Sadly, this one is hard to ignore. According to a new report, the magical machines that Americans use to parse the crowded primetime TV schedule use a cumulative 27 terawatt-hours of electricity every year. The Los Angeles Times puts it into perspective: That's the same amount of energy per year as nine coal-burning power plants.
And that energy? Not cheap. It costs consumers nearly $3 billion every year, with $2 billion of that coming when the boxes are off.
Something to note -- this includes all forms of digital cable boxes, so even if you aren't hip to the DVR technology, you're still a culprit. As always, those inventive Europeans have come up with a way for the boxes to use less power when inactive, but who knows when that technology will hit North American shores.
So, now that we know the environmental cost of being able to watch both '16 and Pregnant' and 'The Good Wife' on Tuesday nights (um, not like that's a personal example or anything), what can we do to decrease our energy consumption? It's unrealistic to advocate getting rid of those boxes, since that's pretty much the only way you can access even the most basic of TV packages nowadays, but should we start bugging our cable providers to look into new technology?