Power Electronics

Energy Star Extends to DTV Converter Boxes

In anticipation of the nationwide changeover to digital television signals in February 2009, EPA’s Energy Star program is announcing specifications for digital-to-analog converter boxes, or DTAs, that are expected to cut energy use by more than 70%.

It is estimated that Americans will purchase 22 million DTAs to continue to receive over-the-air broadcasts after the Feb. 18, 2009, conversion from analog to digital broadcasts. By some estimates, DTAs could consume more than 3 billion kWh/year and cost Americans $270 million more per year in higher electricity bills.

However, with more energy-efficient designs and features that automatically power a product down after periods of inactivity, Energy Star-qualified DTAs will use substantially less energy than current models sold worldwide. If all DTAs meet the Energy Star specification, Americans could save 13 billion kWh and more than $1 billion in energy costs, and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 1 million cars.

DTAs are not yet on the market in the United States and will not be sold until late 2008, shortly before the digital transition. EPA worked with stakeholders—including manufacturers, states, and large retailers—in advance of this transition, to ensure that energy efficiency is factored into product design. DTAs on the worldwide market today consume about 17 W in "on" mode and 8 W in standby mode. Products qualifying for Energy Star must meet specifications of 8 W and 1 W, respectively, and automatically power down after extended periods of inactivity.

The National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) is planning to administer a coupon program to help households without digital-ready televisions purchase DTA converter boxes. Go to www.ntia.doc.gov to learn more about digital television adapters and this coupon program.

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