HD television boxes are big power suck

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Terry, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,110
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Those little boxes that usher cable signals and digital-recording capacity into televisions have become the single largest electricity drain in many U.S. homes, with some typical home-entertainment configurations eating more power than a new refrigerator and even some central air-conditioning systems.
    Elisabeth Rosenthal
    NY Times

    More of the story
  2. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Good point

    I can feel the heat from components in my ent. area. Its a real tragedy that we are adding florescent light bulbs and then negating the savings with all the other electronic stuff that never turns off even when off.

    And many if turned off with a strip switch, lose the presets.
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Don't worry,. according to another report today, the national grid intends to allow the frequency of the AC line to vary. This will make clocks run slower and air conditioners run faster. algore says it will all even out.
  4. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,301
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    As much as people pay for the services that provide HDTV, the power is a very small percentage of the total cost.

    And when they say "some typical home-entertainment configurations eat more power than a new refrigerator and even some central air-conditioning systems"
    That means they have one hell of an audio system. You have to pay if you want to play.

    The biggest problem that I see with most HDTV providers is that you get 200+ channels and there is still nothing worth watching.

    I think that HDTV is the biggest waste of money that a person can invest in, A big HD screen and only 2/3rds of the screen is used most of the time.

    The only reason they are always on is so that the provider can upload and download information in the middle of the night, to track what you have been watching, and screw up your system with a bad System Upgrade, while you are not looking. Just like Windows Automatic Upgrades does.

    This is just another plot to add another TAX for people that use home entertainment systems.


    Have a Great Day.


    DonL
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2011
  5. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,793
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Each oned of my Verizon Fios HDboxes uses 20 watts either on or off as my Kill A Watt unit measures. I did not check the HD DVR box, but I'm sure it uses a lott more, as its hard drive records whenever you watch TV; thats how you can rewind live TV. The little std Def digital converter boxes use 4 watts each, on or off. It all adds up.
  6. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,301
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Bob I think that the HD television boxes are a very small percentage of the total power usage, as you can see with your measurements.

    It all does add up. After you add the Audio System, Beer and Wine cooler, the popcorn maker and all the other stuff needed for a good home-entertainment system the Converter Box is a very small part of power usage.

    They are making a Big deal out of nothing, when it comes to the converter box itself.

    I want one of those 100 watt refrigerator and central air-conditioning systems that they refer to.


    DonL
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2011
  7. drick

    drick In the Trades

    Messages:
    392
    My HD TiVo draws 35 watts 24 hours a day on or off. While 35 watts isn't a ton its a total waste of power when the TiVo is not recording or playing anything. And if we took all the set top boxes and DVRs and designed then so they only draw 4 to 5 watts when in standby the power savings nationally would be substantial. And there is no reason we couldn't, except that the designers of the hardware are too cheap to add circuitry to throttle back the cpu when its idle. I find it annoying that so much time is spent on trying to get people to switch from standard bulbs to CFLs when something like this still needs to be addressed.

    -rick
  8. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,301
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    The failure rate of a lot of the hard drive recording systems is also high, because they run 24/7.

    It is a easy fix, because many hard drives are star rated, but the manufactures of the converter boxes fail to use that feature.

    They use the hard drive like RAM, so they have to be running all the time.

    You would think that they would just use a 50 cent memory chip instead of the hard drive for RAM.

    the CFLs are a joke and will not fit most of my lighting fixtures.


    DonL
  9. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,793
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    My Summer electrical bills are about 800 bucks (for 2 months) , so yes, it all adds up. my 1989 3 1/2 ton central A/C still works fine, as inefficient as it may be. I like compact CFLs, but in an application like a bathroom, where you turn them on and off more than a few times a day, their lifespan is too short, usually less than a year for me. In apps where they are on all night till about midnight, I have seen some last for about 2 1/2 or 3 years.
    In the year and a half that I've had Verizon Fios, the VDR has had to be replaced 3 times, so I am on the 4th box so far: hard drive failures.
    They are quick to replace the bad box, but then I have to program it for the TV shows my wife and I want to record. a big PITA
  10. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    I have a Motorola DVR box. It used to run the fan a lot even when not "on." I did a search and found that if you put some blocks under the feet to lift the box up an inch or two off the top of the table for better air flow, the fan runs less. It has worked for me.
  11. Furd

    Furd Engineer

    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    Wet side of Washington State
    Score one for older technology. I have a 27 inch JVC CRT-type television, three Panasonic DVRs, a Mitsubishi DVD player, a JVC video switcher and a digital over-the-air tuner all connected through an APC Back-UPS uninterrupuptible power supply. when everything but the digital tuner is in "standby" (the normal off) my Kill-A-Watt meter measures about 24 watts. That translates to a little more than 1/2 kilowatt-hour a day or 17.3 kilowatt-hours a month (30 days). At my electricity rate that is $1.47 a month. I think I'll keep my old technology.
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,049
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    My HDTV consumes 0.6W while in standby and less than 200W in use. My DSR 605 HD receiver max's out at 32W. I sure wish I could get central air so cheap!
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