Of all the appliances in your home which suck energy even while turned off, cable boxes waste more energy than refrigerators or even some air-conditioning systems.
American companies demonstrate a lack of interest in improving the energy efficiency of cable boxes because they are afraid that customers would become annoyed at having to wait for their home entertainment system to reboot from a power-saving mode.
The cable boxes usually run 24 hours a day. Many people accompany their box with a DVR which wastes 40% more energy. Together these set-top boxes consume $3 billions in electricity per year in the United States. 66% of that power, more power than the state of Maryland uses in a year, is wasted energy since most of the time no one is watching the television.
Yet, simply by altering the software installed on the cable boxes, a cable-network company could dramatically reduce the amount of energy required by the box. European companies have already designed and installed cable boxes capable of going into an optional “deep sleep” mode which reduces energy consumption by 95%.
In order to lower home energy use, cable companies must be incentivized to produce more energy efficient products. Currently the EPA requires that cable boxes consume a maximum of 97 kilowatt hours a year in order to receive the “Energy Star” seal. By 2013, the same products will be required to consume 29 kilowatt hours.
Now it is your turn to provide further motivation to companies such as Cisco Systems, Motorola, and Samsung. Be an informed customer and demand an energy efficient cable box. Your electricity bill will thank you.
Based on the NYTimes article: Atop TV Sets, a Power Drain That Runs Nonstop