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American TV Viewers to See Savings of $1.5B Annually from Set-Top Pact
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December 06, 2012

American TV Viewers to See Savings of $1.5B Annually from Set-Top Pact

By Cheryl Kaften
TMCnet Contributor

Pay for play just got cheaper.

On December 5, the nation’s top cable, satellite and telco TV providers and manufacturers, committed to unprecedented energy efficiency measures, are expected to save more than 90 million American households about $1.5 billion.

The 15 companies have signed on voluntarily to a Set-Top Box Energy Conservation Agreement that will result in massive annual residential electricity savings, according to their two chief trade groups, the Consumer Electronics Association (News - Alert) (CEA) of Arlington, Virginia; and the Washington, DC-based National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA).

Participating companies include providers (listed in order of number of customers) Comcast, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Verizon, Charter, AT&T (News - Alert), Cablevision, Bright House Networks and CenturyLink; and manufacturers Cisco, Motorola, EchoStar Technologies and ARRIS.

Through the five-year Set-Top Box Energy Conservation Agreement, which becomes effective on January 1, 2013, the industry has made the following commitments:

At least 90 percent of all new set-top boxes purchased and deployed after 2013 will meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR 3.0 efficiency levels. Based on market projections for set-top box deployments, this will lead to residential electricity savings of $1.5 billion annually, as the agreement is fully realized.

For immediate residential electricity savings, “light sleep” capabilities will be downloaded by cable operators to more than 10 million digital video recorders (DVR) already in U.S. homes. In addition, during the coming year, telco providers will offer light sleep capabilities, and satellite providers will include an “automatic power down” feature in 90 percent of set-top-boxes purchased and deployed.

Energy efficient whole-home DVR solutions will be available as an alternative to multiple in-home DVRs for subscribers of satellite and some telco providers beginning in 2013.

“Deep sleep” functionality in next-generation cable set-top boxes will be field tested and deployed, if successful.

“Providing American consumers with innovative services that deliver great video content and reduce in-home energy costs is a win-win for customers and participating companies,” said NCTA president and CEO, Michael Powell. “Multichannel video providers and device manufacturers are proud to participate in this unprecedented initiative, and we will continue to pursue even more ways to reduce the overall energy footprint of our services.”

According to the EPA, which sponsors and manages the ENERGY STAR (News - Alert) program, set-top boxes that are ENERGY STAR-qualified are, on average, 45 percent more efficient than conventional models. The new energy conservation initiative will produce more energy savings overall, and five years earlier than originally anticipated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in its most recent review of set-top box energy conservation issues.

Prior to this agreement, 2018 was the earliest date that any DOE set-top box standards would have been implemented.

“Our industry today commits to a comprehensive initiative that will lead the way to energy savings for consumers in this popular and rapidly evolving product category,” said Gary Shapiro (News - Alert), president and CEO, CEA. “The Set-Top Box Energy Conservation Agreement will protect innovation and consumer choice while reducing energy use and saving money.”

Companies involved in the new Set-Top Box Energy Conservation Agreement will meet regularly to review and update energy efficiency measures, as well as to host ongoing discussions with the DOE, the EPA and other interested government agencies and stakeholders.

To create accountability and support transparency, the agreement’s terms include detailed processes for verification of set-top box performance in the field; annual public reporting on energy efficiency improvements; and posting of product power consumption information by each company for its customers. 

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Braden Becker

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