U.S. cable box providers to boost energy efficiency, save customers up to $1.5 billion per year

A trade group consisting of the largest U.S. cable providers, including Comcast, AT&T and DIRECTV, has announced that it will press ahead with government-mandated efficiency standards ahead of schedule. The agreement between the various companies means that, beginning in January 2013, customers will begin to see energy savings in their home entertainment systems.

As part of the agreement, according to an official press release from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), an experimental set of "sleep" stages will be implemented by participating organizations. This new feature will enable cable boxes to power down and consume less energy while not in use but still plugged into the wall.

Additionally, the companies will undertake a program to replace traditional cable boxes with set-top boxes, which is a new design that utilizes less electricity per hour and can be programmed to shut off during certain times of the day. Officials from the CEA and NCTA, in their release, expressed hope that these changes would result in cheaper utility bills for customers and improved compliance with government standards.

"Providing American consumers with innovative services that deliver great video content and reduce in-home energy costs is win-win for customers and participating companies," Michael Powell, NCTA President and CEO, was quoted as saying. "Multichannel video providers and device manufacturers are proud to participate in this unprecedented initiative, and we will continue to pursue even more ways to reduce the overall energy footprint of our services."

If you are a customer of one of these companies – it's a good chance that you are if you watch T.V. – you should expect to see the cable guy stop in and replace your box. With these new measures in place, can enjoy some energy savings while you watch your favorite shows.