STB power consumption plunges with efficiency standards | Infrastructure | News | Rapid TV News
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National set-top box energy use in the US is down by almost 40% since 2012  which means consumers are spending $1.6 billion less per year to power the black boxes connected to their TVs.

comcast 14 aug 2019While set-top boxes used to access pay-TV from cable, satellite, and telephone companies were quite inefficient back in 2012, the industry has been working hard to improve the new ones they purchase to install in homes.

“As a result, consumers now have lower electric bills and nationally we are avoiding the need to generate four large coal burning power plants’ worth of electricity,” said Noah Horowitz, director of the Center for Energy Efficiency Standards, Climate & Clean Energy Programme at NRDC commenting on a report from the US Energy Efficiency consortium.

“This means cleaner air and 9 million fewer metric tons of carbon emissions annually. And with the shift toward streaming and the increasing availability of ‘apps,’ many of the almost 200 million set-top boxes installed in the United States can soon be retired, delivering even more savings and avoided pollution.”

Due to a Voluntary Agreement signed in 2013 and renewed in 2018 between leading service providers like Comcast, AT&T, and Charter Communications, NRDC and the box manufacturers, the industry has committed to purchase lower power consuming set-top boxes. The agreement sets limits on how much energy each type of box can consume annually. According to the just released annual report published by the agreement’s Steering Committee, over 95% of all new boxes purchased by the service providers in 2018 met the energy use requirements.

It’s not all good news though: “While national set-top box energy consumption has come down significantly, we still pay over $2 billion in utility bills to run our boxes,” NRDC's Horowitz said. “Much of that is due to a design flaw where the box continues to consume near full levels of power even though you are not watching or recording a show.”