Perhaps responding to pressure from some legislators who want more energy-efficient set-tops, or perhaps just wanting to do the right thing, CableLabs and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) announced an initiative to improve the energy efficiency of consumer set-top boxes and other devices and to develop advanced cable-enabled services designed to promote innovative consumer energy conservation measures. A key element of the initiative is the “CableLabs Energy Lab,” a new facility within the cable industry’s R&D consortium that will concentrate exclusively on improving energy efficiency.
The energy initiative will promote the development, testing, and deployment of technologies to enable cable subscribers to reduce and manage energy consumption in the home, including establishing new requirements for both cable video devices and network support systems. Among other things, these specifications will enable the manufacturing of devices that have “sleep” capabilities to reduce power consumption when subscribers are not actively watching television.
After successful field-testing of set-top boxes with next generation power management semiconductors, cable operators will begin promoting the deployment of these devices as part of their ongoing efforts to provide functional, reliable and energy efficient services.
The resulting increased energy efficiency for new model set-top boxes will improve on the strides in recent years by cable operators to utilize devices with dramatically lower energy consumption than previous generations of equipment. In addition, cable operators providing service to approximately 85 percent of U.S. cable customers have committed to ensure that by the end of 2013 at least 90 percent of all new set-top boxes they purchase and deploy will be ENERGY STAR 3.0 devices.
Noted Mark Dzuban, president/CEO at the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE), “The steps being taken by NCTA and CableLabs align with key objectives of SCTE’s Smart Energy Management Initiative. We look forward to providing the engineeringand operations expertise, as well as the standards, that will help the industry and consumers to reduce energy consumption and costs.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) – who in a September letter to cable and other video providers challenged the industry to develop more energy efficient devices – applauded the initiative: “I am pleased the cable industry was responsive to my request that it work on deploying energy efficient cable boxes,” said Feinstein. “I plan to monitor the progress of this initiative closely. Moving toward cable boxes with ‘light-sleep’ and ‘deep-sleep’ technology is an important victory for American consumers who stand to save substantially on their utility bills.”
“This important energy initiative will build upon the industry’s exemplary record of improving the energy efficiency of successive generations of video devices and services without government intervention, and more importantly it will chart our energy conservation course for the future,” said Michael Powell, NCTA president/CEO. “In the hyper-competitive video marketplace, delivering fully functional, reliable and energy efficient equipment is critical to our industry’s success, and it’s good for consumers. Offering energy efficient devices builds on the cable’s industry’s imperative to deliver innovation throughout our entire consumer offering.”
The CableLabs Energy Lab will:
- ?Design and maintain a consistent and accurate energy tracking program for measuring and reporting energy consumption and efficiency improvements of new set-top boxes. Procedures for testing and advancing the energy efficiency of set-top boxes and energy conserving software will also be established.?
- Serve as a testing and development facility for designers of energy efficient software and hardware.
- ?Create energy efficiency specifications for semiconductor and hardware suppliers and the network operations systems that support cable devices.
- ?Assist in developing applications and products that will help consumers manage their overall residential energy consumption.
- ?Showcase and demonstrate current and future energy savings products and power monitoring capabilities.