Sky 'auto standby' to cut energy bills

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BSkyB is to save its high-definition TV and Sky+ customers £7.5m and reduce the UK's carbon dioxide emissions by 32,000 tonnes over a year by automatically switching inactive set-top boxes into standby mode overnight. Sky said the 'auto standby' feature would be sent to all 184,000 Sky HD boxes today while 2.3m Sky+ boxes would receive their software download in stages starting next month.

The auto standby feature will monitor whether subscribers are using their Sky+ or Sky HD box overnight between 11pm and 4am. If the box has not been used for a period of two hours after 11pm, an 'auto standby' warning will pop up on screen for three minutes. If there is no further use the box will go into standby mode automatically. Sky's set-top boxes need to remain switched on, or in standby, to receive software updates and allow Sky+ recordings to take place.

Sky said a Sky+ set-top box uses 28 watts on average when on; this is reduced to 14.5 in standby. An HD box uses 36 watts when on, and 19 in standby mode.

Sky said the feature was part of its commitment to reduce its impact on the environment: the energy saved would be enough to light all the homes in Wolverhampton or power all the washing machines in Liverpool for a year. "Energy use is a growing priority for companies and consumers alike so we want to help our customers to cut their bills and reduce their environmental impact," said Ben Stimson, director of corporate responsibility at Sky.

"We advise all our customers to switch their Sky box to standby when not in use. But for those occasions when people forget, auto standby will be there to help out. This is a UK first whose effects will add up to a significant reduction in energy consumption for our customers."

Sky said it was "exploring the potential" to deliver the auto standby function to all its standard set-top boxes.

Lovelace Consulting  |  20.03.2007

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