Do you have a satellite or cable box around your TV with recording capabilities, often called a DVR?
Chances are, you do. With 160 million of these so called ‘set-top boxes’ in the United States, there is roughly one box for every two people in America, and this number is growing.
These boxes are generally running 24 hours a day, even when not in use. They are massive energy hogs that can use as much electricity as your refrigerator. A recent study by the National Resources Defense Council found that these boxes use roughly $3 billion in electricity per year. Most of this electricity is not put to use watching or recording any television.
Currently, manufacturers have little incentive to develop set-top boxes that are more energy efficient. However the EPA’s Energy Star standards are beginning to tighten up, and by 2013 there will be new standards that will mandate that these boxes be more energy efficient in order to receive an Energy Star label. Cisco Systems, one of the largest makers, now offers a fanless DVR box to help meet energy efficiency regulations.
Until these efficient boxes are more widely available, consider unplugging your box when going away for a few days. Also, it may be wise to reconsider the need for multiple recording set-up boxes in the house.
Do you really need three Tivos?