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Topic # 85856 27-Jun-2011 09:39
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Good article discussing one of the areas of power use in the home that hasn't been subject to the same progress in savings as other household appliances. No doubt this is partly due to the fact that most of these boxes are supplied by the content provider and thus aren't subject to the same consumer buying pressures.

Atop TV Sets, a Power Drain That Runs Nonstop

Apparently set-top boxes account for 3 billion dollars in power consumption in the US each year and consume more power (annualized) than the average fridge and much more than the TV that shows the pictures.

In the case of our MySky HDi it consumes about 30w on and 23w in low power mode, probably about 220-250 kwhr per year or around 1/2 a fridge and 50 dollars on the annual power bill.

I use an x10 control to switch mine off while not in use. It takes a couple of minutes to boot back up each time which is not an issue for me.

It is to be hoped that suppliers really look to improve on this area in their next product cycles, both running power and standby.


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  Reply # 486310 27-Jun-2011 10:05
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Putting your STB on a cheap timer that turns it off say 12am - 8am is another easy way to save a little bit of power, depending on how predictable your usage is.

Would be interesting to see how much extra the mysky hdi uses when downloading ondemand content versus a normal standby mode, so you could figure out how much that functionality costs you each year in terms of electricity use.

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  Reply # 486316 27-Jun-2011 10:10
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  Reply # 486318 27-Jun-2011 10:12
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My home theatre system, with a game system, big LCD TV, sub, and amp draws about 40W when turned off, as does the other one in the house. I worked it out to cost about $150/year to keep the devices in standby.

I keep my system turned off at the wall when i'm not using it, because it comes on within about 10 seconds. My flatmate keeps his turned on, because the Telstra Clear cable box takes many minutes to start working once it's powered on.




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  Reply # 486319 27-Jun-2011 10:13
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I am happy to shutdown our Media Center as it boots in under a minute. But what about the TiVo? It takes minutes to actually be usable for example...





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  Reply # 486330 27-Jun-2011 10:32
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I have the same concerns re TiVo with 2 units running 24/7. However I am happy to pay for the convenience of having my media devices available when I want them vs having to wait 5+ minutes before I can watch TV, not to mention the inability to run recordings after hours etc.

Saving power is great, but one can get carried away and create a false economy.

This should be an issue for the developers.






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  Reply # 486362 27-Jun-2011 11:36
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I have a Belkin Conserve board, with a remote attached next to the light switch.
It lets me turn off 4 items (up to 6 if I need) with a flick of the remote... while the MySky box and Apple TV are always turned on.

Items that turn off = Pana plasma, amplifier, PS3, wireless headphones. Very handy - especially as it doubles as a surge protector :-) Something that I wouldn't be without in Chch right now!
Cost wise, I got a good price when I bought it, so I may be close to breaking even with the standby power savings by now? I really need to test my standby power usage to be sure though.



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  Reply # 486364 27-Jun-2011 11:38
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I agree that for the consumer the power cost is often irrelevant within limits.

Going forward I guess if you look at ARM products like Apple TV that has a 6w power supply and probably runs at about 1/2 that you can see what might be possible....probably 5+ years down the track for Sky type boxes I would think.

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  Reply # 486371 27-Jun-2011 11:51
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Is that the stats for the ATV1 or ATV2?



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  Reply # 486376 27-Jun-2011 12:01
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Dunnersfella: Is that the stats for the ATV1 or ATV2?


That is the ATV2 I assume, A4 chip. Obviously there's more to a DVR than in a Apple TV but looking at possibilities.

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  Reply # 486396 27-Jun-2011 13:05
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There's also the factor that most electronic applicances that fail, fail on power-up. Among other things this can be due to in-rush currents and thermal shock. For that reason I have no problem leaving most of my HT components at least on standby.

For those of us in colder parts of the country, leaving these appliances on is no different from having a small panel heater running ;-)




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  Reply # 486400 27-Jun-2011 13:11
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The Homecast box seems pretty good. If the quoted figures are to be believed it uses 28w in operation and only 8w in sleep mode. So that is only 70kwh per year or about $20 if all it did was sleep for a year. 




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  Reply # 486426 27-Jun-2011 13:55
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Has anyone measured the power use of the Telstra digital STB when on and in stand by? Would be interested to know what that uses as ours stays on 24/7. The media center goes to sleep S3 when not in use (after 30mins of no use) TV uses 1w and amp uses 0.5w.







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  Reply # 486523 27-Jun-2011 17:49
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nickb800: Putting your STB on a cheap timer that turns it off say 12am - 8am is another easy way to save a little bit of power, depending on how predictable your usage is.

Would be interesting to see how much extra the mysky hdi uses when downloading ondemand content versus a normal standby mode, so you could figure out how much that functionality costs you each year in terms of electricity use.


I'd just like to say this is a bloody good idea, you've inspired me... I'm going to go find my timer and look to set it up on our home entertainment gear. 

I do like the idea of a remote controlled one but investing in new stuff seems counter-productive. Perhaps when my surge-boards fail or expire...




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  Reply # 486530 27-Jun-2011 18:19
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There's quite a few bits of kit out there with timers built in...
Don't know about multiplug surge boards though.

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  Reply # 487044 28-Jun-2011 17:54
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I'm firmly in the "leave on" camp.  My TV recording is via MythTV running on my NAS, a QNAP TS-809.  While I could play the scheduled power cycle game, it takes nearly 6 minutes from hitting the power button until MythTV is running - assembling the giant 8-disk RAID-6 array is far from instant and there are a ton of other services starting on boot along with.

I can only work out vague power consumption figures, but the 700VA UPS it's plugged into is reporting 25.5% load with the disks in the NAS spinning, plus the cable modem, two routers and HDHomeRun that also run from it.  I figure due to the UPS being somewhat ancient it's good for maybe 400-ish watts, so we'll call that 105W.  Seems a little high but I figure it spends 90% of its life doing considerably less than it was at the point I measured that.

Anyone know if these cheap dickies power meters are any good?  I'm curious to get a more accurate figure now.

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