Eco-friendly Sky boxes to turn themselves offNew feature will automatically put them on standby

20 March 2007

Consumers can cut their household energy bills with the introduction of a new feature that will automatically switch inactive Sky HD and Sky boxes into standby mode overnight.

This technology, the first of its kind in the UK, will be introduced to more than two million boxes in phases over the next few months.

The Auto Standby feature will be sent automatically to all Sky HD boxes from tomorrow and then to all Sky+ boxes in stages, from mid April and throughout the summer.

This new enhancement forms part of Sky's plans for ensuring its products are as energy efficient as possible.

Since the launch of Sky Digital, the energy consumption of Sky's new standard boxes has been reduced by 50 per cent and Sky plans to roll out Auto Standby to the majority of its customers by mid next year.

Energy saving

The company said Auto Standby could save enough energy to light all the homes in Wolverhampton or power all the washing machines in Liverpool for a year.

It could also slash £7.5 million from customers' electricity bills and reduce the UK's carbon dioxide emissions by 32,000 tonnes a year.

Auto Standby will monitor whether people are using their Sky+ or Sky HD box overnight between 11pm and 4am. If the box has not been used for a period of two hours after 11pm an 'Auto Standby' warning will pop up on the screen for three minutes. If there is no further use the box will go into Standby mode automatically.

Ben Stimson, director of corporate responsibility at Sky, said: 'Energy use is a growing priority for companies and consumers alike so we want to help our customers to cut their bills and reduce their environmental impact.

'We advise all our customers to switch their Sky box to standby when not in use. But for those occasions when people forget, Auto Standby will be there to help out. This is a UK first whose effects will add up to a significant reduction in energy consumption for our customers.'

No need to remember

Robin Oakley, senior climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace, added: 'Sky is among the few companies forging ahead to cut out energy wastage in their products, it's time this became the priority for companies producing all our appliances.

'Even apparently small things like appliances that switch themselves off when we forget can make massive carbon dioxide and energy savings when multiplied across the population.'

Frances Galvanoni from the Energy Saving Trust said: 'What's great about this is that the consumer doesn't have to worry about remembering to turn it off standby as Sky has built the functionality into the product. This is a welcome step and shows how seriously Sky takes its responsibility to the environment.

'Energy efficient appliances use less power and are cheaper to run. And because they need less energy, they're responsible for fewer greenhouse gas emissions - this is good news for the environment and good news for Sky's customers.'

Unlike most electrical equipment, Sky set top boxes (including Sky+ and Sky HD boxes) are 'active' devices and as such need to be switched on or in the standby mode at all times in order to receive regular software updates and allow Sky+ recordings to take place.

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