Modern electronics are power-hungry beasts, even when they're turned off and resting in standby mode. Devices still use a trickle of power in standby to spring back into action at the push of a button, and that leaking electricity can really add up with TVs and game consoles and AV receivers. One of Toshiba's new TVs, the Regza 32BE3 debuting in December, was designed by the eco-conscious to subdue its energy appetite.
The Regza TV uses an Eco Chip and a capacitor to store electricity and then completely cut off access to the electric grid to enable a no-power standby mode.
Toshiba's design stores just enough electricity in the TV's capacitor to make the set responsive to a signal from the remote, allowing it to turn on quickly without a steady stream of electricity. The average of one watt of electricity TVs draw in standby mode only results in a buck or two of power usage over the course of a year, so the TV itself is only a small part of the power leakage issue.
Of course, TVs draw a lot more power when they're turned on, and the Regza does its best to be efficient there, too. The TV is about 27 percent more efficient than its predecessor thanks to LED backlighting and has two low power modes that reduce backlighting to save energy. The picture automatically compensates, but the reductions are pretty steep--50 percent and 75 percent--so the picture probably won't be at its best.
The LED backlighting is actually going to save more electricity than the Eco Chip, but zero-power standby is a good goal for the tech industry. Until more devices work like the Regza 32BE3, there's always the option to pull the plug.