Cable operators go green with Energy Lab facility

Major cable operators detailed a plan Friday aimed at deploying energy efficient set-tops, announcing the opening of an Energy Lab facility at CableLabs headquarters in Colorado.

The National Cable Telecommunications Association(NCTA) said the Energy Lab will be used to test the energy consumed by set-tops ranging from high-end digital video recorders to inexpensive digital terminal adapters. Cable’s Washington, D.C., lobby also committed to ensuring that at least 90 percent of all new set-tops cable operators purchase will be Energy Star 3.0 devices by the end of 2013. But NCTA didn’t announce plans for cable MSOs to replace legacy set-tops with more energy efficient boxes that use features like sleep modes to reduce electricity consumption–an effort that could prove costly for its members.

The move drew praise from Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), who has pressured pay TV providers to deploy more energy efficient set-tops.

“I am pleased the cable industry was responsive to my request that it work on deploying energy efficient cable boxes,” Feinstein said in a statement released by NCTA. “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.”

Some cable MSOs are already buying more energy efficient gear. In the first quarter of 2011, 95 percent of the set-tops deployed by Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) were Energy Star devices, while 100 percent of the boxes rolled out by Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) were had Energy Star devices, NCTA said. 

For more:
- see release from NCTA

Related articles:
Sen. Feinstein urges cable and satellite distributors to buy energy efficient set-tops
Exhibitors flood SCTE’s green pavilion

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