Eco-friendly Sony HDTVs sense your presence

The Sony "Eco" televisions include numerous energy-saving features, including a specialized backlight and the ability to automatically turn off when you're not around.

The eco-friendly KDL-VE5 series packs plenty of power-saving punch. Sony

As Americans become more conscious of TV power consumption, manufacturers are taking full advantage by offering more eco-friendly HDTVs. The KDL-VE5 series is Sony's power-sipping entrant for CES 2009, and includes the ability to turn off automatically when viewers leave the vicinity.

The three-size series includes the 52-inch KDL-52VE5, the 46-inch KDL-46VE5, and the 40-inch KDL-40VE5. As usual, prices were not divulged, and availability details were limited to "summer."

To save power, the VE5s incorporate a new Hot Cathode Fluorescent Lamp (HCFL) backlight that the company says saves 40 percent compared with its conventional backlights. But more interesting, and potentially innovative, is the "Presence Sensor." According to the press release, it "automatically turns off the picture when no one is present in the vicinity after a user-set timeframe. When the sensor detects motion, the TV turns itself back on instantly." We can't wait to test it.

The VE5 models also have an option that consumes nearly zero watts when the TV is left in standby mode. This item shouldn't contribute much to overall energy savings, however, since current standby draws are already less than a watt for most TVs--an amount that's paltry in comparison with a TV's "on" power use. Still, every little bit helps.

More power savers include a light sensor that works in conjunction with an automatic backlight control to dim the backlight in darker rooms. Naturally, with all of these options, the VE5's exceed Energy Star 3.0 handily, and we expect them to be among the most-efficient LCDs of the year.

Aside from the Eco features, the VE5 models seem similar to the company's V-series sets, including 120Hz with dejudder (if our review of the 240Hz Sony KDL-52XBR7 is any indication, 240Hz processing uses a bit more power than 120Hz), 1080p resolution, four HDMI inputs, and a PC input.

Sony also announced higher-end Z-series and XBR9-series models.

Sony KDL-VE5 models

  • Sony KDL-40VE5 ($TBD)
  • Sony KDL-46VE5 ($TBD)
  • Sony KDL-52VE5 ($TBD)
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