Unplugged: Why Your TV And Smartphone Suck (Energy)
I was talking to a co-worker recently about how to improve the efficiency of her new TV. She doesn’t watch much—certainly not the five hours a day that new TVs average—so the obvious answer of “Turn it off” wouldn’t have helped much.
Instead, I sent her these helpful tips from the folks at CNET and our friends at NRDC, which basically amount to “at least turn it mostly off,” by turning down the brightness and disabling certain features that are constantly running in the background.
Even more than new TVs, smartphones constantly do a lot of stuff that we don’t really need them to do, and they do it very well. At any given point, even while it’s in your pocket or on your coffee table, the typical smartphone is likely to be bright enough to be visible at high noon, talking to a nearby tower at speeds high enough to stream videos, communicating its location with a satellite and one or more software applications, searching for nearby wireless networks to join, and checking e-mail automatically several times a minute.
These features are what make the phone smart, and they’re rather handy. But it’s kind of stupid for a phone to be doing them at all times. They use energy, drain the battery, and emit radiation, all for things that are unnecessary most of the time. The trick, then, is to at least turn the phone mostly off.