Streaming Movies Can Save Energy (Smithsonian)

Film-128wYour Netflix habit is fairly  good for the environment if you’re streaming movies rather than renting DVDs. DVD players and the driving required to pick up a movie or have it delivered to your home add up to a larger energy consumption than watching a film on your iPad or TV at home.

Based on 2011 data, the researchers calculated that if everyone that year who had watched DVDs instead streamed their movies, they would have avoided emitting 2 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide and saved enough energy to power 200,000 U.S. households for a year. (The energy consumption the researchers looked at included all the energy needed to get a movie from Hollywood to home, including DVD manufacture, shipping and delivery, storing files on data servers and methods of playback and viewing.) Plus, the researchers found that DVD players, even when they’re not in use, eat up a lot of energy. “Older versions, in particular, are big energy guzzlers,” according to Smithsonian. Meanwhile, “movies streamed at home usually depend on more-efficient, newer devices.”

The worry now is that the energy efficiencies of video streaming could be offset by increases in streaming of more complex — and more energy-demanding — video content, according to Smithsonian.

 

Comments

  1. C.F. Bryant says:

    Doesn’t the sentence “Based on 2011 data” have it backwards? That sentence says that watching DVDs is more energy efficient than streaming. But the rest of the article clearly states that STREAMING is more energy efficient overall.

    The point about considering energy efficiency in even small appliances such as DVD players is a good one!

  2. Anne Witty says:

    Editors –

    In your Daily Sun summary, this useful information (streaming = more energy efficient) is scrambled by the statement, “. . . the researchers calculated that if everyone that year had watched DVDs instead of streaming their movies, they would have avoided emitting 2 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide and saved enough energy to power 200,000 U.S. households for a year.”

    It’s the other way around according to the Smithsonian article, which states that “. . . if everyone who watched DVDs in 2011 has [sic] instead streamed those videos, that would have avoided some 2 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions and saved about 30 petajoules of energy.”

    Interesting and useful information, in any case. Thank you!

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