Cost of Entertainment

Posted by: David Kluvers

I was looking into an NPR story I heard about Vampire Power about a week ago. (Which I will be posting about soon) And in the comments section someone posted a link ( to something that troubled me. Like many young American males I own a gaming console, in this case a Playstation 3. It not only fills the role of gaming, but I also use it exclusively for movie watching as well. The site in question has run various side-by-side bench tests of the PS3 as well as the XBOX360, and the results are not pretty. They both consume large amounts of energy, but sadly my console consumes far more: 175.7 peak watts vs 126.6.
I recently purchased a Kill-a-Watt and used it on my PS3 and found that mine draws around 190 watts when on but at idle, jumps up to 230 watts while playing a game, and to around 200 watts when playing a movie. This last note is especially painful when we see that the site tested a regular DVD player as drawing 13 watts, ouch! The PS3 also draws 1 watt while "off," you need to flip the switch on the back to cut the power entirely.
As our technology gets better and better is appears that we will be using more and more energy for the purpose of entertainment. But as always you can do a great deal just by simply turning the device off when you are finished with it. But even this is becoming less easy to do as most home theater devices only go into a low power state unless you manually "switch" them off. This highlights the importance of knowing what kind of power your devices draw and how to most effectively limit what they draw when you are not using them. It is unlikely that we will reverse the trend of increased power consumption, but we can increase how smartly we use that power.