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Interesting discussion on energy consumption


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76 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Thaedron

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 03:38 PM

I ran across the following earlier today:

http://hardware.slas...ome-Energy-Hogs

and the originally referenced article:

http://www.nytimes.c...cable.html?_r=4

While some of the claims int he article seem a bit over-blown... There certainly are things that could be done to trim the energy usage within the modern DVR without seriously impacting the user experience.
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#2 OFFLINE   pfp

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 04:28 PM

I've seen a couple articles talking about this recently. There people obviously don't understand the function of a DVR if they think it can work as designed completely powered down.
I do, I offer a complete and utter retraction. The imputation was totally without basis in fact, and was in no way fair comment, and was motivated purely by malice, and I deeply regret any distress that my comments may have caused you, or your family, and I hereby undertake not to repeat any such slander at any time in the future.

#3 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 07:28 PM

I ran across the following earlier today:

http://hardware.slas...ome-Energy-Hogs

and the originally referenced article:

http://www.nytimes.c...cable.html?_r=4

While some of the claims int he article seem a bit over-blown... There certainly are things that could be done to trim the energy usage within the modern DVR without seriously impacting the user experience.


Do wee need second thread about same subj ? http://www.dbstalk.c...ad.php?t=194335

#4 OFFLINE   curt8403

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 07:33 PM

as I recall from a few years ago, Directv units (DVRs included) were designed to be more energy friendly than some other units on the market.
I am no longer connected with Directv or any other satellite provider

#5 OFFLINE   Rich

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 06:30 AM

I've seen a couple articles talking about this recently. There people obviously don't understand the function of a DVR if they think it can work as designed completely powered down.


Didn't the Ultimate TV DVRs power completely (or almost completely) down and then come back up when they needed to record something? Was a long time ago that I had them and I'm not sure about this. Anybody remember? I've never understood why they can't power almost completely down when not in use. Down to, say, 3W?

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#6 OFFLINE   hilmar2k

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 08:43 AM

Do wee need second thread about same subj ? http://www.dbstalk.c...ad.php?t=194335


That one is on the Dish side. I don't read or follow any of those threads, so having this one does not seem redundant.

#7 OFFLINE   Avder

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 09:35 AM

One thing that would save power is if the thing wasnt thrashing the disk all the time when its supposedly turned off. An option for a low power mode where nothing but the scheduler and the clock are operating would be nice too. Discard all tuner buffers, shut the disk off, power down the tuners and do nothing but wait for a scheduler command or the user to turn the thing back on.

You know, an actual standby mode.

#8 OFFLINE   DogLover

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 09:51 AM

Since portions of the guide data are continually being downloaded from the satellite, then a true standby mode would have the problem that portions of the guide data would not be updated. While some customers mint be okay with that, some would undoubtably complain when things were not recorded properly, because of a change in guide data.
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#9 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 10:12 AM

Since portions of the guide data are continually being downloaded from the satellite, then a true standby mode would have the problem that portions of the guide data would not be updated. While some customers mint be okay with that, some would undoubtably complain when things were not recorded properly, because of a change in guide data.

I'm sure some of the hardware could be powered down more than we have now.
The guide has its own tuner, so the other tuners could be turned off.
Now they would still need to power the LNBs [on non SWiM systems] to receive and commands/data, which may mean they'll still use say 10 watts.
Given that the DVRs use 20 [something] to 37 watts [standby], while saving anything isn't a bad idea, a couple of CFLs seems like they would offset this usage.
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#10 OFFLINE   jdspencer

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 11:30 AM

And what about the Power Inserters used for powering the SWM LNB and the DECA modules. etc.

Then there are the cable/DSL modems and routers. If you want to get to the nitty gritty, you have TVs that use some power waiting for a remote command to turn on. You could list a whole bunch of power consuming equipment in the home. Anyone still have an analog clock plugged in?
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#11 OFFLINE   Skyboss

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 11:32 AM

SSDs.... Not quite yet, but eventually they will leave HDs in the dust on energy consumption.
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#12 OFFLINE   pfp

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 12:24 PM

With live buffering you also have a hard drive constantly spinning and writing.
I do, I offer a complete and utter retraction. The imputation was totally without basis in fact, and was in no way fair comment, and was motivated purely by malice, and I deeply regret any distress that my comments may have caused you, or your family, and I hereby undertake not to repeat any such slander at any time in the future.

#13 OFFLINE   pfp

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 12:28 PM

SSDs.... Not quite yet, but eventually they will leave HDs in the dust on energy consumption.


I would think the limited writes of an SSD would be problematic for a DVR which is continuously writing data to the drive.
I do, I offer a complete and utter retraction. The imputation was totally without basis in fact, and was in no way fair comment, and was motivated purely by malice, and I deeply regret any distress that my comments may have caused you, or your family, and I hereby undertake not to repeat any such slander at any time in the future.

#14 OFFLINE   Alebob911

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 12:43 PM

Like VOS says, convert to CFL or LED lighting and call it good. I had my Kill-A-watt attached to my HR and what it uses with the power light off was nothing as far as I was concerned. I think it was in the 12-14 watt area. I have all CFL or LED lighting so I am green when it comes to lighting. To me it just seems petty to pick on DVR's has the big electricity monster. If they didn't work on lowering the power usage with new models then pick on them but I think they have been doing a great job in becoming more energy efficient. It takes time to engineer a solid more energy efficient product. :)

#15 OFFLINE   dennisj00

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 01:15 PM

While more recent chip designs have 'sleep' modes for certain subsystems, I doubt the current H/HR series have the ability to sleep individual subsystems like tuners, etc. Even stopping the hard drive would require a complete revamp of handling guide data and todo calculations.

Lowering or raising (depending on the season) your heating / cooling temps by a couple of degrees and changing to CFLs / LEDs would have a much bigger impact.

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#16 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 01:34 PM

From here: http://reviews.cnet....wer-efficiency/

http://www.dbstalk.c...=1&d=1309289578

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#17 OFFLINE   astrotrf

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 07:02 PM

> DirecTV HR20 DVR: 33 watts

Something's not right here -- that's a kilowatt in 30 hours, which costs me ten cents. That works out to $2.40 for a month, not the $10 of the referenced article. Does anybody really pay 40 cents per kilowatt-hour?

I can't really get excited up about less than $30 of electricity for an entire year. OTOH, I should reveal my biases: "People in the energy efficiency community" mostly just give me a ruddy shootin' pain, anyway, what with telling me to unplug my two-dollars-per-year wall warts, etc. My solution to their making me wait 30 seconds for my TV to warm up and show a picture (gotta get rid of that awful instant-on stuff) was simply to leave the thing on. They want me to sacrifice my convenience to soothe their sensibilities -- so I just say no.

#18 OFFLINE   admdata

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 04:45 AM

For my $.05 worth, if they can have the tech in england to power down and up there STB's why not here??, I mean was other's were saying, ok so Directv STB's receive guide data all the time 24/7, most STB's store 14 days (DVR's) and 3.5 days for the SD receivers, if you power down the unit over night (no recording are there), then in the morning you turn on the STB to watch the local news, why not have it that the STB will update the guide data when it is on and running and play catch up, hell Dish's boxes reboot at 3am (Local time) and redownload there guide data in one shot, granted it is either 3 days (for the basic receivers, or 7 days for there DVR's), the tech is out there it is all about the willingness of companies to use it!

Yes I have upgraded all my lighting in my house to CFL's or Florescent bulbs and it has saved me a bundle, I also have my outdoor lights on timers, after doing the above I saved $60 a month on electric.
Account closed by Directv on 7/7/2011
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On 7/8/2011 Directv charges me for 2 receivers one DVR at ($175.00) and a Standard STB for ($45.00), good grief!!


Note: Directv did reverse the equipment charges

#19 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 12:39 PM

This seems to be the big story this week.

It's worthwhile to note that the DIRECTV HD DVRs are Energy Star certified and most other DVRs are not.

Also worth noting that if these devices went into standby when not explicitly being used, energy use would drop but you would never have a buffer when you turned on the TV.
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#20 OFFLINE   ShapeGSX

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 01:15 PM

Also worth noting that if these devices went into standby when not explicitly being used, energy use would drop but you would never have a buffer when you turned on the TV.


I think that for some people that would be an acceptable trade off. Not to mention that the hard drive would be silent (great for bedrooms), and the hard drive would likely last a lot longer. They should make it an optional setting if the hardware can handle it.

#21 OFFLINE   ThomasM

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 05:54 PM

I have "time of use" electricity pricing. At night & on weekends, I pay less than 5c per kWh but during weekdays (7AM-7PM) it's over 25c. After doing a little number crunching, I discovered that an R15 and my R22 sucked up over five bucks a month in electricity by being on during the weekday "peak" period even though I didn't record or watch anything then. I do all my daytime recording/watching on my third DVR (also an R15).

So TWO YEARS AGO I equipped my R22 and one R15 with one of those switches that plug into the wall outlet and a cord plugs into them. Every weekday morning at 7AM the two DVR's get flipped off and every evening just before 7PM (the start of prime time) they get flipped back on.

The DVR's don't seem to give a hoot, and thanks to guide caching, when they power up there is my 14 day program guide.

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#22 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 07:37 AM

That one is on the Dish side. I don't read or follow any of those threads, so having this one does not seem redundant.

This topic should be in a general thread anyway. The subject of energy usage in DVRs should not be restricted to just one provider, be it Directv, Dish or cable.

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#23 OFFLINE   Rich

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 08:29 AM

This topic should be in a general thread anyway. The subject of energy usage in DVRs should not be restricted to just one provider, be it Directv, Dish or cable.


Do you know how much wattage a Dish DVR uses? Always been curious about that.

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#24 OFFLINE   admdata

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 11:32 AM

Do you know how much wattage a Dish DVR uses? Always been curious about that.

Rich


Don't quote me 100%, (my parents have SD dish network on HD tv's) they have a Duo 322 (SD revicer) for 2 HD tv's and a Duo DVR 625 (for 2 SD tv's) I think that the Duo 322 uses 35-40 watts, not sure about the DVR. Next time I am over there I will check and let everyone know!
Account closed by Directv on 7/7/2011
All leased equipment returned

On 7/8/2011 Directv charges me for 2 receivers one DVR at ($175.00) and a Standard STB for ($45.00), good grief!!


Note: Directv did reverse the equipment charges

#25 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 07:40 PM

One thing that would save power is if the thing wasnt thrashing the disk all the time when its supposedly turned off. An option for a low power mode where nothing but the scheduler and the clock are operating would be nice too. Discard all tuner buffers, shut the disk off, power down the tuners and do nothing but wait for a scheduler command or the user to turn the thing back on.

You know, an actual standby mode.

I never had a thrashing or noisy HDD in the 15 or so different DVRs I've had since 1998, so I can't speak to that problem, but its not just the scheduler and clock (a clock can run on a CMOS at very tiny voltages for weeks, BTW). It is also all of the background indexing, and you need at least the 5v supply to be up for any CPU work to get done.

If you figure 300 channels (probably a low estimate) and each sheduling 35 programs a day, we are talking over 10,000 shows each day, each of them with numerous elements of metadata (figure how much data there is just for the cast and crew metadata). And when you have multiple data points for other multiple data points, you are talking possibly a million data points daily, maybe more. Now you have to maintain a database that goes back 28 days and forward another 8 or 9, not to mention the history which goes back to the day it was installed. Now we are talking up to 50 million data points.

The only way to search that data quickly is to index it first, which means creating a new data point for every combination of multiple data points representing any possible filtered search, which does most of that potential work ahead of time so that when you do search, it responds with results within a reasonable time frame.

If you did not index, it would expand the time by an order of magnitude (IOW, 50 million becomes 50 million times 50 million) because groups of data points cant be searched at the same time, only serially, and if you filter, you have to search by every aspect of that filter in serial order (for the show "This Old House" it first has to search for terms that start with "T" followed by those in that subset that next have the letter "h", followed by those in that subset that next have the letter "i", etc., etc. You can't search for all of those data points simultaneously, so indexing creates a single data point to represent every combination of possible data points, and when you search, you search for that single data point, which expands the DB substantially but speeds the search dramatically.)

And indexing takes time, and there is a lot of it to do, more every time a data dump happens from the sat. Consequently, your DVR is busier than a server at SETI, and having it churn all of this data in the background nearly 24/7 is actually sort of necessary.

I technically manage a collaborative workflow environment (Avid Interplay) for a professional broadcast news operation that has a media storage network of 42 TB, with about 1.5 TB of that being changed out daily through a hundred different clients. It takes three dedicated 64-bit quad-core enterprise-class Intel 2500 servers churning on all cylinders to keep up with just the indexing needed for that system. Your DVR does much the same thing, only on a smaller scale.

Edited by TomCat, 01 July 2011 - 07:53 PM.

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