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Worth It: DVR Boxes Waste $2 Billion of Electricity Every Year

By / 06.15.11

A new study reveals that DVR units in the United States waste a butt-ton of energy every year. DVR boxes that are turned off and not recording a show still sap power from the grid, using the “same amount of energy annually as is produced by nine coal-burning power plants.”

About 160 million digital video recorders and cable and other pay-TV boxes in the U.S. eat up 27 terawatt-hours of electricity a year and cost consumers about $3 billion, according to researchers from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Inactive boxes that aren’t recording or playing back shows account for about $2 billion of that cost, the study found. Hitting the off button only dims the box’s clock or display, leaving it to continue consuming nearly the same amount of power.

With some form of pay-TV box in 80% of U.S. homes, the technology eats up as much electricity each year as all the homes in Maryland, researchers said. Newer HD-DVR boxes use 275 kilowatt-hours annually, compared with the 17 kilowatt-hours required by a compact fluorescent light bulb. [LA Times]

Well yeah. I would expect the DVR to use a lot more energy than a light bulb. The light bulb isn’t recording “Justified” for me. The light bulb doesn’t allow me to fast-forward through commercials and watch Adult Swim shows at my convenience. So just go ahead and take all the energy you need, DVR. I’ll sit in a dark room without air conditioning before I unplug you.

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