The energy situation of the coming winter has many people concerned, and the reality is that we all need to reconsider our energy consumption habits. Public discourse has addressed the topics of heating the sauna, taking hot showers and regulating indoor temperatures. However, in addition to these big energy gluttons, consumers should also think about the electricity consumption of home entertainment devices. There’s an easy way to save energy at a societal level by modifying our use of home electronics.

The electricity consumption of data transmission has gained more space in public discourse as the relevance of the topic has grown. The issue is important for the whole planet, as the growing quantity of both data and terminal devices consumes a lot of electricity.

Indeed, audiovisual content should be distributed to large populations primarily through a terrestrial distribution network, or broadcasting, as this is by far the greenest way to distribute content today and in the future. This was reported in the European-wide LoCat energy consumption survey on broadcasting and streaming published last year. Similar results were also indicated by a survey conducted by the UK communications services regulator OfCom.

The survey reports that the average energy consumption per device viewing hour in a broadcasting distribution in Europe in 2020 was 14 Wh. This is a small figure compared to streaming service consumption, which is on average 153 Wh per viewing hour. The study does not take into account the energy consumption of the TV itself, which is typically 56 Wh per viewing hour.

By choosing a TV broadcast instead of streaming services, we can all do our part in conserving energy.

Broadcast is the public transport of data transfer

Teppo Ahonen heads up Digita’s TV and video business. He emphasises that the savings in energy are not reflected in the electricity bill of an individual consumer but are part of a larger societal whole.

“The more mobile devices are connected to a mobile network, the more electricity the network consumes. The situation is different in a broadcast network – its electricity consumption stays practically the same no matter how many receivers there are. This lower energy consumption is due to the efficiency of broadcast networks and the simplicity of home receivers”, Ahonen says.

In other words, a broadcast network can be compared to public transport. The more people use it, the lower the energy consumption of an individual consumer. In terms of the energy efficiency of data transfer, it’s best to distribute content that is likely to attract a large audience through broadcast networks. This is typical for live broadcasts and linear, schedule-bound television programmes.

However, Ahonen also points out that it’s not always possible to watch everything through broadcasting, and this is not something you should feel guilty about.

“You can’t always watch everything on your TV or through broadcasts. For example, if you’re sitting in a bus and want to watch the Independence Day reception, the only option is to watch it using a streaming service. Just like public transport won’t get you everywhere or at any time, which means you sometimes have to resort to other options. However, if you’re sitting in your living room, it’s easy to conserve energy by choosing broadcasting”, Ahonen explains.

Media contact

Digita Ltd, Teppo Ahonen, Vice President, TV, tel. +358 40 563 0299, teppo.ahonen@digita.fi