In response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding a test procedure for set-top boxes by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) released its comments in opposition. The Energy Department rule proposes to establish a new test procedure for set-top boxes, which describes the methods for measuring the power consumption of STBs in the on, sleep (commonly known as standby mode), and off modes. Further, an annual energy consumption (AEC) metric is proposed to calculate the annualized energy consumption of the STB based on its power consumption in the different modes of operation.

According to the proposal’s summary, the Energy Department has tentatively identified that the test methods described in the draft Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) standard CEA-2043, "Set-Top Box Power Measurement,'' are appropriate to use as a basis for developing the test procedure for set-top boxes. The draft CEA-2043 standard specifies the test methods for determining the power consumption of a set-top box in the on, sleep, and off modes. The proposed test procedure in this rulemaking is primarily based on the draft CEA-2043 standard, which was issued as an email ballot to the members of the CEA working group developing the standard for a vote on Nov. 27, 2012.

“The Energy Department’s rulemaking for set-top boxes is wasteful and unnecessary in light of industry leadership and accomplishment on energy efficiency in this product category,” says Doug Johnson, VP of technology policy, CEA. “Instead of reinventing the wheel with its own test procedure, DOE should defer to the existing consensus process, where interested industry and non-industry stakeholders are completing the test procedure known as CEA-2043 which properly constitutes the United States testing standard for measuring power consumption in set-top boxes.

“DOE’s rulemaking also ignores a significant energy-saving initiative for set-top boxes now in effect. In December 2012, CEA, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and 15 industry-leading video providers and device manufacturers signed an unprecedented Set-Top Box Energy Conservation Agreement that will result in annual residential electricity savings of $1.5 billion or more.

“CEA and our members have been on the vanguard of energy efficiency initiatives related to the consumer electronics industry. We strongly oppose the DOE’s attempt to trump successful industry solutions with unnecessary government regulations.”