Pay-TV's set-top energy initiative saved consumers $168M in 2013, report says

Energy-efficient set-top boxes saved consumers $168 million in 2013 alone, according to a report released by the National Cable Telecommunications Association.

The report highlights results of a voluntary program initiated in 2012 by 11 leading pay-TV operators accounting for more than 90 percent of U.S. pay-TV subscribers, as well as consumer electronics companies, various advocacy groups and the Department of Energy.

The plan was to cut set-top energy use by as much as 45 percent--the equivalent of three large 500-megawatt power plants' worth of yearly output--and save consumers as much as $1 billion annually on their electric bills.

With 85 percent of the set-tops deployed by pay-TV providers in 2013 meeting the necessary hardware and software mandates of the program, progress towards that goal has been made, apparently.

According to the report, compiled by D&R International, energy use by pay-TV set-tops declined 5 percent in 2013, an amount equal to the amount of power consumed annually by all Pittsburgh homes. On average, new boxes installed in 2013 consumed 14 percent less power than legacy devices deployed in 2012.

Part of the improvement is derived from chip and box makers engineering more efficient sleep and power-down mode modulation. But the now widely adopted practice of deploying whole-home DVRs--instead of installing a digital video recorder in every TV room--has also resulted in significant energy savings, the report says.

NCTA set top box energy consumption

Change in average energy consumption for set-top boxes between 2012 and 2013. (Source: NCTA)

For more:
- read this NCTA report
- read this National Resources Defense Council blog

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