The new deal will reportedly save $1 billion in energy costs annually for over 90 million American homes

Cable and satellite television boxes are getting a 10 to 45 percent boost in energy efficiency thanks to a new agreement.

According to, the new agreement was made between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Natural Resources Defense Council, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the Appliance Standard Awareness Project, the Consumer Electronics Association and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.

The new deal will reportedly save $1 billion in energy costs annually for over 90 million American homes. The energy saved will be enough to power 700,000 homes. 

This latest agreement is expected to improve efficiency on the TV boxes by 10 to 45 percent over the next three years. The amount of energy efficiency improvement will depend on what type of box you have. 
By 2017, about 90 percent of American homes with set-top boxes will work on par with the most energy efficient boxes on the market today.

“These energy efficiency standards reflect a collaborative approach among the Energy Department, the pay-TV industry and energy efficiency groups – building on more than three decades of common-sense efficiency standards that are saving American families and businesses hundreds of billions of dollars,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “The set-top box efficiency standards will save families money by saving energy, while delivering high quality appliances for consumers that keep pace with technological innovation.”

Making set-top boxes more efficient won't require any new regulations; they'll simply be voluntary. 

Cable and satellite providers like Verizon, Comcast and Dish Network are already onboard with the new deal. 

This is a welcomed deal, as a 2011 study measured the extent to which cable boxes and DVRs are energy efficient in U.S. home, and the results weren't looking good. According to the study, which was conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council, there were 160 million set-top boxes in the U.S. at the time and they consumed $3 billion in electricity per year (66 percent of this power is drained when no one is even using it). Also, one high definition cable box and one high definition DVR use about 446 kilowatt-hours per year, which is 10 percent more than a 21-cubic-foot refrigerator that is energy efficient. 

These boxes run 24 hours per day, even when they're not being used. The study found that add-on DVR's use an additional 40 percent more power than the set-top box. 


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