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Next Target: Flat-Screen TVs



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It’s Super Bowl week and fans are flocking to stores to update their entertainment systems with flat screen TVs to watch the big game. But under new anti-global warming rules due to take effect this summer, they may soon find the shelves empty. California regulators want to ban the sale of plasma televisions because of their high energy use.

That’s right, Detroit autos aren’t the only “gas-guzzlers” California’s greenshirts are targeting for extinction.

The average plasma TV uses more than three times the energy of an old cathode-ray tube set, and a 48-inch plasma TV can draw more power than a large refrigerator, regulators said. Liquid-crystal (LCD) displays may also be targeted as they use 43 percent more energy than tube sets and make up 90 percent of new TV sales.

A quarter of all flat-screen TVs–and all but one plasma TV on the market today–would not be allowed for sale in California once the rules are fully implemented, says the Plasma Display Coalition.

The rules will face strong opposition from industry leaders who say the standards would limit consumer choice, drive shoppers to the Internet, and put specialty retailers out of business. Industry experts say the state could lose up to $130 million in annual sales and income tax revenue.

“It’s setting a limit that many TVs that are larger and more fully featured could not meet,” Doug Johnson, a tech expert with the Consumer Electronics Association, told the Associated Press. “It appears to be an effort to really regulate entertainment, not energy use.”

At a time when the economy is in the tank, police-state laws limiting sales of the most profitable autos and televisions seems an odd way to stimulate business.



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