Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cable Companies Don't Care How Much Of Your Money Their Crappy Boxes Waste

What uses more power, your cable box with DVR or your refrigerator?

Thanks to outdated, inefficient cable boxes that run 24/7 regardless of if they're in use recording, an NRDC study (PDF) finds your cable box with DVR is a prime source of vampire power - wasted electricity when your appliance is "off."

But what do cable companies care? They don't have to pay your power bill. So as the New York Times reports, cable companies give you the box that's cheapest for them:
“The issue of having more efficient equipment is of interest to us,” said Justin Venech, a spokesman for Time Warner Cable. But, he added, “when we purchase the equipment, functionality and cost are the primary considerations.”

But energy efficiency experts say that technical fixes could eliminate or minimize the waiting time and inconvenience, some at little expense. Low-energy European systems reboot from deep sleep in one to two minutes.

Alan Meier, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said of the industry in the United States, “I don’t want to use the word ‘lazy,’ but they have had different priorities, and saving energy is not one of them.”
Cable companies make it clear in the article they'll have to be dragged kicking & screaming into the age of energy-efficient technology. But couldn't cable companies use the public relations boost that comes from a little greening? As The Atlantic reports this month:
Media-distribution companies, particularly in the cable and telephony markets, have among the worst customer relations in any industry: J. D. Power ranked the cable companies 18th out of 19 industries in service.
The easiest way to drive a stake through the heart of vampire power? Plug appliances into a power strip & turn that off when they're not in use. Discovery's HowStuffWorks has more details on vampire power:

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