Press Releases

Feinstein: New Energy Efficient Cable Box Plan a ‘Victory for American Consumers’

Industry decision to phase out ‘always-on’ cable boxes came in response to Feinstein letter; will save consumers up to $2 billion annually in utility costs

 Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today applauded a decision by the cable industry to begin a phase-out of always-on cable boxes and to deploy cable boxes with light-sleep and deep-sleep capabilities.

The announcement by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) came after Feinstein called on the industry to introduce cable boxes that will significantly reduce consumer utility bills. 

Experts estimate that television set-top boxes currently consume $3 billion in electricity each year—$2 billion of which is used when the boxes are not actively in use.

“I am pleased the cable industry was responsive to my request that it work on deploying energy efficient cable boxes,” said Feinstein. “I plan to monitor the progress of this initiative closely. Moving toward cable boxes with ‘light-sleep’ and ‘deep-sleep’ technology is an important victory for American consumers who stand to save substantially on their utility bills.”

The eight largest U.S. cable companies—serving 85 percent of all cable subscribers—committed to make cable boxes vastly more energy efficient.

The cable operators announced a four-step plan to phase out the always-on boxes:

  • Create a laboratory dedicated to developing energy-efficient cable box technology.
  • In 2012, the largest firms will add light-sleep technology to new and existing boxes that reduces power use by up to 35 percent when not in use.
  • By the end of 2013, companies will deploy Energy Star 3.0 cable boxes.
  • By the end of 2014, companies will begin field-testing deep-sleep set-top boxes to reduce power consumption by 90 percent when not in use.