When I bought my TV, it was “HD ready,” meaning it wasn’t. It couldn’t receive over-the-air HD signals without some other device unscrambling the signal first. So I wound up buying a HD receiver that would do that. One thing I noticed was the HD receiver stays pretty warm all the time, so even when it is off (really on standby) it is using a lot of power. If you unplug it, it has to boot up which takes maybe a minute or so. So it is always booted up and ready.
On a bulletin board I visit now, we were talking about energy efficiency and someone mentioned that one of the big energy killers is devices that are turned off but still use up a lot of electricity. These are sometimes called “vampires”. This guy said he had a TV that used a lot even when it was off, which he was able to measure using a Kill A Watt energy monitor. He has an off-grid cabin that uses solar power, so he has to avoid vampires like that and instead chose to use a regular TV in the cabin.
Anyway, what I told him was needed is a remote controlled surge protector. That way you could plug in the DVD player, TV, receiver, HD box, etc. and then turn off the surge protector so they couldn’t use any energy while they were off (essentially unplugged now). You could do this by hand, but it would be easier to do it by remote since surge protectors are usually buried under a lot of wire. Another guy said they already make them, so I went looking on Amazon and sure enough, I found one made by Belkin.
It is pretty neat. It has 2 plugs for continuous power, which are needed for things like a DVR that might record a show while I’m not there. Then it has 6 plugs that can be cut off with a remote. I think it uses radio frequencies and therefore doesn’t need a direct line of sight from the remote to the device, but if not, I will be able to program that into my universal remote. It also has settings so that you could have one surge protector for the home entertainment group and another for the computer set up independently.
I bought one. I will set up my DVR and TV with continuous power since I use those the most. But when I watch a DVD or want to tune in an HD program (not that often, partly because I don’t even get decent reception of most of the stations), I will turn on the other stuff. While I was at it, I also bought a Kill A Watt device so I can measure how much energy I am saving. Hopefully this will save energy. Once I measure a few things with the Kill a Watt, I won’t need it very often, so anyone is welcome to borrow it.