Direct conversion of thermal energy into electrical energy using a photovoltaic cell is called thermophotovoltaic energy conversion. One way to make this an efficient process is to have the thermal energy source be an efficient selective emitter of radiation. The emission must be near the bank-gap energy of the photovoltaic cell. One possible method to achieve an efficient selective emitter is the use of a thin film of rare-earth oxides. The determination of the efficiency of such an emitter requires analysis of the spectral emittance of the thin film including scattering and reflectance at the vacuum-film and film-substrate interfaces. Emitter efficiencies (power emitted in emission band/total emitted power) in the range 0.35-0.7 are predicted. There is an optimum optical depth to obtain maximum efficiency. High emitter efficiencies are attained only for low (Š0.05) substrate emittance values, both with and without scattering. The low substrate emittance required for high efficiency limits the choice of substrate materials to highly reflective metals or high-transmission materials such as sapphire.