Report Reveals Hidden Cost of DVRs and Other Set-Top Boxes

Jun 15, 2011  •  Post A Comment

There’s a hidden cost to the increasingly ubiquitous digital video recorder and other set-top boxes, reports the Los Angeles Times’ Greenspace blog.

That’s the $3 billion in energy that the devices are costing consumers annually–with about $2 billion of it coming from inactive boxes that aren’t recording or playing back TV shows, the story says, citing researchers from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Overall, DVRs and other pay-TV boxes suck up 27 terawatt-hours of electricity a year, or as much energy as is produced by nine coal-burning power plants.

Consumers in Europe have access to set-top boxes that can shift into low power mode when not being used, but newer HD-DVR boxes in the U.S. use more energy than an average new flat-screen TV, the story notes.


  1. When LA Times Greenpeace pays my electric bill, then they can use their lame carbon footprint campaign. Until then, it’s none of their business or anybody else’s how much juice I devour for personal use. I guess newspapers can claim they don’t use any energy to print stuff that people no longer read anyway. Right, kettle? BTW, I love reading newspapers, but keep your nose out of my business. There’s still plenty of electricity let for all.

  2. Denlink, I think you’re missing the point. This isn’t about anyone’s personal consumption, but rather about how the boxes are designed. It doesn’t cost much more (if anything) to design and build a box that is smarter about it’s power usage. It’s time to stop designing these things (or anything, really) as if energy was free and plentiful. Things have been learned over the years… put that knowledge to use. Nobody loses.

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