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Cable boxes....

Posted by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 7:41 PM
  • 3 Replies

 This is crazy, no wonder we're using so much electricity....


Cable boxes use more power than the fridge

Hate the cable company? Now you have something new to complain about.

By Stacy Johnson on Mon, Jun 20, 2011 11:36 AM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.


According to a recent report (.pdf file) by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the cable TV boxes in your home may use more electricity than your refrigerator.


The average energy consumption of a typical household setup -- one high-definition digital video recorder and one high-def set-top box -- is 446 kilowatt-hours a year. A 21-cubic-foot Energy Star top-freezer refrigerator, on the other hand, uses 415 kwh. 


And it gets worse. Even if you never turn them on, it's not going to matter much, because set-top boxes use nearly as much electricity whether they're on or off. How much is it costing us as a nation? Post continues after video.

From this article on the NDRC site:

In 2010, the electricity required to operate all U.S. set-top boxes was equal to the annual household electricity consumption of the entire state of Maryland, resulted in 16 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and cost households more than $3 billion.
What can you do?

Unlike other household appliances, we don't get to choose the set-top boxes the cable or satellite TV companies provide. But there are at least three consumer solutions:

  • Power strip. As we said in last summer's "13 cool tips for lower energy bills," plug your TVs, cable boxes, DVDs, video games, etc., into a power strip and use the power strip as an on/off switch. If you've tried this with your cable boxes, however, you already know the problems. First, powering down your cable box means it can't record shows in your absence. It also means waiting for the channel guide to re-establish itself on power up -- a process that often takes minutes, not seconds.
  • Get a centralized system. You may have seen ads for newer systems that allow you to record shows in one room and watch them in another. These multi-room systems use one master DVR with "client" set-top boxes in other rooms receiving signals from the master. Compared with traditional setups, these use a lot less energy. The NDRC study compared two systems, each with three TVs. The first used the traditional one HD-DVR and two HD receivers. The second used one HD-DVR, and two "client" receivers. Result? The traditional configuration used 617 kilowatt-hours a year. The second used 179.
  • Kiss cable goodbye. Streaming technology like Netflix and Hulu uses a lot less power than set-top boxes. Combine that with getting traditional channels over the air with a digital antenna, and you may find that you can do away with cable entirely. For more, check out one of the most popular stories we've ever done: "You don't have to pay for cable TV."
What can cable companies do?

Obviously, they can use more efficient set-top boxes. In March, the EPA released Energy Star requirements for cable set-top boxes.  Starting in September, new boxes have to use at least 40% less energy than their predecessors in order to be labeled as Energy Star-compliant.

So what cable and satellite companies can -- and should -- do is require the suppliers of this type of equipment to meet Energy Star standards. Then they need to get the more efficient boxes out to consumers ASAP.


More on Money Talks News and MSN Money:

by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 7:41 PM
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by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 9:04 PM
I know :( it sucks though.
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by Gold Member on Aug. 17, 2011 at 11:51 PM

It sucks, but I know too many people that are addicted to their recorded shows and cable to change.

by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 11:55 PM
If out bill goes up like I think it will this month, we will ne cancelling. Comcast is siding the monthly box rental from $3 month to $25. Not worth it.
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