Skip to comments.Cable boxes and DVRs use more power than refrigerators
Posted on 06/26/2011 6:24:21 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
Its no surprise that the use of DVRs is increasing as more and more people become used to time-shifting instead of watching television on the networks schedule. DVRs are compared to competitors so that customers can find the best fit for their lives. Now the New York Times is reporting something that may surprise many people: Your set-top boxes consume more energy in a year than your refrigerator.
Initially you might assume that the main culprit is the hard drive spinning in the device, but according to the article, it only accounts for an additional 104 kilowatt-hours a year; a normal HD set-top box generates 171 kilowatt-hours a year compared to 275 kilowatt-hours a year for an HD DVR. The problem is that the electronics run 24x7, even when not being used by the customer. Some of this is related to the fact that providers push software updates in the middle of the night, while another issue is that customers expect their television to be instant-on. One of the biggest complaints about HD DVD and Blu-Ray way the fact that it took minutes for the machines to boot up, so having to wait for your set-top box to boot up each time would not be acceptable to most people.
Another issue with a DVR is that it needs to be running so that it knows when to start recording your television shows. Some DVRs, such as TiVo, will even record shows that it thinks you might like based on your previous viewing habits. Although a DVR could be made to spin down the drive and underclock the processor when not in use, a big chunk of power will still be consumed.
Although the article is a little misleading in that it shows two electronic devices taking up more power than a single appliance, with families having multiple set top boxes and DVRs in their house, it is a real concern.
Image Courtesy of New York Times
Hit Hollywood with a Carbon tax
I’ve got a kill-a-watt
I’ll have to plug it in and see for myself.
Build more power plants....technology is eating up all the juice.
Put how else will my cats stay warm they love to sleep on those things
No such luck, they'll just use the "smart grid" to turn off the tv unless Baraq is speaking.
No. It would be pretty easy to design it so that it takes very little power to just watch the clock and then spin up the hard disk and high speed encoding hardware when it is scheduled to record.
ome of this is related to the fact that providers push software updates in the middle of the night, while another issue is that customers expect their television to be instant-on.
Ditto. Checking the network is very low power. Also, it doesn't need to check constantly. Once an hour should be vastly more than enough.
The problem with my old ReplayTV is that even when it is "off" all that happens is the output is shut off. It still is constantly recording what it is tuned to, so I can turn on the box and say "That looks interesting. I think I'll rewind an hour to see how it started." That functionality means it is using 42 watts constantly whether it is "on" or "off". That's 368 kilowatts-hours a year (and the same amount for the downstairs one). Just being able to turn off live recording and a good stand by mode could save a lot of power.
What are these “cable box” and “DVR” things?
LOL - I love cats!
Apparently they are cable instruments/devices that the people we steal cable from pay for?
God knows what wattage their wireless routers cost em, too?
Not to worry - Ozero will save the earth by mandating only one channel with reruns of Obama speeches all day so you can tune in any time and don’t need a DVR.
There’s something worthy of recording on TV these days?
...a normal HD set-top box generates 171 kilowatt-hours a year compared to 275 kilowatt-hours a year for an HD DVR.Buy a few more and you can power your entire house with them. :=)
This is horse hockey. Where’s his numbers?
Buy a few more and you can power your entire house with them. :=)
I know! I went down and bought 4 of them and plugged them into my Chevy Volt!
On the other hand, if you open the refrigerator door in order to cool your house, you will use lots of electricity.
One cable company promotes a box that lets you rewind a show back to the beginning that you weren't watching or recording. That's got to be an energy hog.
I don't honestly believe that they are as energy-hungry as a refrigerator but I do think there must be several ways they could be made to run less when they are turned off. The problem is that customers don't want to wait for a boot-up time with their hard drives or program guides. I wish customers were given the option to be energy-efficient or "instant on".
Hey, we can live without food.
Hollywood is doing their part to help us all conserve energy by producing nothing worth watching.
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