Cable TV Boxes Raise Your Power Bill by Almost $100 a Year





woman at table frustrated with billsCord cutting for many is about saving money by using less expensive streaming options than cable TV; however, did you know it can also help lower your utilities bill? When considering the cost of cable TV one thing you should think about is all the power the cable boxes consume.

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.

So, would switching to cord cutting cut the cost of your electric bill? We did some digging and looked at what Roku players, the most popular streaming player for cord cutters, cost when looking at electric bills.

We started by reaching out to Roku to find out what the power usage of Roku is, and this is what Roku sent us:

  • Roku Express uses 2.4W (typical) when streaming.
  • Roku Streaming Stick uses 3W (typical) when streaming.
  • Roku Ultra use 4.5W (typical) when streaming.

Now this is when streaming versus the 35W an hour that the cable TV DVR uses when idle. That is a huge money saver; however, let’s put them head to head.

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.

So, if you are still thinking about being a cord cutter maybe it is time to take a look at not just the savings from not paying for cable TV but also the savings to your utility bill.

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