The surprising truth about your cable box

June 29, 2011 at 2:05 pm 1 comment

What do you pay for cable every month? Ever thought about how much of your energy bill is due to cable? The price tag might surprise you, and the hidden environmental costs are even more shocking.

Cable Box

According to a new report from the National Resources Defense Council and Ecos, in 2010 the 160+ million TV boxes in the U.S. cost households more than $3 billion. Additionally, they resulted in nearly 16 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and consumed the equivalent of approximately 9 coal-fired power plants.

If you think you are doing everything you can to reduce your energy usage and keep the bill low, you might be wrong. I thought I was doing a great job until I read this report. Apparently, some cable boxes even use as much energy when they are powered down as they do when they are on. In fact, according to the study, “Today’s set-top boxes operate at near full power even when the consumer is neither watching nor recording a show. As a nation, we spend $2 billion each year to power these boxes when they are not being actively used.”  According to MG&E a cable box can cost up to $24.00 a year if not in use at all!

Timed Power Strip

Unfortunately, a lot of this waste is due to poor design. Better designed cable boxes could reduce energy intake by 30 to 50 percent in the next several years, but in the meantime, what can we do to stop the unnecessary flow of resources and reduce our energy bills? Investing in a power strip with a built in timer will save you money in the long-run.   Belkin has a whole line of energy saving power strips, some on timers, some with auto-off, so that when you shut off your TV, your whole entertainment center will shut off.  By plugging your entire home entertainment system (TV, DVD player, cable box, etc) into the power strip you can stop ghost-charging in one push of a button and, if you forget, the timer will do the work for you!

Dorothy, EnAct Intern


Entry filed under: other.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Haywood Metzker  |  November 15, 2012 at 3:51 am

    The best power strips are those that have internal circuit breakers in them. –

    Have a look at all of the freshest write-up on our web blog


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