The Energy Waste on top of Your TV

Since last year, I started unplugging appliances and have noticed a drop in my electricity bill and, according to the NY Times, the biggest wastes of power in the home (U.S.) is the digital receiver on top of our TV sets.

One high-definition DVR and one high-definition cable box use an average of 446 kilowatt hours a year, about 10 percent more than a 21-cubic-foot energy-efficient refrigerator, a recent study found . . . Cable providers and box manufacturers like Cisco Systems, Samsung and Motorola currently do not feel consumer pressure to improve box
efficiency. Customers are generally unaware of the problem — they do not know to blame the unobtrusive little device for the rise in their electricity bills, and do not choose their boxes anyway.

I guess this explains why my bills dropped so much.  I wonder if someone at the JoongAng Ilbo has thought of this problem since they seem to be concerned with cooling those new glass buildings in Seoul and a potential “energy crisis”. Maybe someone should start a home campaign in South Korea to unplug more TV boxes.

Energy Consumption in the Average Household (U.S.) from NY Times


  • jefferyhodges

    First, Bro!

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • The Sanity Inspector

    Gotta admit its hard keeping track of all these glowing rectangles in the house nowadays.

  • dogbertt

    I was not surprised by what I read in that article this morning — the amount of heat that comes off those devices is amazing. Turning your TV off doesn’t help; you need to make sure you turn off your set top box as well whenever you’re not watching.

  • dokdoforever

    You’d think that it wouldn’t be too much trouble for them to design the box to go on and off when the tv was turned on and off.

  • R. Elgin

    I’ve got this Samsung box and it is very easy to reach behind it and flick the power button to off every night but, yes, they should design their boxes better to save electricity. The amount of energy lost in South Korea due to this must be high.

  • Hamilton

    My cable box used to require a complete reboot (10-30 minutes) every time you shut it off although I did notice an appreciable ammount of electricity savings and that thing put out some serious heat. Many of the small electronics are not well designed for energy savings.

  • Sonagi

    I conserve even more energy, not to mention brain cells, by not watching TV at all.

  • Charles Tilly

    C’mon on now, Sonagi. You know there are shows on air right now or from the recent past that weren’t/are not of the brain-deadening variety. Just going from my personal tastes, shows like Battlestar Galactica, The Wire, Arrested Development, Lost (up to the fifth season), The Colbert Report, Parks and Recreation, and 30 Rock are fine shows that are not only entertaining but can get people to think.

  • Sonagi

    How would I know that, Charles, if I don’t watch TV? When I say I don’t watch TV, I really mean it. I have no television reception whatsoever.

  • Charles Tilly

    You do have online connection, right? That’s the way I’ve been watch a good majority of my “TV” recently.

  • chiamattt

    There are so many little things that could be done with motion sensors that would save an insane amount of electricity.

  • cmm

    Added up, illuminating all those “glowing rectangles” alone waste a massive amount of enery worldwide.

    Once we get rid of all of these waste of energy, let’s move on to my next peeve: elaborate, unnecessarily wasteful consumer product packaging.

  • hamel

    Do I have to unplug the box from the socket in order to save energy? How much energy is still being used if I put it on “standby” mode?

    My cat loves sitting on our set-top box because of its warmth…

  • Sonagi

    Yes, you must unplug it, hamel.

  • CactusMcHarris


    The puss-pusses here love to do that, too – there’s constant hot-racking going on.