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New criteria for set-top boxes

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently finalized new ENERGY STAR requirements for set-top boxes. Starting on January 1, 2009, new cable, satellite, and telecom set-top boxes that carry the ENERGY STAR must be at least 30% more efficient than conventional models. The requirements will tighten further in 2011.

The new ENERGY STAR requirements for set-top boxes are the logical follow-up to the new ENERGY STAR requirements for televisions, which will take effect on November 1.

The EPA will also partner with the cable, satellite and telecommunications companies to encourage them to deploy more ENERGY STAR-qualified set-top boxes.

Starting in 2009, partners in the program will have to assure that either half of their new set-top boxes carry the ENERGY STAR or that at least 10% of the set-top boxes used by their subscribers are ENERGY STAR-qualified. The latter option increases to 25% of the set-top boxes in 2010.

The partners must also assure that the set-top boxes work as intended and must educate their customers about the benefits of ENERGY STAR-qualified set-top boxes. Review the new set-top box specifications and partner requirements (