Better Viewing, Lower Energy Bills, and Less Pollution: Improving the Efficiency of Television Set-Top Boxes

More than 80 percent of U.S. homes subscribe to some form of pay television service. Transforming those signals into shows, movies, and sports on the screen currently depends on approximately 160 million set-top boxes. NRDC and Ecos partnered to better understand how much energy these boxes use and what energy savings opportunities exist. What we found was startling: In 2010, the electricity required to operate all U.S. set-top boxes was equal to the annual household electricity consumption of the entire state of Maryland, resulted in 16 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and cost households more than $3 billion. Fortunately, there is great potential for improving the efficiency and reducing the cost of operating these electronics relied upon by so many viewers.