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California sets energy rules for TVs

Sony to launch online download service for TVs
Tokyo (AFP) Nov 20, 2009 - Sony Corp. aims to launch next year a new online service that will allow people to download content such as music and movies to their televisions and other electronic gadgets, a top executive said Friday. The move is part of chief executive Howard Stringer's goal of converging Sony's strengths in electronics, such as Bravia televisions and PlayStation game consoles, and content generated by its movie studio and music label. "This is something I'd like to get off the ground as quickly as possible," said Sony executive vice president Kazuo Hirai, who also heads the company's game division. The company aims to get the service up and running in 2010 "and earlier in the year would be obviously a lot more preferable in my mind", he said.

While the service is still under development, it may offer users features related to health and fitness or banking, as well as content downloads and the chance to share photos or home movies online. "One of the things we really need to get into is the whole concept of user-driven content," Hirai said in an interview. "There already are a lot of services out there but we want to try to bring something that is uniquely Sony to the experience." The company aims to introduce "evolving" television that delivers new applications over the Internet to people's TV sets. While some services through the online service may be free-of-charge, users will have to pay for others, possibly paying a subscription for a bundle of premium content.

The service will build on Sony's PlayStation Network system, which already has 33 million registered users and allows owners of the video game console to download games and link up with other gamers. Hirai said Sony also has high hopes for three-dimensional video games that are expected to appear after Sony launches 3D televisions next year. "I'm a firm believer in 3D. It really does enhance the game playing experience. There's no question about it. It just makes it more exciting," he said.
by Staff Writers
Sacramento (UPI) Nov 20, 2009
California has become the first U.S. state to adopt energy efficiency requirements for television.

The standards, approved this week by the California Energy Commission, require that new televisions sold in the state consume 33 percent less electricity by 2011 and 49 percent less electricity by 2013.

The standards affect only those TVs with a screen size 58 inches or smaller. TVs with screens larger than 58 inches, including home theater systems, are likely to be addressed in the next few years.

The rule does not apply to any of the approximately 35 million TV sets currently in use of for sale in California. The commission said that about three-quarters of TV sets now in stores comply with the 2011 standards and 25 percent meet the tougher 2013 rule.

California estimates that after 10 years, the regulations will save $8.1 billion in energy costs and save enough energy to power 864,000 single-family homes. Pacific Gas & Electric estimates that over a decade the standards will reduce CO2 emissions by 3.3 million tons.

"It is the real, achievable policies like the first-in-the-nation standards adopted by the Energy Commission today that have made California a world leader in the fight against climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions," California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

Since the sale of flat-panel TVs started booming in the early 2000s, TV-related power usage has more than tripled to 10 billion kilowatt hours per year, said Arthur Rosenfeld, a nuclear physicist and member of the commission, the Los Angeles Times reports. This usage accounts for nearly 10 percent of residential electricity consumption.

Rosenfeld noted that the state's energy regulations have had favorable outcomes in the past. In the 1970s, California banned energy-guzzling refrigerators and air conditioners. Before the ban, the average refrigerator in California consumed 2,000 kilowatt hours per year of electricity, Rosenfeld said. Now the energy usage for a typical refrigerator has been slashed to 400 kilowatt hours per year, costs less and has more consumer-friendly features.

According to the commission, the state's per capita electricity use has remained flat for 30 years compared to the rest of the United States, which has increased its energy consumption by 40 percent.

The Consumer Electronics Association issued a statement denouncing the regulations as "dangerous for the California economy, dangerous for technology innovation and dangerous for consumer freedom."

"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," the statement said, noting that in the last two years, energy efficiency of TVs has improved by 41 percent.

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