ZVOX Blog

Our Cable Boxes Use Ridiculous Amounts of Power -- And It's Time To Do Something About It.

Posted by Tom Hannaher , Monday, June 27, 2011
Most cable boxes, because they never really go into "standby mode," use a lot of power. According to a recent New York Times article, if you have two HD cable boxes in your home, it's likely that they use more power in a year than an efficient refrigerator -- 446 kilowatt hours! (In contrast, we estimate that a ZVOX 555 sound system will use about 7 kilowatt hours per year.) We're not sure what can be done about this, but we have some ideas. Like send an email to your cable provider. Here's a copy of the email we sent to Verizon this morning (we recommend you send a similar missive to your cable supplier):


I want to get cable service that uses less electricity than my current set top boxes...which according to the New York Times use more power than a refrigerator!  What can I do? Get service without the boxes? Cancel Verizon and switch to Apple TV? Do you have more efficient set top boxes? Help! This cannot go on!

Another option is to throw out the cable boxes and those handy DVRs and plug the cable right into our TV -- but picture quality seems to suffer. Or, as we hinted at in the email, we could just drop cable and watch Neflix and Hulu Plus through our Apple TV and Roku boxes. Or we could connect our cable box power cords to a Smart Strip power strip, which deprives the box of power when the TV is off -- but that means the DVR can't record while the TV is off. And it also means that every time we start the TV, it will take several minutes for the cable box to "boot up" (just like a computer).
But something's gotta be done.
 
Click here for information on Smart Strip power strips
Click here to link to New York Times article
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