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New Set-Top Boxes Cut Energy Consumption

LOUISVILLE, CO.: According to a new report from Cable Labs, the latest generation of DTV set-top cable boxes with their “light sleep” standby mode can create significant energy savings.

“Our CableLabs Energy Lab test measured further reductions of 20 percent or more by implementing light sleep,” said Ralph Brown, chief technology officer at CableLabs. “Applying EPA estimates for how long a typical set-top powers down and the average energy savings we measured, this indicates annual energy savings of about 35 kilowatt hours per set-top. We anticipate that operators will have more than 10 million set-top boxes in light sleep operation by the end of this year.”

“Light sleep” refers to a low-power consumption condition which allows set-top boxes to perform essential internal activities while shutting down other tasks such as video displays and channel tuning.

CableLabs said that six major U.S. cable companies were now committed to deploying boxes with the “light sleep” feature. Collectively, the companies serve about 85 percent of this country’s cable subscribers. Cable operators will also be promoting software upgrades for millions of older set-top units to create further energy savings.

Cable Labs says that their Energy Lab testing unit measured 20 percent or greater energy reductions when the devices went into a “light sleep” mode. The firm said that it’s expected that by the end of next year, the majority of U.S. cable operators will be purchasing Energy Star 3.0 devices for deployment to their customers.

CableLabs was founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry. The research and evaluation consortium operates on a non-profit basis, pursuing new technologies for the cable industry and helping system operator members integrate these technologies into their businesses.