Are DVR Boxes Worth the Energy They Waste?

It would take nine coal-burning power plants to produce the amount of energy DVR boxes waste

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DVR definitely makes life easier. Gone are the days of manually taping one show at a time onto clunky VHS casettes. With DVR, you don't have to pick a favorite show, you don't even have to be home to record it. Clearly, a genius invention. However this luxury, like most, comes at a price. Inactive boxes alone cost consumers about $2 billion a year in electricity. That's "the same amount of energy annually as is produced by nine coal-burning power plants," the Los Angeles Times points out today. A new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council discovered that "about 160 million digital video recorders and cable and other pay-TV boxes in the U.S. eat up 27 terawatt-hours of electricity a year and cost consumers about $3 billion." About $2 billion of that comes from inactive DVR sets alone! In fact, the study found that "with some form of pay-TV box in 80 percent of U.S. homes, the technology eats up as much electricity each year as all the homes in Maryland."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.