Set-top boxes

Looking for an energy-efficient set-top box?

In Canada, set-top boxes:

  • display the ENERGY STAR® symbol if the model is certified as high efficiency

Detailed information for manufacturers


Set-top box technology and energy efficiency

Set-top boxes, so called because they have been traditionally located on top of your television, decode signals from cable, satellite or Internet service providers.

Most models offer digital video recording (DVR/PVR) and high-definition resolution display and removable media playback and recording (e.g., DVD playback and recording). Increasingly, they offer ultra-high definition and 3D capability as well as multi-stream service to “client” boxes, allowing residents to watch different programs delivered through one central or “gateway” box.

Even when not in use, set-top boxes remain in ready mode so that they can download information and updates sent by the provider.

When you power down the set-top box, only the light turns off, saving you only a single watt of energy.

The trend today is to have one set-top box per television. Advantages include being able to access the television programming in every room and having digital video recorder (DVR) capability in every television so that viewers can skip advertising or record programs to watch later. The drawback is that having one set-top box per television increases the associated total household energy consumption.

Buy ENERGY STAR for high efficiency

Energy Star logo

Make shopping easy: look for the ENERGY STAR symbol.

Products that are certified for the symbol are the best energy performers of all makes and models on the mainstream market. They meet strict technical specifications for high efficiency—without compromising features or performance in other areas.

Many set-top box manufacturers now offer energy-efficient models. ENERGY STAR certified set-top boxes are on average 35 percent more efficient than standard units.

Many consumers rely on cable, satellite and telecom service providers to supply set-top boxes. Request only ENERGY STAR certified set-top boxes from your service provider to reduce energy consumption and save on energy costs.

Compare current ENERGY STAR certified models of set-top boxes in our searchable product list.

Types of set-top boxes

Cable—Receives television signals from a broadband hybrid fiber/coaxial cable distribution system.

Internet protocol (IP)—Receives television/video signals encapsulated in IP packets and delivers them to a consumer display unit and/or recording device.

Satellite—Receives television signals from satellites and delivers them to a consumer display unit and/or recording device

Terrestrial—Receives television signals over the air and delivers them to a consumer display unit and/or recording device

Thin-client/remote—Interfaces with a multi-room set-top box and a TV that has no ability to interface with the service provider directly. (Any device that meets the definition of a cable, IP, satellite or terrestrial set-top box is not a thin-client/remote set-top box.)

Regulations set the energy efficiency minimum

Digital television adapter set-top boxes are subject to Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations which set a performance standard for their energy consumption. This helps to eliminate the least efficient products from the Canadian market.

Learn more about how Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations work.


The ENERGY STAR name and symbol are administered and promoted in Canada by Natural Resources Canada and are registered in Canada by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.