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EnergyGuide Labels Coming to a TV Near You

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that televisions manufactured after May 10, 2011 must display EnergyGuide labels. Additionally, beginning July 11, 2011, websites that sell televisions must display an image of the full EnergyGuide label.

According to the labelling rule, a television (TV) is “a commercially available electronic product designed primarily for the display and reception of audiovisual signals from terrestrial, cable, satellite, Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), or other transmission of analog and/or digital signals, consisting of a tuner/receiver and a display encased in a single housing. This definition does not cover models that are designed to operate on built-in rechargeable batteries or inserted batteries.”

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Unedited press release follows:

Starting in 2011, FTC Will Require EnergyGuide Labels for Televisions

Televisions manufactured after May 10, 2011 must display EnergyGuide labels so consumers shopping for TVs will have more information about different models and how much energy they use.

A recent amendment to the Federal Trade Commission’s Appliance Labeling Rule will require the familiar yellow-and-black labels on new TVs. The labels, which have long appeared on home appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators, will provide useful information for TVs, such as estimated yearly energy cost and the cost range compared to other similar models.

“Unlike many years ago, before flat screens and plasma, today’s televisions vary widely in the amount of energy they use,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “By comparing information on the EnergyGuide labels, consumers will be able to make better-informed decisions about which model they choose to buy, based on how much it costs to operate per year.”

In March 2009, the FTC sought comments on whether EnergyGuide labels should be required on a range of consumer electronics, including televisions. Based on the comments received, in March 2010 the agency proposed requiring the labels on televisions sold in the United States.

After considering the additional comments, the FTC is requiring a label with two main disclosures on new TVs: first, the television’s estimated annual energy cost; and second, a comparison with the annual energy cost of other televisions with similar screen sizes. The final rule requires that the new labels be visible from the front of the televisions. Manufacturers can use either a triangular label or a rectangular label. Beginning in July 11, 2011, the amended rule will require websites that sell televisions to display an image of the full EnergyGuide label. Additional examples of the new labels can be found on the FTC’s website.

The Commission vote approving the Federal Register notice amending the Appliance Labeling Rule was 5-0. The notice will be published shortly, and can be found now on the FTC’s website and as a link to this press release.

The FTC was required to consider whether EnergyGuide labels should be displayed on certain consumer electronics, including televisions, by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,800 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.