Comcast, DirecTV, Cisco, AT&T and other consumer electronics and pay-TV companies, along with the Energy Department and other organizations, have developed standards for cable TV boxes expected to avoid more than 5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
The voluntary agreement between the DOE, Natural Resources Defense Council, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, the Consumer Electronics Association and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association establishes non-regulatory energy efficiency standards that the groups say will improve set-top box efficiency by 10 to 45 percent (depending on box type) by 2017. The groups say the standards will also save more than $1 billion on consumer energy bills annually.
Agreement signatories include pay-TV providers Comcast, DirecTV, Dish Network, Time Warner Cable, AT&T, Verizon, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Cablevision Systems, Bright House Networks and CenturyLink; and manufacturers Cisco, ARRIS (including Motorola) and EchoStar Technologies.
A set-top box is a device combining hardware components with software programming to receive television and related services from cable, satellite, broadband or local networks. The non-regulatory agreement provides a framework for the DOE, pay-TV industry and energy efficiency advocates to work together on efficient, high-performing set-top boxes that keep pace with technological improvements, achieving what would otherwise be done through regulatory standards and test procedures.
The agreement, which runs through 2017, covers all types of set-top boxes from pay-TV providers, including cable, satellite and telephone companies. The agreement also requires the pay-TV industry to publicly report model-specific set-top box energy use and requires an annual audit of service providers by an independent auditor to ensure boxes are performing at the efficiency levels specified in the agreement.