"Set-top box" = Power hog? - TiVo could fix this with software

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by drcos, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. drcos

    drcos HD where available

    Jul 20, 2001
    Venice FL


    From Sunday (NY Times and it was in the local paper): Set top boxes constantly on

    I would think that TiVo could fix this with a software change...even for my S3's. Why not?
    Bring back standby mode (and even a selectable 'idle' mode like my TV has), let the TiVo go to sleep and spin down the drive. You could keep the RAM active. If a recording is scheduled, wake up and record it. I like the two half-hour buffers, but I don't need them to be constant.
    I would have no problem with a 5 or 10 second delay on 'waking up' the TiVo.

    How about it?
  2. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004
    we have had some threads before on how TiVo manages to keep the power consumption down on its boxes. Likely some will chime in with the real numbers.

    But yeah, I could deal with a spin down setting as an option. There would be some work on the software side some may not consider - the fact that TiVo DVRs periodically (as in every few minutes) check for schedule changes or anything someone has asked to push to TiVo like an Amazon download.
    Also the 2am check for new guide data would likely need a spin up as well each night. So a not insignificant effort and likely TiVo has looked at this idea when doing the S3 HD or Premiere.

    I am in the camp of get the premiere firing on all cylinders first
  3. BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Well-Known Member

    May 15, 2002
    The DVR is also busy receiving and processing guide data. It has other background tasks that it also performs. It does not have a lot of RAM, but instead relies on the page file on the hard drive. The hard would rarely spin down.

    Other DVRs have the (useless) energy-star logo, even though they are designed the same way.

    I just roll my eyes when people think their small electronic devices are power hogs. Try turning off your air conditioner, get a energy-saving refrigerator and furnace (or heat pump), insulate your house, etc. Think big, not small.
  4. cwteevee

    cwteevee New Member

    Dec 24, 2007
    Considering that the average HD-DVR tested uses 2/3's of the energy of a new refrigerator (and the average HD set-top box/DVR combo uses even more energy), this isn't thinking small.
  5. jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

    Feb 4, 2008


    Reference please, with actual calculations.
  6. mblloyd

    mblloyd Member

    Feb 11, 2007
    The Website Oksolar.com lists typical refrigerators as drawing 380 to 800 watts. CWTEEVEE, you say your TiVo in standby draws 2/3 of that power, 253 to 533 watts! How large is your hard drive?.
  7. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004
    exactly - it is important to note that the article was referring to the sum of all the DVRs and other gadgets in the house - not individual ones.

    I had both of my contractor grade heat pumps go bad recently. replaced both with typical energy conserving units and that was a dramatic drop in my electric bill. same with a new washer and dryer a couple years ago.

    best thing to take away from this article is to not leave wall warts plugged in when not being used and to check the energy use of the DVRs and other such items you have to make sure they are in a typical range and not over board.
  8. innocentfreak

    innocentfreak Well-Known Member

    Aug 25, 2001
    I would also say is their study is based off the DVRs from cable companies which for the most part is running on hardware that is several years old. I believe the Premiere draws around 32watts and the Elite will draw around 26watts.
  9. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

    May 6, 2002
    It's more complicated than that. The compressor on a refrigerator (which is what draws most of the power) isn't always on. A DVR or STB is. You have to compare total annual or average power consumption.

    Other factors have to be considered. One that comes to mind - will spinning the drive up and down decrease its life?
  10. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    Jan 31, 2002
    The Premiere and Premiere XL draw between 24 and 26 watts. The S3/TiVoHD boxes draw close to 50% more.
  11. ncbill

    ncbill Well-Known Member TCF Club

    Sep 1, 2007
    Western NC
    So, about 220 kWh annually.

    Around $20 a year for me.

    BTW, any modern 'wall-wart' has a switching power supply (transformer-less) and draws very little power when the device is off.

  12. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

    May 6, 2002
    'ware the "green police". This will end up costing us more and screwing things up.
  13. daveak

    daveak Series 3 Novice

    Mar 23, 2009
    The power draw of the TiVo is much less than the computer(s) that many leave on all the time - especially if you are using Windows Media Center and the like for DVR purposes. TiVo is pretty green in comparison. Leave it alone or allow people like me to opt out - always on is very dependable and draws very little power.
  14. drcos

    drcos HD where available

    Jul 20, 2001
    Venice FL
    Would be nice to know if the power draw of a (fully armed) S3 is in fact 'much' less. Also, my original suggestion did 'wish' for a selectable option.
  15. jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

    Feb 4, 2008
    Thus my question about sources of data. Many make claims without understanding the mumbo jumbo that can take place when a group reports their position. (Mumbo jumbo is a technical term)

    This report seems to indicate that energystar applicances are the only benchmark, which is simply untrue. Many opt for the cheaper model because they are, in fact, cheaper up front. No comparison is made to an average appliance that is actually purchased in the real world. The study also used TWO boxes for comparison, not one, labeling these "typical household", though many households use no box at all.

    At least one person on this board has their Tivo on a timer- just search for it.

    I much prefer they move ahead on the new stuff, I don't look for any additional work on my old HD unit. Nice, sure. But the future of revenue growth at Tivo, nope.
  16. Philmatic

    Philmatic Member

    Sep 17, 2003
    The TiVo Premiere is very energy efficient, and I think TiVo can do even better with the next hardware refresh by adding a few gigs of flash memory that can store the OS + 2 live buffers in solid state memory so the Hard Drive only needs to spin up for recordings and OS updates. It wouldn't even need to spin up the HD for normal channel surfing activities, since it would be using the flash buffer.
  17. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    I haven't read the whole thread, but there's no need to "bring back" standby mode.. it's already there.. (I'm not claiming it saves a lot of power)

    But I don't believe you can power down the hard drives -- does the existing hardware even have the ability to power down the hard drives? I would suspect NOT.

    I would GLADLY give up the 30 minute buffer (stop buffering after 30 minutes of no use, or even don't buffer by default at all and power down after 30 minutes of non-use, automatically powering up to record, of course) for power savings.
  18. nrc

    nrc Cracker Soul

    Nov 17, 1999
    Living in a...
    When I originally saw this story I looked up the numbers. They're comparing a refrigerator that is much more efficient than the average one sold today to set top boxes that draw 30% more than any current set top that I could find. No question that set tops could be more energy efficient. This study just exaggerates the numbers to drive their agenda.

    If the FCC hadn't completely failed to open the retail set top box for over a decade maybe CE companies would be competing for consumer dollars and energy efficiency could be a marketing point. As it is cable and satellite companies have no reason to care and consumers see little choice.
  19. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

    Aug 2, 2003
    Eh? Standby mode never went anywhere. It's a bit buried in the menus, though. Also, on a standalone, standby doesn't keep the TiVo from buffering Live TV, as it does on a DirecTivo.
  20. LoadStar

    LoadStar LOAD"*",8,1

    Jul 24, 2001
    Milwaukee, WI
    Does standby do anything, really, on a standalone, besides for turning off video output?

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