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Another reason to drop your Cable/Sat. Service, the Power Bill

Discussion in 'Cord Cutters Club (Internet TV)' started by theBruce, Jul 8, 2019.

  1. theBruce

    theBruce Topic Starter Supporting Founder
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    Awhile back the LA Times did a report about the power a cable TV DVR uses when idle. According to the report, for every hour that the DVR is not in use it consumes 35W of power. So, for every month that you do not even use it you pay $8 a month for the electricity it consumes. Now if you have multiple cable boxes in the house and actually use them to stream it could easily add up to over $20 a month. Over the course of a year a cable DVR just being idle will cost $96.

    In Comparison-
    • Roku Express uses 2.4W (typical) when streaming.
    • Roku Streaming Stick uses 3W (typical) when streaming.
    • Roku Ultra use 4.5W (typical) when streaming.
    According to the numbers from the LA Times, Roku uses 1/8th the power when in use versus the power a cable TV DVR uses when idle. With some of our readers reporting that their power bills dropped by $40 a month after ditching cable TV, you can see how that can really add up.

    Roku is not the only streaming device. There are DVRs for cord cutters also. So, we asked Tablo what its DVR uses, and Tablo let us know that the Tablo DVRs use 9.2 watts of power every hour when idle and 15 watts of power per hour when all four tuners are recording a show and one channel is being watched live. So, even when using your Tablo DVR you still only consume half the power an idle cable DVR needs.

    Cable TV Boxes Raise Your Power Bill by Almost $100 a Year - Cord Cutters News
     
  2. Juan

    Juan Supporting Founder
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    So whats the difference between a cable dvr and standalone one?

    Sent from my SM-G950U using the SatelliteGuys app!
     
  3. Foxbat

    Foxbat Addicted to new HW
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    The EE in me is cringing at the flagrant disregard of proper usage. The reported Roku devices usage is correct, but the DVR doesn't use 35W of power ever hour, it uses 35 Wh (Watt-hour). Likewise, the Tablo DVR uses 9.2 W at idle, no matter how long it's idle. In an hour of idle state, it will have consumed 9.2 Wh of power which is what (I almost said "watt" ;)) your power company is charging you for.
     
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  4. navychop

    navychop Member of the Month - July 2014!
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    35*24*30*$0.13[KWh]~=$3.28 per month. VA rates, not CA rates.


    Sent from my iPhone using SatelliteGuys App. For now.
     
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  5. ncted

    ncted SatelliteGuys Pro
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    0.35*24*30*$0.103~=$2.60 per month, NC rates. That said, I'd like to see more energy savings from these consumer devices.
     
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  6. klang

    klang SatelliteGuys Master
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    As long as I can watch what I want, when I want, I don't care. :p
     
  7. Zookster

    Zookster SatelliteGuys Pro

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    But how much energy does Roku devices use while idle? It's always on, unless you unplug it between uses.
     
  8. ncted

    ncted SatelliteGuys Pro
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    Presumably less than when actively streaming. Either way, less than a traditional STB.
     
  9. Zookster

    Zookster SatelliteGuys Pro

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    It's obviously less. I'm just curious whether it's worth disconnecting a Roku from power at the power strip when not in use since it doesn't need to be always on for recording purposes like a traditional STB -- another possible advantage.
     
  10. ncted

    ncted SatelliteGuys Pro
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    OK. I see. In my experience, it isn't worth it as automatic updates of the firmware and apps doesn't happen while idle. I did this with the Roku in my workout room, and it tended to be more unstable than if I just left it on all the time. I will hook my Kill A Watt up to my Ultra and see what it uses while idle tonight if I can remember.
     
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  11. Zookster

    Zookster SatelliteGuys Pro

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    I have a Fire TV stick connected to a bedroom TV that I use only once or twice per month. It's always powered (warm to the touch), yet each time I use it, I still have to wait for it to go through some FW updating process lasting several minutes. No issues with my Rokus, of course.
     
  12. ncted

    ncted SatelliteGuys Pro
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    Do you have automatic updates enabled on the Firestick? Mine all update on their own pretty well, if not as seamlessly as Roku.
     
  13. Zookster

    Zookster SatelliteGuys Pro

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    I don't see any settings for that. My first-gen stick seems to auto-update, but whenever I go to use my newer FireTV stick, I get the message, "Optimizing system storage and applications. This will take approximately 10 minutes" along with a progress bar. I just went into the settings menu and it does seem to have an update ready to install. This after waiting through that initial 10-minute process. The only other thing I can think of is, though the FireTV stick itself is plugged into a wall outlet, it's connected to an HDMI/optical digital converter, which is plugged into my TVs USB port. I can't be sure if that USB port stays powered when the TVs off, but both the stick and converter always feel warm to the touch.
     
  14. ncted

    ncted SatelliteGuys Pro
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    That message apparently can indicate you are not using the correct power adapter for the Firestick. If it isn't that, then a factory reset is recommended. I've never personally had this issue though.
     
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  15. Zookster

    Zookster SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Yep. After googling around a bit, I realized that might be the trouble. When I was setting up and testing the audio converter, I may have swapped my first-gen stick power adapter with the new one. Up to now, I had thought it was normal for a rarely used FTV stick to go through this updating/optimizing process. But it happens every time.
     
  16. ncted

    ncted SatelliteGuys Pro
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    Roku Ultra while streaming: 5 watts (or 4.5-5.4 watts as my Kill A Watt only reports whole numbers)
    Roku Ultra while idle: 4 watts (3.5-4.4 watts)

    I left it sitting idle for about 2 hours, with the TV off, and the usage didn't change from 4 watts.
     
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  17. cypherstream

    cypherstream SatelliteGuys Pro

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    My Roku express turns off when the tv turns off. It’s powered by the TV’s USB port. No issues, it just takes 10 seconds to boot up.

    DVRs may fair better with SSD don’t you think? No spinning motors or moving arms.
     
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  18. mwdxer1

    mwdxer1 SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Totally agree. Many items in a household uses power. Phone chargers, DVD Players, etc' That is unless you unplug everything. A few bucks a month to have the uses of a DVR, is well worth it for me. I have two, the one in the vip211k Dish receiver and the one in the Amazon Recast.
     
  19. ncted

    ncted SatelliteGuys Pro
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    You'd think that, but not that much. Best I can figure, about 5 watts between the most power hungry DVR drive I could find (WD Purple 8TB) and a typical large capacity SSD: 8.6W vs. 3.7W. Those numbers are for writes, which a DVR would be doing all the time. Also, SSDs are a consumable item. They have a limited number of writes and then they stop being able to store data. Finally, an SSD that can be written to all day, every day, for years, in the 2TB size that is typical in DVRs costs about $400 each in bulk (Micron 5200 Max 1.92TB) compared to a 2TB spinning disk costing around $65 in bulk. The SSD would "wear out" before you could recover the extra up-front cost of the drive.
     

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