Energy Efficiency Improvements in TV Converter Boxes

Vertatique raised the issue back in 2007 of increased home energy consumption and carbon emissions due to widespread deployment of digital-to-analog (DTA) converter boxes in 2009. Energy Star reports that "In the U.S. alone, depending on viewer behavior and product design, EPA estimates that conventional DTAs could consume more than 3 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) per year and cost Americans $270 million annually in additional electricity bills."  New DTA models hold hope for improving the situation.

We assumed converters would draw 2W of power is standby ("vampire") mode in our original calculations. The new Energy Star rated Zenith DDT901 claims to draw less than 1W in standby and (typically) less than 8W when operational, with some users reporting an operational power draw of ~4W. These represent the best specs we've seen for converters that qualify for a government rebate.

E-waste is a related issue with converter boxes, as these devices, by definition, will become obsolete over time. No word that Zenith is offering take-back recycling on this unit.