About 85% of U.S. households have at least one set-top box (STB) designed to deliver subscription-based television service by cable, satellite, or other telecommunication signals, according to 2013 data from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the Consumer Electronics Association. In most cases, these STBs operate at almost full power whether they're actively being used or inactive. Energy efficiency advocates, set-top box manufacturers, service providers, and the federal government have voluntarily agreed to improve energy efficiency of set-top boxes, generally based on the ENERGY STAR program's product specifications.
Some STBs consume about half of the electricity a typical refrigerator uses in a year, and households may have multiple STBs per household, making them a target for efficiency improvements. These devices are essentially never off, even when no one in the household is watching television or recording a program. Instead, they remain in a standby mode drawing nearly full power, often around 15-20 watts. Energy saving modes such as deep sleep are present on ENERGY STAR models but may or may not be enabled.