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Dialing back display brightness is good for picture quality and your wallet

Steven Kim
03.17.09
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We've said it before, and we'll say it again -- once a TV has been moved from the store shelf into your shopping cart, the ultra-bright "torch mode" has served its only good purpose. Sadly, however, a study presented at the Ergonomics Symposium on Flat Panel Displays turned up more than 80-percent of the LCDs in the mode favored by alpine skiing fans, and almost 80-percent had the ambient light sensors disabled. That's bad news for picture quality, but also bad for energy consumption -- the study found that four factors (viewing angle, viewer age, content luminance and ambient lighting) can be used to determine an ergonomically correct display luminance, and we'd go out on a limb to say that the "dynamic" mode disregards what's "correct." Savings by dialing back the display can save energy by a not-too-shabby 20-30-percent. Statisticians can throw stones at the sample of 83 homes, but based on how many times we've found supernova whites and neon greens while visiting homes, it sounds about right.

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