Media Streamers Now Have ‘Green’ Cred

You may have read the news that your TV set-top box might cost you more on your energy bills than your refrigerator, but did you know that the latest crop of media streamers are some of the most energy efficient gadgets in your home? It’s true. In fact, GigaOm tested 5 of the top selling streamers on the market and compared their energy usage while in standby, idle, and streaming HD video over Ethernet and Wi-Fi (tool used: Belkin Conserve Energy Monitor).

Not surprisingly, Apple TV (2nd gen.) and Roku 2 came out on top of the “green” meter. In fact, the difference in power usage while idle or streaming is minimal. For example, Apple TV while idle uses 1.5 watts, streaming HD over Wi-Fi uses 1.9 watts (0.3 watts less using Ethernet).

If you replaced the entire setup with Apple TVs and streamed Netflix on them for the same periods of time, then you’d use merely 10.4 kWh per year. And if those numbers don’t really mean that much to you, consider this: The electricity of this multi-room DVR setup alone would cost you close to $70 per year, based on a national average of $0.11 per kWh. The three-room Apple TV alternative on the other hand only costs about $1.15 per year.

I guess now you can tell your friends that the reason that you’re “cord-cutting” instead of paying for cable TV is because you want to save the planet. By the way, the worst offenders: Boxee Boxee and Logitech Revue with Google TV — both use Intel’s CE4100 Atom processor (12+ watts while idle). The top “green” devices are ARM-based.

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Filed in: Industry Buzz, Streaming Media Devices