Cut the running cost of your TV by changing its picture settings

We compare different TV picture settings to find out which one is cheaper to run. 

For many of us, winter means snuggling under a cosy blanket while watching TV. However, as energy costs shot up by 5% in January, it could be worth looking at ways you can save money on energy bills when your TV is on. 

Modern TVs come with lots of different settings. One is the TV picture setting, with names such as cinema, vivid and dynamic all promising the viewer a different experience – possibly a sharper image, or a cinema-like feel.

It’s possible to make a quick saving on your electricity bill by changing your TV picture settings. If you have multiple TVs in your house, it could work out to be a bigger saving.

Have a look at our energy comparison article for a round-up of gas and electricity deals if you’re thinking about switching your energy. 

If you’re after the best streaming services to sort out your entertainment needs, look no further. We’ve got all the info on how to get the cheapest TV streaming deals and more. 

How to cut the running costs of your TV

The type of TV you have will determine what features it has and what changes can be made. Which? carried out a test where they discovered that if you reduce brightness and/or contrast, your TV will be less energy-hungry. 

Here we use the same technique to determine the yearly cost of a 5.7-year-old TV with a 41-inch screen. Note that this is the cost if you use the TV for four hours everyday. The calculations are based on the new average January price cap electricity rate of 29p per Kwh. 

Let’s see what the average yearly cost will be for each TV picture setting (costs will vary depending on the model of TV you have, but it should give you a good indication). 

Picture setting Average power (W) Average yearly cost How much you can save if you switch from highest power picture setting to lowest
Highest power (names such as vivid, dynamic) 71.4 £30.31 N/A
Lowest power (names such as eco, cinema, movie) 57.2 £24.28 £6.03

If you use this TV at a high-power picture setting like vivid or dynamic, it costs around £30.31 a year. Whereas low-power picture settings like eco, cinema or movie cost about £24.28 per year. 

So if you switch from a high-power picture setting to a low-power one, you could have an annual saving of £6.03. 

The trade-off is that you may notice a reduction in the brightness and/or contrast in the screen.

Martin Pratt, Which? TV expert said: “’Watching a TV on lower power or eco mode will usually affect the brightness.

“There can be hundreds of bulbs in the backlight, or millions in the display in OLED TVs, so turning them down will lower your bills, but that can make the picture harder to see.”

The age of your TV can also impact how much you save. According to Which?, you could save up to £14 if you switched from a high to low-power picture setting on a TV released in 2010. These savings would go down to £2 if it was a newer model. 

How to cut costs when watching TV

A piggy bank is a remote control as if selling with a television on a blue sofa. Household expenses, pay tv, saving money and home finance concepts.

As well as changing your TV settings, you can also cut costs by reviewing the way you watch TV and what you watch. Here are some tips:

  • Be on the lookout for the best broadband deals so you can bag the best price.
  • See if you qualify for social broadband tariffs. These are discounted broadband deals for those on means-tested benefits. You can save up to £200 a year with these tariffs. 
  • Review your current TV package. Check what you are paying for and whether you still need all of the channels. You might find you can cut down on your package. The best thing to do is call your provider and haggle – ask for the best price they can do for what you want.
  • Check how much you are paying for TV subscriptions. Streaming giants such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ are popular and convenient, but the costs could be adding up. See if you can get any of those subscriptions for cheaper. 
  • Make use of free trials. If you’ve been really wanting to try a subscription out but it doesn’t fit your budget, sign up for a free trial. The big caveat here is do not forget to cancel before the trial expires, otherwise, you might be charged full price the month after. Always make sure to read the terms and conditions first.

How to save money on energy bills

With high energy costs, it’s difficult to save loads by simply changing your TV picture setting. However, have a look at our energy-saving tips to help you use less gas and electricity at home. 

You can also make use of our appliance cost calculator to find out how much your household appliances are adding to your energy bill. Compare appliances like the tumble dryer or dehumidifier to see which one is cheaper for your home. 

With the winter, check if you are due for Cold Weather Payments or Warm Home Discount anytime soon. 

If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills, here’s how to find help with energy costs.