How Much Is Your DVR Really Costing You?

Adding in the cost of electricity could double the amount you pay for your DVR each month.  Is it time to demand that consumer electronics manufacturers give us the same level of energy efficiency improvements we’ve gotten from major appliances over the years?

Adding in the cost of electricity could double the amount you pay for your DVR each month.  Most HD boxes leased from cable providers cost you about $5 per month, and you’re probably paying $4 per month just in electricity for each box (assuming an average rate of $0.11/kWh for residential electricity and the average HD DVR energy usage of 446 kWh per year).

Over time, major appliances have become more energy-efficient, but consumer electronics like TVs, DVRs, and computers have offset almost all of those gains  according to the latest residential energy consumption survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  While some of those devices (like cell phone chargers) can be unplugged when you aren’t using them, the biggest electricity hogs are devices that generally remain plugged in all the time, like DVRs.

A recent National Resources Defense Council report found that a single HD-DVR consumes more energy than an Energy Star refrigerator, and that 2/3 of that electricity usage happens when the DVR is off and not recording or playing back programs.  Fortunately, they also suggest the potential for a 30-50% improvement in the energy efficiency of these devices within a few years’ time.

Is it time to demand that consumer electronics manufacturers give us the same level of energy efficiency improvements we’ve gotten from major appliances over the years?