Set-top Boxes & Cable Boxes

photograph of a set top box

A "set-top box" (STB) is a cable, satellite, Internet Protocol or other device whose primary function is to receive television signals from a specific source and deliver them to a consumer display and/or recording device, such as a television or DVR.

ENERGY STAR certified set-top boxes are on average 32 percent more efficient than conventional models. In fact, if all set-top boxes in the U.S. met ENERGY STAR requirements, consumer energy cost savings would grow to about $580 million each year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from about 790,000 cars.

Households can experience significant energy savings through the deployment of multi-room thin-client devices in homes that are currently served by two or three high-power STBs with DVR functionality. This multi-room architecture allows for all but one power-hungry DVR to be removed from every home. For a home with three televisions, set-top box energy savings can be up to 30 percent versus having one DVR per television. 

Current Specification Effective Date: Version 5.0: January 1, 2017

Version 5.0 ENERGY STAR Program Requirements for Set-top Boxes became effective for all products excluding Thin Clients on January 1, 2017. Thin Clients may be certified to Version 4.1 until August 15, 2017, may be certified to Version 5.0 currently, and must meet Version 5.0 requirements by January 1, 2018. The revised requirements include more stringent performance levels as well as incentives for operation in Deep Sleep State (less than or equal to 1 watt), Scheduled Sleep, use of Thin Clients, and streaming directly to a smart TV in multi-room setups.

Set-top Boxes & Cable Boxes Key Product Criteria: ENERGY STAR 

Learn How a Product Earns the Label

What should you know about choosing ENERGY STAR certified Set-top Boxes?

Most set-top boxes and cable boxes are given to consumers as part of their contract with a service provider, rather than sold independently at retail stores. So, when you are deciding on a cable or satellite service, be sure to ask the service provider for an ENERGY STAR certified set-top box.

If you currently have cable or satellite service, check with your service provider to find out what, if any, upgrade options are available. ENERGY STAR Partners who provide cable and satellite services may be able to provide newly qualified boxes as part of your service.