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CEDIA Bashes CA Ruling on Big TVs... So Do We

by November 19, 2009
Contributors: Gene DellaSala
California is stupid

California is stupid

CEDIA (The Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) is outraged by the adoption of the unnecessary and harmful regulation regarding the California TV energy efficiency standard the CEC chose to adopt yesterday. Us? We're just amused. Despite continued efforts and data outlining the negative ramifications of the ruling provided by CEDIA and the Californians for Smart Energy coalition, the CEC chose to adopt regulations on the energy consumption of televisions sold in California.  This regulation will have a significant negative impact on the sale and installation of flat-panel displays and the businesses in the residential electronic systems industry.

Of course, those are unintended consequences to the legislation - and we can't be counting on any of THOSE, can we? No, instead, California plows ahead with its blinders on, ignoring all industry data and reducing their revenues during a time of economic hardship. For those of you who don't get what the big deal is, let me summarize in an easy-to-follow bulleted list of points:

  • Ca-lee-for-nee-yah calculates that big screen televisions are costing the state lots of money in terms of energy consumption. I mean, they use a lot of power compared to these new fangled LED sets and smaller TVs in general. Yep, BIG TV has got to go.
  • Since everyone knows that California is full of well-intentioned intelligent lawmakers who fully understand commerce and economics in general, they pass a law to ban TVs that consume a particular amount of power - essentially banning the sale of large screen TVs in the state until manufacturers can figure out how to make them run more efficiently
  • Everyone lives happily ever after

Oh, wait. I forgot a couple of points, mostly having to deal with the reality of what they've just done:

  • California has just lopped off millions of dollars in consumer electronics sales from its own in-state retailers. Since the law doesn't outlaw the USE of said TVs, just their sales in-state, California has effectively caused the entire demographic of large screen TV purchasers to buy online or transfer products from nearby states
  • California is banking on the fact that manufacturers will simply make more efficient large screen televisions, that they will do it quickly, and that these televisions won't costs any more money. In truth, manufacturers love a good marketing slogan. IF THEY COULD MAKE MORE EFFICIENT TVS FOR THE SAME PRICE THEY WOULD. They can't, so the TVs will be more expensive. This is more or less a hidden tax on CA consumers, or worse - a hidden tax on all of us, should manufacturers decide to redistribute costs amongst all of their products.
  • California isn't factoring in that decreased sales means decreased profits for local electronics retailers. This means that money is going to flow out of California, and not back into it. This will lead to greater unemployment, and economic drops - all of which come when the entire state is in the red and working through a recession and high unemployment.
  • California has given ZERO thought to how this will affect the lives of CE custom installers who will have to jump through all manner of hoops (and lose profits) as they scramble to find solutions for their clients.

In short, the California legislators behind this idea are complete morons with no economic sense. I doubt this will even accomplish the goal of reducing energy consumption, since consumers will likely purchase what they want across state lines.

Utz Baldwin, CEDIA chief executive officer had this to say:

"CEDIA has worked tirelessly on this issue and is dismayed and frustrated at the CEC’s decision to pass the ruling. From the beginning of the hearings it was evident that the CEC had already determined the outcome before they started and had no intentions of factoring in any other viewpoints."

According to Baldwin, not only does the ruling negatively affect CEDIA members’ ability to do business, it also minimizes their ability to provide enhanced energy-efficient solutions to their clients. These are solutions that may lower energy in many other areas of the house as well.

Darren Reaman, CEDIA director of public policy says:

"Despite the beliefs of the CEC, their actions will negatively impact California-based electronic systems contractors as well as the entire residential electronic systems industry in California. The CEC’s actions will negatively affect hundreds of small businesses that employ thousands of people in the residential electronic systems industry and increase California’s 12% unemployment rate."

CEDIA has worked on this issue for over a year. Throughout the process, CEDIA has provided examples to the CEC regarding the continuous efforts of electronic systems contractors who are working without a mandate to meet customers’ desire for energy-efficient homes to become more energy-efficient with numerous solutions.  CEDIA worked closely with the Californians for Smart Energy coalition and other industry stakeholders to inform the CEC about the negative consequences the proposed rule would have on the State of California, and specifically hundreds of small businesses.

CEDIA supports manufacturer and retailer participation in energy efficiency programs and has established a Green Task Force charged with researching processes and procedures for developing energy-efficient products for consumers.

Folks, this is like watching a train wreck in slow motion...

The Audioholics Solution - Implement SCAM 

Manufacturers need not stress this issue as we at Audioholics have a solution.  Going forward, all large displays should ship in what we call "SCAM" mode which stands for Stupid CA legislation Mode. In this mode, the display brightness/contrast settings would be set a few clicks to the right of zero, audio would be disabled and backlighting would be set to minimum.   The power consumption should be measured in this mode much like an A/V receiver power consumption is measured with one channel driven at full rated power and the other channels at 1/8th power.  Who cares if you can't see or hear the picture out of the box?  You now have a "Green" friendly display that has a 90% chance of getting returned to the store by unwary consumers not being able to figure out how to get it out of this mode. Of course, this will increase the consumers' carbon footprint via unnecessary traveling back to the store, but it will satisfy the CA ruling and further line the pockets of middle eastern oil companies in the process.

For more information CEDIA’s page on public policy efforts.

Also: Check out Robert Silva's commentary about the California Energy Commission issue on About.com.


About the author:
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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