2011-06-17 07:35:22Energy savings


I've always been a fan of energy savings, but the following sentence shocked me (h/t Romm):

"In 2010, set-top boxes in the United States consumed approximately 27 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, which is equivalent to the annual output of nine average (500 MW) coal-fired power plants."

only set-top boxes and only in the US = 9 coal fired power plants

2011-06-17 08:59:51OK
John Hartz
John Hartz

What the heck is a "set-top box"?

2011-06-17 09:10:16
Rob Painting

A PVR (personal video recorder) like TiVO. That they consume so much energy is mind-boggling!  

2011-06-17 17:18:06
Paul D


a set-top box doesn't have to be a PVR, it could be a digital-TV tuner (satelte or terrestrial) in a box that you connect to an old analogue TV to receive digital TV. It may not be able to record TV.


2011-06-17 17:29:04
Paul D


This sort of discussion has been had in the UK for a number of years.
People tend to leave all the TV equipment on standby, which can use a lot of energy. I think my set-top box, uses roughly the same energy as it does when in use, so I switch it off when I'm not watching TV. Actually I switch anything off when not using it!

When Labour were in Government, we had regular public information 'adverts' explaining that things should be switched off when not used etc. The Coalition government (aka the Torys) stopped spending money on them. It pleases the skeptics who didn't like being told what to do and probably threw something at the TV when the films came on during the advertising slots.


The Energy Wasting Day video was a parody of those public info films, it was made by a green climate campaign group, and it sent up the films, the people that waste energy and the energy companies.

2011-06-17 19:54:38


Actually, a lot of devices dissipate power even when just plugged into a live electrical circuit: leakage current. It's relatively small but still there.

2011-06-17 23:31:54
Paul D


Neal that is mainly because modern power supply circuits are solid state and may have some 'intelligence' built in.

There aren't many electronics products these days with a simple on/off switch on the mains side of the circuit.

If you go back some 20 years (probably more likely 30 years actually), most power supplies had a (heavy) transformer and the on/off switch was on the mains primary side which completely isolated the power. You are unlikely to find a transformer in a power supply these days. In fact, I wouldn't know much about them now. Many can self adjust to the local voltage.

The days of a power supply consisting of a transformer and some diodes are long gone!

2011-06-17 23:46:42Vampire Power
John Hartz
John Hartz

Standby power, also called vampire power, vampire draw, phantom load, or leaking electricity, refers to the electric power consumed by electronic appliances while they are switched off or in a standby mode. Some such devices offer remote controls and digital clock features to the user, while other devices, such as power adapter for laptop computers and other electronic devices, consume power without offering any features. This latter case is sometimes distinguished as no load power.