Uh Oh: Your DVR Is Bad For Globull Warming

Obviously, someone else has to do something to stop the waste of electricity which leads to the release of greenhouse gases, killing everything! Your DVR Guzzles Electricity — Whether You Record the Daily Show or Not!

Turns out that one of the most inconspicuous home fixtures is one of the biggest energy hogs — even when they aren’t recording or replaying programs!

Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) allow users to record television programs to a storage device (hard drive, memory card, etc.).  They also use more electricity than a refrigerator! (albeit, an energy efficient one.)

The startling state of DVR efficiency was brought to light by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The report finds:

In 2010, set-top boxes in the United States consumed approximately 27 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, which is equivalent to the annual output of nine average (500 MW) coal-fired power plants. The electricity required to operate all U.S. boxes is equal to the annual household electricity consumption of the entire state of Maryland, results in 16 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and costs households more than $3 billion each year.

Remarkably, “U.S. set-top boxes continue to use almost as much power when not in use as they do when in use.

Well, there you go, Alarmists, they are evil. You can certainly give yours up in order to help stop anthropogenic global warming, right? What’s that, you say? You depend on your DVR, and that other guy should give his up? And Government should mandate that they be made more Gaia friendly? But, you’ll tell everyone about how evil they are? Glad you could walk the talk.

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3 Responses to “Uh Oh: Your DVR Is Bad For Globull Warming”

  1. captainfish says:

    OMG. They are really breaking out the psychotic stories of late. Guess they see this as their last chance to change society before the new ice age begins.

    One wonders how much a TV uses? Or a waterbed heater? Or an electric water heater? Or … gasp… an Air Conditioner?!?! Hmmmm.. how about ceiling fans? Or… horror of horrors… the computer this doofus used to write his piece of tripe?!?!?! Does said doofus work in a large building?!?

    I wonder how much energy the cable company uses to deliver those 500 channels to said doofus’ huge TV while he is plunking away on his computer in his Air Conditioned office building?!?!

  2. gitarcarver says:


    Yeah, there is a lot of hysteria in this article, but at the same time the parasitic energy use of the boxes when not on is troubling and wasteful at the same time. Not only that, it is something that affect owners because we are paying the bills.

    A better design is possible.

    But the fact of the matter is there is limited competition for boxes. Most are mated to the service provider, so the provider has no incentive to make a unit that uses less power because you aren’t going elsewhere to get another box.

    The hysteria in this article is over the top. However, one of the fundamental findings – the parasitic power usage – is a very good point that hopefully people will see and have companies address.

  3. captainfish says:

    Hi Gitarcarver,
    Oh, I agree with that. However, my point was that there are much larger sources of parasitic energy suckers around.

    However, I would not necessarily consider the DVR a parasite. Does it really use more energy when turned off than a refrigerator? Most devices nowadays go in to low power mode when off.

    There are power strips that you can purchase that will completely shut power down to a device when the strip senses that the device has entered a low-power state. However, this is not something to have for a DVR. 98% of the people want their devices to turn on when they click the power button on the remote.

    I’m probably even in a worse case. My video and audio equipment are plugged in to a large UPS. That thing is always sucking juice. But, I also do not suffer the brownouts or surges. I also have 3 computers going almost 15 hours a day. Add in all the other household appliances and gadgets,… one little DVR sucking in a little juice while powered on or off won’t change anything.

    Especially when the electric Heater or Air Conditioner are going 24 hours a day.

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