Your cable box never sleeps—and hence, never stops costing you money. America’s set-top boxes suck down $3 billion worth of electricity, an environmental group said in a report yesterday. The increasingly standard HD-DVRs are especially bad, consuming more than half the energy of an average new refrigerator—roughly two-thirds of which is used while you’re not even watching TV, according to USA Today.
“The consumer, who pays the electric bill, has little choice about what television set-top box the service provider installs, and how much energy it uses,” complained a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. And better options do exist; in Europe, Sky Broadcasting is using a model that consumes very little energy when idle, much like a cell phone.