Finding the Greenest Set-top Boxes

The US ENERGY STAR program looks only at energy efficiency and not other sustainability factors. Eleven set-top boxes (STBs) four manufacturers came in at less than 44W or less in the program's Total Energy Consumption (TEC) metric. The absence this time of several manufacturers who had previously registered models under 30W makes this a shorter list. Apple TV* is by far and away the most efficient, helped by its very low stand-by power consumption.

We derived the following table from the ENERGY STAR database. We expect power improvements with each generation, which is why we reduce the TEC cut-off point by ~33% with each update.

Company Model TEC
Apple Apple TV MGY52 7
Technicolor IPV5010 36
DIRECTV C41-700 36
DIRECTV C41-700 37
LG S60CLI 38
DIRECTV C61-700 39
DIRECTV C51-100 39
DIRECTV C41-500 39
DIRECTV C41-100 40
DIRECTV C61-100 40
DIRECTV C51-700 42

* This is Apple TV 4th Generation. The recently announced Apple TV 4K is not in the database, but we have posted the Apple TV 4K environmental specs.

More about STBs and Green ICT


2013 Rankings


About twenty set-top boxes (STBs) or cable, IP, or satellite from seven manufacturers came in at less than 65W. This is a big improvement from two years ago, when our top twenty cut-off was 100W.

Apple TV is by far and away the most efficient, helped by its very low stand-by power consumption. We derived the following table from the ENERGY STAR database.

Company Model Type [1] TEC
Apple Apple TV MD199 IP 6
Panasonic DMP-MST60 IP 16
Funai NetBOX TB600FX2, Magnavox NetBOX TB600MG2F/F7 IP 18
Sony NETWORK MEDIA PLAYER NSZ-GS7, NSZ-GX70 IP 21
Pace SD Micro DTA DC50Xu DTA 29
General Instrument Motorola Mobility Set-top Box HD-DTA100u DTA 35
ARRIS MP2050NA IP 38
Vizio VAP430 IP 38
DIRECTV L14-A-700 Satellite 39
Cisco DTA 170HD Cable 43
DIRECTV L14-O-700 Satellite 44
DIRECTV C31-700 Thin-client/Remote 47
DIRECTV D12-700 Satellite 51
ARRIS Media Player MP2100A Series IP 55
DIRECTV L14-100 Satellite 55
Pace DC60Xu DTA 56
DISH Echostar VIP211Z Satellite 61
EchoStar 6400-2 Satellite 61
DIRECTV D12-100 Satellite 63

[1] IP = "internet protocol" STB to receive content through home/office LANs. DTA = "digital transport adapter" so analog TV sets can receive DTV (digital television) signals.