Watch your efficiency
It's only cool to be a couch potato if you're energy efficient, according to the state of California.
The five members of California's Energy Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday to mandate that all new televisions sold in the state - with screens of 58 inches or less - reduce electricity consumption by an average 33 per cent by 2011 and 49 per cent by 2013, compared with current consumption rates.
This will be the first time a US state has ever imposed an energy curb on television sets, and some 25 per cent of the televisions currently on sale would not meet the minimum standards laid out by the CEC's landmark ruling.
CEC commissioner Julia Levin said the move would "spark new innovation, new industries and new jobs in California," and save the state's residents over $8 billion over 10 years in energy costs.
Power-guzzling TVs are said to account for around 10 per cent of the average home energy bill in California and the state has had enough. California has a long, proud history of environmental activism, which has helped it keep the state's electricity use level for almost 30 years, whilst other states see their electricity use soar.
But not everyone is happy with the move. The Consumer Electronics Association said it was "extremely disappointed" by the California Energy Commission's decision, saying the new rules would endanger jobs, innovation and consumer choice.
"Simply put, this is bad policy -- dangerous for the California economy, dangerous for technology innovation and dangerous for consumer freedom," said Jason Oxman, the CEA's senior vice president of industry affairs.
"Instead of allowing customers to choose the products they want, the commission has decided to impose arbitrary standards that will hamper innovation and limit consumer choice. It will result in higher prices for consumers, job losses for Californians, and lost tax revenue for the state."
But most others applauded the move, saying it would negate the need for a new 500-megawatt power plant and make people more conscious of their energy bills.
Following California's lead, Massachusetts said it too would look into implementing television-efficiency legislation, while Washington and Oregon also admitted to be mulling the deal.
You'll have to tune in soon to find out whether those states can make TV efficiency a reality or whether it's just poised to make a whole lot of drama.