In a time of soaring energy prices we need to cut our energy use, not increase it. So why is so much modern home technology lacking a proper power button?
Most TVs, for example, are now standby-only. So is my DVD player and my PlayStation.
There are other home tech goods that drink power for fun too. PVRs and set-top boxes should be switched off at the wall at night to save energy, but take an age to start up again. As a result, many people don’t bother and leave the box in standby – which often saves little power – or worse still leave it on.
Each appliance’s energy consumption adds up though. The energy use of millions of TVs, gaming consoles and set-top boxes across the country amounts to a huge waste of energy.
Support for on/off switches
I’m not alone in thinking this. We polled Which? Convo readers in 2011, and three quarters of 1,009 voters said that they think on/off switches on TVs are essential. Another 11% already owned a TV without a real power switch and hated not having one.
Terfar thinks that the amount of power used by TVs on standby is so small it’s not worth worrying about:
‘My TV uses a third of a watt when it is connected to the mains and the TV is switched off. That’s hardly wasting power. You lose more power than that just opening a door or a window in winter.’
Vynor Hill has found a way to get around the problem:
‘I purchased remote control switches (£10 each from my supermarket) and can now stop everything from glowing red with one click. My Sky box objects to this but, given time, it revives when the power returns.’
Vynor goes on to say that ‘there should be on/off switches on all electrical appliances – we shouldn’t have to buy our own’.
Phil offered an explanation for the lack of switches:
‘A switch would be cheap but it’s not the way the economics of mass production works. If the manufacturer can save £1 on each set they make and they make one million sets then that’s another million pounds of profit they’ve made.’
Would you be happy to pay an extra pound or two for a built-in off switch on your tech products?