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Cutting down on heat from TVs

The PC industry has been on a quest to reduce the power consumed by notebook displays for several years. Now the big guys are starting to get the hint that less is more when it comes to the power consumed by a big-screen TV.

3M is showing off its Vikuiti technology at the DisplaySearch trade show in San Diego. The Vikuiti Dual Brightness Enhancement Film (DBEF) helps recycle light used to produce images, allowing TV manufacturers to use fewer bulbs in their products, said David Iverson, business manager with 3M's Optical Systems Division.

A polarizer reduces reflection in LCD TVs. But just like a pair of sunglasses, polarizers absorb some of that light in the process. LCD manufacturers used to compensate for that by adding bulbs to maintain a bright image, but more bulbs require more power, which produces heat.

LCD TVs that use a layer of DBEF can use fewer bulbs to produce the same brightness as a TV without DBEF, Iverson said. This technology has been used in the power-conscious notebook industry for some time, but it's looking more attractive to consumers who are sweating in their living rooms from the heat given off by their TVs.