You’re probably wondering how many amps a TV uses, right? And why you haven’t seen that answer in a tech article before. The reason is that there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all answer to this question.
Technically, it depends on the size of your TV and whether or not you have any additional device plugged into that TV.
For example, the current (amps) a device uses is dependent upon two main things:
1) How much power it consumes and
2) The efficiency of the power supply that converts your house’s AC power into DC for your device.
Let’s tackle these one at a time. First, how much power does a TV use?
How much power does a TV use?
The short answer is that it depends on the size of your TV. A larger TV will consume more energy than a smaller one. You’ll see this in your electric bill since you are charged for how many kWh you use each month.
But why do TVs vary so much in power consumption?
To answer this, we first need to take a look at how TVs work. To create color images on your TV, you need the Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) sub-pixels that are organized into different groups of pixels depending on if they’re in 4:4:4, 4:2:2, or 4:2:0 resolutions.
Each of these groups corresponds to either one-third or two-thirds (respectively) of the total number of pixels on your TV. If you wanted to know exactly which groupings correspond with which colors, here’s an article describing it.
But what you really want to know is each pixel grouping has three subpixels because each pixel requires its own red, green and blue subpixel.
This means that, in total, your TV has three subpixels overlaid on top of one another for each and every pixel displayed on your screen.
Wait a minute! How is this relevant?
The number of pixels affects how much power a TV uses, but so does the number of pixels overlaid with red, green, and blue subpixels. Let’s put it into numbers to be sure we understand it:
As you can see from this example 16×9 screen, if all 4.2 million pixels were made up entirely of RGB subpixels (as they would be in 4K), there would be 5.3 million component color subpixels (because each pixel contains 3x R+G+B), whereas if all of the pixels were monochrome (using a 4:0:0 encoding ), there would only be 1.7 million color subpixels.
This is why, as you can see from this article describing 4K resolution, the amount of information transmitted every second CPU-side for 4K over HDMI 2.0 is four times less than 1080p/60, which in turn has half the data rate of 1440p/60 and 1080p/120.
Now that we’ve defined “how many pixels” affect your TV’s power consumption, let’s take a look at what affects how much power it uses…
The efficiency of your TV’s power supply unit (PSU)
So far, we have talked about the number of pixels being displayed by each RGB subpixel grouping, but we have yet to discuss how efficient a PSU is at converting your home’s AC power into DC for your TV.
You may be thinking that most PSUs are 100% efficient since most PSUs don’t have fans on them and they’re pretty quiet. Well, not exactly…
A PSU has different levels of efficiency depending on what type it uses (switch-mode vs linear), how many watts it’s rated for and what kind of internal electrical components make up the circuitry inside.
The more bells and whistles on a PSU, the less efficient it tends to be because there is more circuitry involved which makes more heat.
So why does this matter?
As technology continues to advance, TVs have higher resolutions and more pixels on the screen. For example, this year’s Super Bowl ads are being shown in 4K , so it makes sense that TV manufacturers would want to find ways to either reduce power consumption or increase panel brightness so you can actually see them better.
Well, the efficiency of your PSU affects how much energy is drawn from the wall to create power for your TV.
For example, if 60% of the electricity drawn from the wall by your TV was converted into DC current that powers your display (which is fairly standard amongst most modern televisions), then 40% of that which reaches your wall outlet is wasted through heat generation within your PSU since it’s not doing anything useful.
This means that 40% of the electricity your home is pulling from the electrical grid to power your TV is being wasted through heat generation within your PSU. For example, if your house pays $0.12/kWh, then each hour you leave your TV on costs ~$0.074.
How to calculate amps your smart tv uses
Watts = Volts x Amps
Amps = Watts / Volts
It is important for you to know how many watts your TV uses as opposed to volts because, as we learned from the example above, some parts of the world have different voltages running through their walls.
For example, Europe runs on 230V whereas almost all of America and Canada run on 120V. This means that if a 100W European appliance were plugged into a 120V American socket it would draw 0.83A instead of 1.00A (100/120) which could potentially damage the appliance’s power supply unit.
So remember: ALWAYS check your TV or any other electrical device’s power input requirements before plugging it into an outlet!
So, now that you know how many pixels a TV has and how efficient its PSU is at converting AC power into DC for your display, you can figure out approximately how many watts of energy it uses.
So an average TV will spend 60% of its time displaying a black screen which will use 0.8 watts. An average TV uses about 4-8 watts while showing a half white/half color image and as much as 40 watts when displaying a full-colored image with all subpixels turned on at their brightest level.