Well, last year I rationalized, er, justified my laptop purchase because it saved energy. And it did. No, really. Now, I have installed my new TiVo Series 3 and have a similarly self-serving justification for its purchase: no more stupid cable box! Oh, and the TiVo is pretty cool, too. And this time, I have facts to back it up. Bottom line: I am using 50 Watts less, 24 hours per day now.
I purchased a Kill-A-Watt Monitor to measure how much energy various devices were using. When I ordered my new TiVo Series 3] (the cool one that does HDTV, amongst other tricks, such as emptying your wallet), I plugged everything in to my Kill-A-Watt and watched the energy usage, both when everything was on, and when standing, when everything was off. In the bad old days, I had to have a Motorola Cable Box plus the older TiVo running continuously. The new TiVo has two neat tricks: 1) you don’t need a cable box, and 2) it uses less power than the old TiVo, presumably by entering standby mode when needed). The cable box alone was good for 40W per hour — yes, this useless little device needed to be on all the time and gobbled more than a bright CF bulb 7×24. Then, the TiVo needed to be on, and it seemed to be on all the time. The new Series 3 uses CableCards (cards that meet the “PC Card” standard) to replace the cable box and which plug in to the TiVo. So the only thing that needs to be on all the time is the TiVo, and it seems to be smart about when to be on and when to be in standby mode.
So facts: with no TV usage for 24 hours in the old world, the two boxes together consumed an average of 67 Watts per hour. Wow — no wonder it was hot in the cabinet! Same scenario for the Series 3: 12W per hour. Still not nothing, but a lot better. At this rate, I can pay for the TiVo in less than 300 years (ok, that’s not a real number, but it’s not worth calculating).
What’s also interesting is that when the TV (26″ LCD Flat Panel) and the Receiver (fancy-pants Yamaha) are on, the whole setup draws about 230W! Man, I wish I knew what my old tube TV used! But at least I can say to the kids, sorry, no TV, you’ve reached your kilowatts per day maximum :-)