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Apple TV and Motorola DVR power usage

Isn’t it annoying to have a good product marred by one stupidly-implemented feature? I’m in the middle of configuring a home theatre and found that both the AppleTV and the Comcast/Motorola DVR were quite warm, and never seemed to go into low-power mode. So I measured their power usage when idle:

    Apple TV: 15.2 watts
    Motorola DCT3416 cable TV DVR: 27.5 watts (when powered off)

That means I’ve got 43 watts of heat being generated 24X7 inside my cabinet. 43 watts X 24 hours = over a kilowatt per day or 365 kilowatts per year of wasted energy.

Shame on you Apple and Motorola!!! The Motorola DVR even spins its hard disk when powered off. When I turn something off, I want it off. Can anyone say “designed by morons”? Someone sick the “greenies” on these guys. Cost is one consideration, but blatant waste is another.

Here in California, we have state-controlled electrical generation (the most efficient kind) with a tiered system that costs me $0.35/kilowatt hour for incremental usage. It will cost about $127 per year to leave the AppleTV and Comcast DVR powered on (the cost is annoying, but the waste more so). Clearly Apple intends that the AppleTV be left on, because there is no power switch! And given the high power consumption when off, Motorola must provide the DVR on/off switch to fulfill the same purpose as a baby’s pacifier. Install a pair of these pigs in a million households and that’s 365 megawatts per year of wasted energy—a good size power plant. Yet the devices are probably used for no more than 10% of the time (much less in my household). Compare the power usage to that of a PowerMac G5—see my Jan 4, 2006 blog entry.

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