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Binge-watching this weekend? Here's how to use less hydro
Before you get settled in to re-watch the last few seasons of "Game of Thrones," the new season of "Queer Eye" or the latest episodes of "Arrested Development," here's a quick look at how you can binge watch without taking a hydro bill hit.
BC Hydro published its advice on which device you should choose to make your weekend on the couch a bit more energy efficient.
In a fact-laden release – did you know if you watched all seven seasons of "Game of Thrones" in one sitting, without bathroom breaks, it would take you two days and 15 minutes? – the utility looked at the ways different entertainment systems use power.
"Generally speaking, electronics manufacturers have done a nice job of increasing efficiency in their products. But did you know there's a huge difference between the most - and least – efficient ways to stream video?" BC Hydro wrote in a post on its website.
For example, smart televisions with Energy Star labels that allow a viewer to stream directly from services like Netflix are efficient when it comes to TVs. Sets that aren't "smart," which need to be linked up to another streaming device, are the least efficient.
How much does it actually cost?
The provider stuck with the example of watching the first seven seasons of GoT, given the start of season eight on Sunday.
Streaming the previous seasons on your iPad, for example, will add 1.3 cents to your hydro bill. Watching through an Apple TV costs about 2.5 cents in energy based on BC Hydro's rates. But if you stream on your TV through a gaming system like a PlayStation 4, it will cost about 63 cents – 30 times more, BC Hydro says.
At less than a loonie, that number seems small. But, BC Hydro explains, you're not only using the PS4.
"That game console is just one of many devices in the home that use power, so bit by bit, that energy use adds up," it said.
A recent study found more than half of B.C. households have five or more internet-connected devices running at home.
"So while streaming all seven seasons of Game of Thrones may seem a drop in the bucket, it represents a small fraction of your energy use," BC Hydro wrote.
Which devices are most and least expensive?
According to BC Hydro, those who stream off tablets or phones pay the least. The ranking of the devices and set-ups it looked at is as follows:
- Microsoft Surface Pro Laptop
- Smart TV
- Roku and TV
- Apple TV and TV
- Xbox and TV
- PS4 and TV
BC Hydro estimated the cost of energy based on a user who streams an average of five hours a day per year. The cost of use varies from $7.97 on a smart TV to $26.05 for a PS4 and TV.
It did not say what those using a phone or tablet would pay based on that example.