EPA Tunes in to New ENERGY STAR Set-top Box Spec Revision

Mon, 01/04/2016 - 10:07 -- MrGreen

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun developing version 5 of its ENERGY STAR Product Specification for Set-top Boxes. The new version will replace version 4.1 which became effective in December 2014.

Covered products include traditional set-top boxes or STBs (units that provide television and related services using at least one direct video connection) and Display-less Video Gateways or DVGs (units that provide television and related services without any direct video connection).

As with previous versions, the efficiency metric proposed in the version 5 draft is a Typical Energy Consumption (TEC) requirement (kWh/year), regulating the annual energy consumed during a product’s use in:

  • On Mode: where the unit is connected to a power source and at least one principal function is activated
  • Sleep Mode: where the unit is connected to a power source but in a reduced power state and not providing a principal function
  • Deep Sleep State: where the unit is connected to a power source but in a much reduced power state and not providing a principal function
  • Auto Power Down: a feature that enables the unit to transition to sleep mode if no user activity or viewing is occurring

To meet the ENERGY STAR requirement, a unit’s measured TEC (using Equation 1 below) must be no larger than the TEC requirement calculations in equation 2 (for STBs) or equation 3 (for DVGs):

Equation 1. Measured TEC Calculation

TEC = 0.365 [(TWATCH_TV x PWATCH_TV) + (TSLEEP x PSLEEP) + (TAPD x PAPD_ON_to_SLEEP) + (TDEEP_SLEEP x PSLEEP_SP_2)

Where: TEC = Typical Energy Consumption (kWh/yr), TWATCH_ TV, TSLEEP, TAPD, and TDEEP_SLEEP = time coefficients provided in the spec and PWATCH_TV = measured power in On Mode, PSLEEP = measured power in Sleep Mode, PAPD_ON_to_SLEEP = measured power after an APD timeout, and PSLEEP_SP_2 = measured power in the automatically scheduled Deep Sleep State

Equation 2. STB TEC Requirement

Where: TEC = Typical Energy Consumption as calculated in Equation 1, Incentive CLIENT_ONLY = incentive for multi-room STBs, effac-dc = adjustment for ac-dc power conversion losses1, TECMAX = maximum TEC allowed for ENERGY STAR certification, TECBASE = topmost base TEC allowance as provided in the spec, and TECADDL_i = each additional functional TEC adder as provided in the spec.

Equation 3. Display-less Video Gateway TEC Requirement

Where: TEC = Typical Energy Consumption as calculated in Equation 1, TECMAX = maximum TEC allowed for ENERGY STAR certification, TECBASE = topmost base TEC allowance as provided in the spec, and TECADDL_i = each additional functional TEC adder as provided in the spec.

According to the EPA, the combination of base and functional adder allowances proposed in this revision allows a wider range of products, across different base types and functionalities, to qualify. Table 1 shows the proposed TECBASE allowances. Functional adders are shown in Table 2.

Table 1. TECBASE Allowances

Base Type TEC Allowance (TECBASE)Allowance (kWh/year)
1. Cable DTA 40
2. Cable 40
3. Satellite 40
4. Multichannel Video Programming Distributor (MVPD) Internet Protocol (IP) 40
5. Thin-client / Remote 7
6. Over the top (OTT) Internet Protocol (IP) 7

(Note: Terrestrial STB base allowance was removed with this draft due to lack of market availability)

Table 2. Additional Functionality TEC Allowance (TECADDL_i)

Additional FunctionalityAllowance (kWh/year)
Advanced Video Processing 0
Advanced Video Processing – Additional 0
CableCARD 15
CableCARD – Max One Additional 15
Digital Video Recorder (DVR) 45
DOCSIS® 2 0
DOCSIS® 3 11
HD 0
High Efficiency Video Processing (HEVP) 15
High Efficiency Video Processing for Thin Clients (HEVP-TC) 5
Home Network Interface (HNI) 17
MIMO Wi-Fi HNI: for each 2.4 GHz Spatial Stream 2
MIMO Wi-Fi HNI: for each 5 GHz Spatial Stream 5
Multi-room 35
Multi-stream – Cable/Satellite 0
Multi-stream – IP 0
Multi-stream – Additional 0
Transcoding 13
Transcoding – Each Additional 5
UltraHD Resolution 5

The EPA plans to finalize the new version by Spring of 2016 with an effective date in early 2017. To be added to the STB mailing list, email STBs@energystar.gov with your contact information. For more information on this revision, including the proposed program specifications and test methods, visit the ENERGY STAR STB version 5 webpage.

1. EPA has included an ac-dc conversion factor (1.0 for AC powered STBs and 0.85 for DC powered STBs) to account for any power conversion losses in the product (i.e. a TV) powering a dc-powered STB, leveling the playing field for ac- and dc-powered STBs.