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Sony Eco TV turns off when you leave the room

Sony's KDL-VE5 series of eco-friendly LCD TVs brings an innovative new power-saving feature to the party, along with respectable picture quality.

That little eye in the midst of the silver speaker is a motion detector. Sarah Tew/CNET

In case you haven't noticed, "green" is big business. One way for HDTV makers to cash in on the public's craving for efficiency is to label a TV "eco-friendly." Sony's KDL-VE5 series does just that, but unlike a lot of so-called green electronics, this TV can actually save power in a new, potentially very effective way. That's because it incorporates a "presence sensor" that can automatically turn the picture off when it detects nobody's watching.

Amazingly, the feature worked pretty well in our tests, and we hope to see similar automatic turn-offs in future televisions--as long as irate couch potatoes don't flood Sony's customer service call centers to complain of malfunctioning TVs. Otherwise the Sony uses about as much power as a typical LCD--it's nowhere near as miserly as the LED-backlit Sharp's LC-LE700UN series, for example.

The KDL-VE5 also offers very good picture quality for a standard LCD, but on the downside, it charges a hefty premium over the step-down KDL-V5100 series--the only major differences between the two are styling and the VE5's presence sensor. If you're prone to forgetting to turn the TV off, however, the KDL-VE5 might be able to make up the difference in a few years.

Read the full review of the Sony KDL-VE5 series.