On April 6, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and NCTA – The Internet & Television Association (NCTA) announced an extension through 2025 of the award-winning Voluntary Agreement for Ongoing Improvement to the Energy Efficiency of Set-Top Boxes.The agreement, which the associations note has already saved consumers $7 billion in energy costs and avoided 39 million metric tons of CO2 emissions through the end of 2019, will now include new, even more rigorous energy-efficiency commitments starting in 2023.
According to CTA and NCTA, by the end of the extended terms of the agreement, the total energy used by set-top boxes in the United States is projected to be only one third of the energy used by set-top boxes in 2012 when the agreement was initially signed.
“The Department of Energy (DOE) welcomes the extension of the set-top box voluntary agreement and supports the continued efforts of our industry partners to improve the energy efficiency of these products and save consumers money on their energy bills," said Dr. Kathleen Hogan, Acting Under Secretary for Science and Energy. “DOE appreciates the commitment by CTA and NCTA to study the impacts of the growth of cloud-based streaming services on electricity use across America and looks forward to future advances in energy-efficient technologies in this area.”
The set-top box voluntary agreement for the U.S. market has been extended three times. This latest extension places special emphasis on Internet Protocol (IP) set-top boxes, which are becoming the most common set-top box type in evolving video distribution architectures.
The extended agreement will cut maximum power levels for IP non-DVR set-top boxes by an average approximately 43% from 2021 levels.
“The phenomenal progress we’ve seen in energy and cost reduction due to this voluntary agreement is a testament to what can be accomplished through private sector initiative and collaboration,” said Doug Johnson, vice president of technology policy, CTA. “We applaud the signatory companies for their commitments and engineering accomplishments, the energy efficiency advocates for their contributions and oversight, and the policymaking community for giving us the time and space to develop, launch and expand this agreement.”
“The flexibility of the agreement has enabled it to succeed during a period of unprecedented change and innovation in the video market,” added Neal Goldberg, general counsel, NCTA. “The agreement encouraged new technologies and approaches that have led to even greater savings while also delivering new and better services to consumers.”
Signatories of the agreement include all major multichannel pay TV providers (AT&T/DIRECTV, Comcast, Charter, DISH, Verizon, Cox, Altice, and Frontier), major manufacturers (CommScope and Technicolor) and energy efficiency advocates (Natural Resources Defense Council and American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy).
CableLabs also plays a leading role in researching and developing energy efficiency strategies, defining the energy efficiency tiers and supporting the ongoing implementation of the Voluntary Agreement.
“The ongoing incremental energy efficiency improvements by the pay TV industry and set top box manufacturers translate to a very satisfying trifecta – reduced energy use, avoided carbon emissions, and lower customer utility bills,” said Noah Horowitz, senior scientist at NRDC. “Going forward, we anticipate many customers will be able to get rid of their set top boxes entirely and access content directly through an app installed on their TV, which will lead to even greater savings.”
“Under the extended voluntary agreement announced today, pay TV customers will enjoy energy and cost savings when they adopt the latest technology to stream content,” said Jennifer Amann, ACEEE buildings program director. “We look forward to tracking the industry’s progress in meeting their efficiency commitments and seeing the overall consumer and environmental benefits of the transition to IP video distribution.”
The renewed agreement as announced is available at www.energy-efficiency.us.