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"It's on now," says Kellow. "So, it's always usually on it seems like or recording something when we're not here."
There are 160 million set top boxes like Kellow's in the U.S., a number that's on the rise, but don't let their small size deceive you. They take a big bite out of your bill.
"These boxes on top of televisions can use as much as 446 kilowatt hours per year," says KILOWATT OURS Filmmaker Jeff Barrie.
How much is that? 10% more than a huge new refrigerator.
"That would be a lot," says Kellow. "Would be surprising."
The reason they're energy hogs is because their internal drives, electronic components, tuners run at full power 24/7 unless you turn them off, but that's what Jeff Barrie, the filmmaker of KILOWATT OURS says we should be doing. His documentary, seen on 80% of public tv stations across the country, is designed to change our energy usage habits.
"We get the favorite stations we like to watch," says Barrie. "So we don't ahve the cable box. We don't have this problem with energy usage. It is a little bit troubling to see it is such a big usage of energy."
Instead, Barrie has old fashioned rabbit ears, and he's taught his daughter how to turn on the power strip that controls electricity to their electronics, and how to turn it off when she's through watching. It's a recommendation for all of us to cut down on what's termed phantom power. It will save energy, but it will also save you money. Some in the cable industry say the boxes are not designed to be turned off on a regular basis. That's a personal choice you'll have to make. Interestingly, European countries already have cable boxes that switch to standby mode or even "deep sleep" when not in use.
Tuesday, June 28 2011, 10:27 PM CDT
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