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Cable boxes and DVRs use more power than refrigerators
Neowin.net, ^ | Christopher White

Posted on 06/26/2011 6:24:21 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach

It’s 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



TOPICS: Business/Economy; Computers/Internet; Music/Entertainment; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: bravosierra; cable; cablebox; dvr; energy

1 posted on 06/26/2011 6:24:26 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Hit Hollywood with a Carbon tax


2 posted on 06/26/2011 6:27:35 PM PDT by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

That’s interesting.

I’ve got a kill-a-watt

I’ll have to plug it in and see for myself.


3 posted on 06/26/2011 6:27:48 PM PDT by nascarnation
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To: Las Vegas Dave; ShadowAce; NormsRevenge; Marine_Uncle; SunkenCiv; blam
Related thread:

Department of Energy Plans to Regulate Refrigerators

Build more power plants....technology is eating up all the juice.

4 posted on 06/26/2011 6:27:53 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Put how else will my cats stay warm they love to sleep on those things


5 posted on 06/26/2011 6:28:55 PM PDT by al baby (Hi Mom!!! I know i was kidding)
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To: qam1
Hit Hollywood with a Carbon tax

No such luck, they'll just use the "smart grid" to turn off the tv unless Baraq is speaking.

6 posted on 06/26/2011 6:29:36 PM PDT by nascarnation
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Another issue with a DVR is that it needs to be running so that it knows when to start recording your television shows.

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.

7 posted on 06/26/2011 6:44:36 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! Tea Party extremism is a badge of honor.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

What are these “cable box” and “DVR” things?


8 posted on 06/26/2011 6:48:31 PM PDT by MrEdd (Heck? Geewhiz Cripes, thats the place where people who don't believe in Gosh think they aint going.)
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To: al baby

LOL - I love cats!


9 posted on 06/26/2011 6:53:48 PM PDT by ninergold3 (Let Go and Let God - He IS In Control)
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To: MrEdd

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?


10 posted on 06/26/2011 6:54:38 PM PDT by txhurl (Did you want to talk or fish?)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

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.


11 posted on 06/26/2011 7:01:21 PM PDT by RightGeek (FUBO and the donkey you rode in on)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

There’s something worthy of recording on TV these days?


12 posted on 06/26/2011 7:08:13 PM PDT by Dallas59 (President Robert Gibbs 2009-2011)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
...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. :=)
13 posted on 06/26/2011 7:11:18 PM PDT by Bob
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

This is horse hockey. Where’s his numbers?


14 posted on 06/26/2011 7:20:16 PM PDT by PeaceBeWithYou (De Oppresso Liber! (50 million and counting in Afghanistan and Iraq))
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To: Bob

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!


15 posted on 06/26/2011 7:20:52 PM PDT by Dogbert41
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

On the other hand, if you open the refrigerator door in order to cool your house, you will use lots of electricity.


16 posted on 06/26/2011 7:22:15 PM PDT by reg45
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To: KarlInOhio
I agree. MY DVR just whirrs and purrs all the time whether I use it or not, probably keeping a ton of data constnatly updated on the hard drive on the odd chance I might turn it on and watch it.

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".

17 posted on 06/26/2011 7:25:43 PM PDT by OrangeHoof (Obama: The Dr. Kevorkian of the American economy.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Hey, we can live without food.


18 posted on 06/26/2011 7:27:48 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's the Obamacare, stupid! -- Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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To: Dallas59

Hollywood is doing their part to help us all conserve energy by producing nothing worth watching.


19 posted on 06/26/2011 7:27:57 PM PDT by OrangeHoof (Obama: The Dr. Kevorkian of the American economy.)
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To: al baby; ninergold3
LolCatSits
20 posted on 06/26/2011 7:34:58 PM PDT by Yardstick
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To: RightGeek

Nah, he’ll just give everyone an iPod of his speeches and some DVDs that were burned in England.


21 posted on 06/26/2011 7:46:42 PM PDT by hometoroost (Per Oceander: The only guarantees in life are death, taxes, and stupidity.)
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To: SunkenCiv

Hey, we can live without food.

But not cold beer.


22 posted on 06/26/2011 8:00:32 PM PDT by CrazyIvan (Obama's birth certificate was found stapled to Soros's receipt.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

At least the fridge shuts off once in a while.

Your AC adapters (transformers) run 24/7. You can put them all on power strips and shut them off when you’re not using them.


23 posted on 06/26/2011 8:07:43 PM PDT by ROCKLOBSTER (Celebrate "Republicans freed the Slaves Month")
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

The Dept. of Energy lists a small, 16 cubic foot refrigerator at 725 killowatt-hours.


24 posted on 06/26/2011 8:14:38 PM PDT by Prokopton
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To: Dallas59

>> “There’s something worthy of recording on TV these days?” <<

.
Not that I know of; that’s probably why I don’t own a DVR.


25 posted on 06/26/2011 8:21:01 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Going 'EGYPT' - 2012!)
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To: Bob

Great Catch *snicker*


26 posted on 06/26/2011 8:40:15 PM PDT by libertarian27 (Ingsoc: Department of Life, Department of Liberty, Department of Happiness)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
You can make a DVR use a LOT less power by using the same CPU boards used in the latest low-powered laptops or use a CPU circuit board based off the really low-power ARM CPU architecture. And make the hard drive use less power by making them spin at very low speeds (maybe 1500 rpm at most) before kicking them up to full speed during the recording and playback of TV shows.
27 posted on 06/26/2011 8:49:53 PM PDT by RayChuang88 (FairTax: America's economic cure)
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To: Yardstick

Thumbs Up!


28 posted on 06/26/2011 8:53:56 PM PDT by ninergold3 (Let Go and Let God - He IS In Control)
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To: RayChuang88

Build your own?


29 posted on 06/26/2011 8:55:39 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: SunkenCiv

Back to the caves?...


30 posted on 06/26/2011 8:57:52 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Our dvr only turns on about a minute before it records. Also have set top boxes that are only on when we turn them on.


31 posted on 06/26/2011 9:03:07 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Photovoltaics and windmills and nobuddy can tell me whud to do! ;’)


32 posted on 06/26/2011 9:03:11 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's the Obamacare, stupid! -- Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

>> “Build your own?” <<

.
And hack the proproprietary access codes to make it work?


33 posted on 06/26/2011 9:04:16 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Going 'EGYPT' - 2012!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

I figured this out sometime ago when I upgraded my cable box. When it is turned on then it puts out a ton of heat. I turn it off when I am not using it, and it is cool when it is off...So it uses much less power then.


34 posted on 06/26/2011 9:58:31 PM PDT by Revel
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