impacts the cost to run a TV is screen resolution.

How much it costs to run a TV by screen resolution

The table below shows how much it costs, on average, to run modern TVs based on screen resolution.

TV resolutionCost per hourCost per day / 24hrsCost per monthCost per year
720p$0.0038$0.09$0.54$6.50
1080p (Full HD)$0.0050$0.12$0.80$9.57
2160p (4K)$0.0120$0.29$1.89$22.73

As expected, the lower the resolution the lower the running costs.

It costs over twice as much to run a 4K TV compared to a Full HD TV.

Per year, on average, it costs $6.50 to run a 720p TV, $9.57 to run a Full HD TV and $22.73 to run a 4K TV.

Now that we know the average running costs by resolution and size, let’s look at how much it costs to run the most energy efficient TVs.

Cost to run the most energy efficient TVs

The table below lists the most energy efficient TVs by size based on a study of 107 of the most energy efficient TVs on the market.

TV SizeLowest wattage TVCost per hourCost per day / 24hrsCost per monthCost per year
17 inch TVSpectre – E18$0.0015$0.04$0.25$2.94
19 inch TVRCA – RT1971-AC$0.0023$0.05$0.36$4.32
24 inch TVVIZIO – D24hn-G9$0.0026$0.06$0.45$5.34
32 inch TVMI – L32M5-5ARU$0.0029$0.07$0.36$4.35
40 inch TVIMPECCA – TL4000F$0.0047$0.11$0.74$8.82
43 inch TVSansui – S43P28FN$0.0051$0.12$0.83$9.90
50 inch TVSCEPTRE – H50$0.0072$0.17$1.11$13.32
55 inch TVMI – L55M5-5ARU$0.0094$0.23$1.15$13.80
65 inch TVNEC – E657Q$0.0108$0.26$1.76$21.17
70 inch TVPHILIPS – 70BFL2114/27$0.0164$0.39$2.56$30.75
75 inch TVVIZIO – E75-F1$0.0131$0.31$2.07$24.86

Over time, energy efficient TVs can reduce your carbon footprint and electricity bills substantially, particularly if you’re running an older TV (especially CRT or Plasma TVs).

But are TVs actually expensive to run? Let’s take a look at how the costs compare with other household appliances.

Are TVs expensive to run?

Despite TVs costing less than 1 cent per hour to run on average, TVs can be expensive to run over time due to their level of usage.

Many variables come into play when considering if TVs are expensive to run.

TV wattage, size, resolution, settings (e.g. brightness), level of usage, your unit rate, etc. all impact the cost of running a TV. Some modern TVs can run off of 2 AAA batteries while others are energy guzzlers (e.g. large Plasma TVs).

To get a good sense of how expensive TVs are to run, let’s compare the average running costs with other household appliances.

The average cost ($16.04 annually) to run a TV is equivalent to:

But is your TV expensive to run? Here’s a useful electricity cost calculator to help you work out your own specific costs.

TV running cost calculator

To work out your own TV running costs, without doing the math, simply populate the fields in the calculator below.

Note: this calculator is populated with the most common TV wattage, average price per kWh in the US and standard usage figures for reporting annual estimated TV power consumption (i.e. 5 hours in On mode and 19 hrs in Standby mode).

Now that we’ve covered running costs, let’s look at how they can be reduced.

Reduce your TV running costs – 8 easy tips

  1. Lower your screen resolution. As mentioned, the lower your resolution the lower your power consumption. If you have the option, consider reducing the resolution.
  2. Reduce brightness. A higher brightness setting consumes more electricity. If it’s comfortable for you, try reducing the brightness of your TV to reduce your running costs. Many TVs have automatic brightness controls which can help.
  3. Local dimming. Many modern TVs are also equipped with a local dimming feature. This feature can help reduce the power consumed by your TV, while also improving picture quality. It’s worthwhile checking to see if your TV has this feature.
  4. Energy Star preset. This is another option to look into. Check to see if your TV has the Energy Star preset – if it’s available, you should find it where you can select viewing presets such as Cinematic Mode, Sports Mode, etc. The Energy Star preset is a quick way to help ensure your TV is set up for energy efficient viewing.
  5. Consider upgrading to a more efficient model. When shopping around, look out for Energy Star certified TVs to ensure you’re purchasing an energy efficient model. All of the most energy efficient TVs listed above are Energy Star certified.
  6. Unplug. Even energy efficient TVs can use power in Standby mode so be sure to unplug your TV when it’s not in use. Consider using a smart plug (I use this one), to help you automate and remotely power off your devices fully.
  7. Use your TV less. This is an obvious one but it’s the most effective. The less you use your TV the lower your electricity bills will be.
  8. Switch energy provider. This one doesn’t require you to change your usage behavior and can be very effective. Consider shopping around for a new energy provider as they usually offer reduced prices to new customers. This should reduce the cost of running all of your appliances, not just your TV. While you’re shopping around, consider an energy provider that offers Green energy – these plans/tariffs tend to be relatively high but they can help reduce your carbon footprint even more.

Final thoughts

TVs can be expensive to run because we use them so much.

Per hour, TVs don’t cost much to run but over time the costs can become considerable, particularly if you’re using an older, less efficient model.

Hopefully, by using the 8 cost saving tips above, you can reduce your running costs along with your carbon footprint.

In case you’re interested, all of the energy efficient TVs used in the study, mentioned throughout this post, are available here.

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