News: Cable boxes use an absurd amount of energy, even when they’re off

Game of Thrones¬†is about a collection of power-hungry individuals. This, it turns out, is appropriate. Because the machines many people use to experience the show‚ÄĒcable boxes, allowing live and time-shifted viewing‚ÄĒare themselves collections of power-hungry individuals.¬†Set-top boxes,¬†the¬†Los Angeles Times¬†reports, are shockingly greedy energy-guzzlers. There are approximately¬†224 million of them in the United States, dotted across the nation’s living rooms and bedrooms and taprooms. And, combined, they¬†consume approximately the same amount of electricity as would be produced by four nuclear reactors‚ÄĒenormous ones, running around the clock.

The boxes have become,¬†the¬†Times¬†writes, “the biggest single energy user in many homes, apart from air conditioning.”Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

That’s because they are, unlike¬†Game of Thrones¬†viewers, extremely bad at enjoying some downtime. The boxes¬†don’t just consume power when you’re using them; they also¬†suck up energy¬†when they’re turned off. That’s in turn because there’s a whole mess of work being done under the boxes’ casing: spinning hard drives, program guide updates, software downloads, all going on in the background. To the extent that “the devices,” the¬†Times¬†puts it, “use nearly as much power turned off as they do when they are turned on.”

You could actually unplug the boxes to stop all that work from being done … but then, of course, you’d have to reboot the machine. And you know what that requires? Yep: energy.

Read the full story. (The Atlantic)