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Can DIRECTV's HD DVR Save Energy Costs?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (November 4, 2013) - Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to

Q.  I've read that a cable or satellite set-top is an energy hog that can run up your electric bill. Is there any way to reduce its power so I can keep my costs down? -- Wendy, Houston, Texas.

Wendy, the obvious answer is to turn off the set-top when you go to sleep at night or when you leave for work in the morning. That will help somewhat. But even a detail dude like myself often forgets to do that. So there's gotta be a better way, right?

Well, DIRECTV has an interesting feature on its HD DVRs (model R22 and up). The Energy Star-certified receiver has a trigger inside that, after four hours of inactivity, will display an on-screen message saying it's going into 'Power Savings' mode, which means it will turn itself off.

If you are still watching -- maybe that Sunday doubleheader football game is going a bit long -- you can click the Cancel button and the receiver will stay on. If you're not watching, the receiver will go into stand-by which is a great energy saver.

The Power Savings mode will definitely help you save on your energy bill. One study has found that your average HD DVR uses 446 kilowatt hours a year, which makes it one of the most costly appliances in the house.

If the Power Savings Mode freaks you out, you can go into Settings and turn it off. But it's a harmless feature. When the receiver is in Power Savings Mode, all you have to do to turn it back on is hit the Power button.

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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at or at 703-505-3064.

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