DirecTV, AT&T, Dish, Verizon join NCTA effort to deploy green set-tops

Groups say conservation agreement may reduce electricity bills by $1.5 billion annually
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Cable rivals DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV), Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH), AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) said they will support an effort to deploy energy efficient set-top boxes that has been led by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

The telcos and satellite providers joined Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Cox Communications, Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR), Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), Bright House Networks and CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) in signing an agreement that says at least 90 percent of new set-tops purchased and deployed after 2013 will be Energy Star 3.0 compliant, NCTA and the Consumer Electronics Association said Thursday. Cable operators will also download software updates to DVRs that will enable "light sleep" capabilities when they are not being used. The groups said AT&T and Verizon will offer light sleep capabilities next year, and DirecTV and Dish will include an "automatic power down" feature in 90 percent of the set-tops they purchase and deploy in 2013.

NCTA and CEA estimated the set-top box energy conservation agreement could help residential subscribers reduce their electricity bills by $1.5 billion annually. Set-top manufacturers Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO), Motorola Mobility, EchoStar and Arris (Nasdaq: ARRS) have also signed the conservation agreement.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has been pushing pay TV distributors to deploy more energy efficient set-tops. In November 2011, NCTA and CableLabs opened an Energy Lab facility at CableLabs headquarters that is being used to test energy consumption on set-tops. NCTA members also committed last year to ensuring that at least 90 percent of new set-tops deployed would be Energy Star 3.0 compliant by the end of 2013. The language has changed slightly since that original commitment, with NCTA noting Thursday that 90 percent of new set-tops purchased and deployed "after 2013" will be Energy Star 3.0 compliant.

For more:
- see the release

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