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Set-top TV boxes wasting $2 billion

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by Rickaren, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. Rickaren

    Rickaren New Member Staff Member

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    Set-top TV boxes wasting $2 billion in electricity costs every year


    27 June 2011

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    Set-top boxes like digital video recorders (DVRs), cable and pay-TV systems are wasting $2 billion in electricity costs a year, according to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

    US consumers spend a total of $3 billion a year running set-top boxes, but only $1 billion of that covers their electricity consumption when in use. Even when the devices are inactive, they still run at nearly full power.
    Because the devices are not designed to power down when not in use, set-top boxes are wasting the equivalent of the output from six 500 MW coal-burning power stations every year.

    According to the study, Reducing the National Energy Consumption of Set-Top Boxes, there are around 160 million set-top boxes in use in US homes, consuming as much electricity each year as the entire state of Maryland and responsible for 16 million metric tons of CO emissions.

    “Set-top boxes are the ultimate home energy vampires, silently sucking significant amounts of energy and money when nobody’s using them,” says Noah Horowitz, senior scientist at the NRDC.

    And the problem is getting worse, says the study, as consumers switch from basic set-top boxes to new cable high-definition DVRs, which consume around 40% more electricity. Typically, a basic set-top box and a DVR will consume as much energy as a refrigerator.

    Even when a user thinks they have switched the device off, only the clock or display is dimmed and the amount of power being used is unchanged.

    “It’s possible to improve the efficiency of our DVRs and other pay TV boxes,” says Horowitz. “But they’re not going to [do it] unless we, the consumers, demand it.”

    The NRDC recommends that set-top boxes should automatically go into a low power mode when not in active use – a feature that is being rolled out in Europe. In the meantime, consumers should ask their supplier to provide them with a set-top box that meeting ENERGY STAR standards.

    Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics has joined forces with Microsoft, Google and other companies part of the Climate Savers Computing Initiative (CSCI) to improve energy efficiency in all aspects of computing.

    Samsung says it will focus on increasing the energy efficiency of its servers and notebooks through the use of solid state drives using flash memory, LED displays and advanced manufacturing processes.


    SOURCE
     
  2. chicha29

    chicha29 New Member

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    A point of clarification: Google TV was designed to be an "always on" device. Are we talking about Google TV as part of this problem? ? How about a DVD player? If so, I'll be unplugging my Revue every night!
     
  3. Esalas666

    Esalas666 New Member

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    I have 2 dish network set top boxes 1 revue sometimes the pc for dlna no wonder why the electricity bill is so d@#$ hi. Im going to unplug all my tv equipment on and off for one month to see if there is a change on the bill.
     
  4. Rickaren

    Rickaren New Member Staff Member

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    It will lower your bill for sure. Anything that is plugged in 24/7 and is running and creates heat costs. In the Winter time they lower your heat bill, unless you have electric heat! In my Home Theater Room I had to add a cold air return because of 2 DVRs, A/V receive, GTV box and a big screen creating heat. Would like to know how much your bill is lowered. I also leave my desktop computer on 24/7 since I'm on it so much.
     
  5. thedude

    thedude Member

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    I just leave mine on all the time (DVRs).

    Why pick on tv? It's a luxury of civilization. What's the next thing they'll pick on? Baby monitors? Air conditioning?

    Give me a break.

    Sent from my Nexus S 4G using Tapatalk
     
  6. Rickaren

    Rickaren New Member Staff Member

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    Why watching TV is costing more than you think it does

    June 30, 2011

    Elizabeth Haggarty

    The set-top boxes that pump digital cable into living rooms have become the single largest consumer of electricity in many American homes, according to a report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) .

    “In 2010, set-top boxes in the United States consumed approximately 27 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, which is equivalent to the annual output of nine average (500 MW) coal-fired power plants,” the report reads.

    With the average Canadians household home to two set-top boxes, according to Natural Resources Canada, Canadian pockets are also being hit with a higher cost for viewing than mere cable fees.

    In fact, set-top boxes use half the energy of a standard refrigerator and more than your high-definition TV.

    And don’t think just because you aren’t flicking through channels that your cable box isn’t adding to your electricity bill. The average set-top box consumes just as much energy while active as when your TV is off.
    And that’s where the problem lies, says the NRDC — the lack of an effective standby mode.


    Subscribers to digital TV are forced to use the set-top boxes provided by their carrier, and while some Canadian and European companies offer boxes that go into standby or “deep-sleep” mode when not in use, American companies do not.

    “Our current digital set-top boxes are Energy Star compliant and are designed to go into standby mode at 1 a.m. each night,” Heather Agnew, a Rogers representative, told the Star. “They remain in standby mode until the customer uses the remote.”

    Energy Star estimates their boxes save consumers $12 a year, according to Natural Resources Canada’s website.

    But unlike European models that cut their energy consumption by half when they go into standby mode or by 95 per cent when in “deep sleep” mode, Rogers’ Energy Star set-top boxes cut energy consumption by 25 per cent when on standby.

    And those who turn on their TV before work will be paying for the electricity it gobbles during the day, unlike European models that automatically power down after an hour has passed, not at a set time.
    Bell Satellite TV and Bell Fibe TV also use boxes that meet Energy Star requirements.

    “Our boxes go into standby mode after four hours of inactivity,” said Albert Lee of Bell Media relations. “As for comparing energy usage between active and standby, the savings aren’t dramatic.”

    While there are no numbers for Canadians, 66 per cent of the energy consumed by set-top boxes in the U.S. is used when people are not watching TV, states the NRDC report.

    Those using DVRs to record programs are paying extra for the convenience of their viewing pleasure, with the boxes using 40 per cent more than cable boxes.

    “Better designed pay-TV set-top boxes could reduce the energy use of the installed base of boxes by 30 per cent to 50 per cent by 2020,” the NRDC report reads.

    And while more and more people are turning to streaming devices such as Netflix and Google TV, which use less energy than set-top boxes, consumers of these services frequently have a cable box in their homes as well.

    “Unless the industry deploys more energy-efficient designs, the electric bill to power these devices will increase by a staggering $3.5 billion per year by 2020,” the report states.
    SOURCE
     
  7. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    It was posted a while back in the Logitech Revue forum that the Revue uses between 11 watts to 13 watts of power. It's not 100% ideal in that there is no power off button or energy saver mode (stand-by mode). However that amount of watts is pretty small and equal to about one of those energy-saving light bulbs. The new Google TV boxes that use ARM chips will draw even less power. I unplug my Revue at night - and I have not noticed any impact on my electric bill at all from my Revue use. Just think how much electricity you would be using with a desk-top computer. In comparison Google tv SAVES electricity.
     
  8. chicha29

    chicha29 New Member

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    While it's an expense for the consumer, it's income for the electric companies. The state PUC's (public utility commissions) need to step in here. While the (regulated) utility companies need permission for rate increases, it's the responsibility of the PUC's to see to it that the consumer's interests are protected. Though the "free-marketeers" may see it differently. Wars are being fought due to this "negligence" on the part of the parties involved - the set-top makers, the utility companies, the whole chain of players!

    Like Washington bureaucrats, the various state utility commissioners hold revolving door positions. After their government appointments expire, they move on to executive positions in the companies they previously regulated. Like a horse with blinders on, they care not if Rome is burning due to their official acts. (Rome being the Unites States which IS burning, figuratively, due to armed conflicts to secure our "oil pipeline" and energy interests.)

    Edit: CAUTION: RANT!
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011

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