State Pulls Plug on Big-Screen TVs

By Lori Preuitt
|  Thursday, Nov 19, 2009  |  Updated 5:31 AM PDT
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BERLIN - SEPTEMBER 04: A visitor photographs details of flat-screen televisions at the Samsung stand on opening day at the IFA technology trade fair on September 4, 2009 in Berlin, Germany. The IFA fair is open to the public from September 4-9. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Bigger may be better, but it is also about to be more regulated here in California when it comes to televisions.

The centerpiece of nearly every home will be under new state regulations in the coming years.

Power-hungry televisions will be banned from store shelves thanks to a first-in-the-nation mandate to lower electricity demand courtesy of state regulators.

Manufacturers say the rules will mean all flat screen televisions that are 55 inches or larger will not be available here in the Golden state.

The pending rules are all about being green.

The vote was unanimous. The California Energy Commission voted Wednesday to require all new televisions up to 58 inches to be more energy efficient beginning in 2011. The requirement will be even tougher in 2013. 

Right now, only a quarter of TVs on the market currently meet the 2013 standard.

It's not like the TV-police will come into your home and take your television away.  You just won't be able to buy the same products.

TVs larger than 58 inches, which account for no more than 3 percent of the market, would not be covered by the rule, a concession to independent retailers that sell high-end home-theater TVs.

Some manufacturers said implementing a power standard will cripple innovation, limit consumer choice and harm California retailers because consumers could simply buy TVs out of state or order them online.

Industry representatives also have said the standards would force manufacturers to make televisions that have poorer picture quality and fewer features than those sold elsewhere in the U.S.
 

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