Monday, June 23, 2014

Your Cable Boxes Secretly Cost You an Extra $100 a Year. Each.

Cable boxes are the biggest energy users in many homes, each one sucking nearly $100 a year out of your wallet. "The seemingly innocuous appliances — all 224 million of them across the nation — together consume as much electricity as produced by four giant nuclear reactors, running around the clock," reports Ralph Vartabedian reports for the Los Angeles Times.

I thought I'd see how much heat is needlessly thrown off by my Comcast box made by Motorola, so I put a thermometer on it and went out to run some errands. When I came home, it registered 86 on top of the box (compared to 75 in the room), but apparently at some point it had hit an astounding 94 degrees.

As I've covered before, this a failure of the free market, which gives cable companies no incentive to provide you anything more energy efficient than the crappy boxes they currently give you. It's not them who has to pay the electricity bill for these energy hogs.

That's why cutting the cord and getting rid of cable not only will save you big money on your cable bill, it'll save you small but noticeable money on your electricity bill. While cable boxes use 35 watts of power even in standby mode, streaming devices like Apple TV and Roku only use a maximum of 3 watts even when in use.

Congress could pass legislation mandating efficient boxes, which would save us money twice - once on our electricity bill, and again in infrastructure (those power plants) that we wouldn't need to build to power the boxes. But then the cable companies would give money to Americans for Prosperity to gin up outrage promote freedom and run attack ads. Best not to do anything - and by best I mean "best for Republican politicians' continued employment."

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