Trem, all new ones don't work better. But many do. And Energy Star is imperfect, but it works. In an ideal world, the market would handle externalities without anyone needing to tell it what to do. We don't live in an ideal world.
And my main beef with your post is not that we disagree on the merits of Energy Star (we disagree a bit and agree a bit), but rather that you conclude it's killing off plasmas, but it really isn't. Your words: "So Energy Star, despite their good intentions, are killing off the TV technology that arguably gives the best picture quality and largest size at the lowest price"
Plasma sales are up. Plasma quality is up dollar for dollar. Comparisons to Kuros that cost much more money are not relevant, quite frankly. If anyone could sell a 50" TV for $6000 today, they could probably do things that would exceed Kuro picture quality. The marketplace has spoken on that.
There is no difference in HDMI cables. If you can see the picture without visible dropouts or sparklies, the cable is working at 100%. No other cable will display a better version of that picture. You're simply wrong if you think there is a better digital cable than one that is already working.