The US Department of Energy has opted not to regulate IPTV, satellite and cable set-top-box energy use: for now.
The DOE has deferred issuing proposed regulations on the matter until after 1 October, in favor of allowing pay-tv operators to negotiate their own non-regulatory agreements. The agreement would be accepted as long as it "sufficiently addresses the public interest in improving set-top box energy efficiency."
"If successful, a non-regulatory agreement could become effective quickly," the department said Thursday in a statement, noting that it will continue to work on test specifications to cover any set-top boxes not covered by an agreement.
Initially spearheaded by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), it and other environmental groups have urged the government to do something about energy "vampires," which suck energy off the grid even when not in use. Of these, STBs are amon the worst offenders. The NDRC wants energy-efficiency standards and required sleep-mode settings.
Needless to say, the cable industry was not enthused about the suggested regulations. It hailed the new DOE approach.
"This is great news from the Department of Energy and recognizes that an industry agreement could be more effective and implemented more quickly than a rulemaking," NCTA vice president and general counsel Neal Goldberg said in a statement. "We'll continue our efforts to work closely with the energy advocates and industry to forge a solution that accomplishes our shared vision of improving the energy efficiency of set-top boxes while continuing to provide best-in-class service to consumers."