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Power Earth

Energy Star Program Needs an Overhaul 306

Martin Hellman writes " ran my piece raising questions about the EPA's Energy Star program. For example, an Energy Star compliant TV that claims to draw 0.1 watts in sleep mode appears to do that — but only seems to sleep about 25% of the time that it is 'off.' The other 75% of the time it draws about 20 watts, for an effective sleep power draw from the user's perspective that is 150 times what the manufacturer claims. Based on the observations described, it is also questionable how many PC's really are sleeping when their screens are blank, even if the user has turned sleep mode on. Given the billions of dollars and tons of CO2 that are at stake, this situation demands more attention."
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Energy Star Program Needs an Overhaul

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  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @09:37PM (#26540813)

    Cable/Sat DVR's don't know when they're going to get hit with a data download being addressed to them. They have to always be ready to take it, therefore always spinning. Besides that, it doesn't take that much power to keep the disc spinning, compared to frequent re-starts after stops.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @09:49PM (#26540917) Homepage

    but it can be darn near zero.

    The energy to power a tiny pic and a IR reciever to initiate the power up sequence is less than 100mw This can EASILY be done. They choose not to because it's far easier and cheaper to do it with the main processor. or In most Cable boxes case, simply turn off the screen and led's The comcast cable box really does not turn off, it simply blanks the screen and turns off the led display. This is a pain in the arse for us integration companies as you cant detect power draw to detect if a low grade device is on or off. (high end devices have discreet on and off IR signals or RS232 control)

    The manufacturers want to save $2.95 per device made and refuse to have a discreet "on" response circuit that will allow the set or device to completely power down. but then most manufacturers are too cheap to properly design the hardware for remote control anyways. Not having discreet codes is simply shoddy workmanship.

  • by twmcneil (942300) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @09:59PM (#26541005)
    The Energy Star Program has needed an overhaul since the day of inception.

    From []

    4) Test Methodology: Manufacturers are required to perform tests and self-certify those models that meet the ENERGY STAR guidelines.

    Self-Certify? You've got to be kidding.

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:02PM (#26541033)

    Comcast wants its boxes to stay connected to the network at all times... remember, they're still using coax while the rest of data delivery went to multiple twisted pairs. Coax networks become unstable if users are constantly logging on and off. Back in the "bad old days", universities had to keep computers powered even when the employee who normally sits at that desk isn't there because too many shutdowns would cause there to not be enough draw on the RF signal, and the network would start burning out faster than usual.

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:17PM (#26541155)
    This is just like the IRS... you're expected to report income and deductions and self-certify your filing. If the government thinks you got it wrong, or just picks you out of a hat, they audit. If they allege you cheated, you're on the defensive.
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:31PM (#26541285)

    Why the heck does a TV need to download the time or background data or Boot up?

    Some TVs have built in guides and channel lists that need to be updated. And I don't want to be watching TV and it to take 20 minutes to scan for channels and find the info on the shows.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:54PM (#26541501)
    Yes, indeed: Solar Cycles, Not CO2, Determine Climate []
  • by Simply Curious (1002051) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:13PM (#26541677)

    Numbers would be watts per day, assuming constant usage

    By the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe, NO!

    Watt is equal to joules per second. It is a unit of energy per time. Watts or milliwatts would be the correct unit. I blame the kilowatt-hour for starting the metric system down the road to customary.

  • by arminw (717974) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:17PM (#26541709)

    ....So, unplug and replug your TV every time you want to watch it...

    We have an X-10 system with a wireless control for lights and selected wall outlets. The TV and the rest of the entertainment system is plugged into one of these. In addition to completely shutting off the power at the push of a button, a motion sensor shuts off the system if it detects absolutely no movement in the room for 20 minutes. A designated button on the remote controls the system and another dims the room lights.

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:29PM (#26541783)

    A DTV channel is roughly 6 megabits/sec. "True HD" 1080i or 720p is roughly 6 mb/sec. So, you're basically downloading that megabyte on a 56k modem if you're lucky.

    Not to mention, you can't trust that data downloaded yesterday reflects today's TV lineup. Watch all the 480i .2's on NBC stations scramble now that NBC Weather Plus has been subtracted. Even though the shutdown was announced three months ago, some stations still haven't made up their minds what to carry, and therefore are still changing lineups daily.

  • by russotto (537200) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:33PM (#26541809) Journal

    20 minutes? I'd say a whole weeks worth of listings data is no more than a megabyte. What's the bandwidth on an HDTV channel? Something immense I'm sure. Store the channel scan results in flash, no need to rescan each time. Download a meg of text, parse and store it, and you're up and running in two or three seconds.

    Not so easy, if you're using the ATSC EPG information. It's broadcast; you have to wait for the data to come around, you can't request it. And the data for each channel is available only on that channel. So to get the guide data, you have to scan to each channel sequentially and wait for the data on it; this can take a while. You can't do it while the TV is on (because your tuner is otherwise occupied). It takes significant power to run the tuner. Fortunately, you do only have to do this once every three hours.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:34PM (#26541823)
    Myth. []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @12:13AM (#26542173)

    Not sure about Comcast but with my Time Warner provided SA8300HD DVR, I have timed it. Mainly because I want to know how long it'll take to reboot in case I need to do it before shows I'm recording start. The SA8300HD downloads a full week of guide data, and whatever else data it needs to get running in just over 5 minutes. I've rebooted the box too many times to count and it's always been within 30 seconds of the other times. Probably a useless fact, but just FYI.

  • by Detritus (11846) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @12:28AM (#26542297) Homepage
    The ATSC channel bandwidth is slightly more than 19 Mbps.
  • by julesh (229690) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @05:20AM (#26543817)

    Besides that, it doesn't take that much power to keep the disc spinning, compared to frequent re-starts after stops.

    A hard disk typically consumes about 10W to keep spinning. It consumes about 30W for roughly 2 seconds to start up. Therefore, any time it stops spinning for more than 6 seconds is a net powersave.

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @10:19AM (#26546081) Homepage Journal

    Yes it does.
    1. a small micro controller uses very little power. Modern power supplies use some power just to run themselves.
    You will use less power to run the main power supply for a second to charge a supper cap and then power it off than it would to use the main power supply to power the micro controller.

  • by rbphilip (530254) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @10:57AM (#26546803)

    Are you FUDding for an energy company or something? Several hundred million devices suddenly using 200 times less power has got to be worrying the publicly traded energy companies.

    Somehow I don't think the energy companies are worried about customers not using enough electricity. Their big problem is capacity to meet the demand.

  • by PitaBred (632671) <> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @12:34PM (#26548333) Homepage
    That's assuming full bandwidth, same as the OTA broadcasts use. Almost all cable and satellite operators [] recompress the data to use much less bandwidth and squeeze more channels in.

Arithmetic is being able to count up to twenty without taking off your shoes. -- Mickey Mouse