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# How much electricity does a home theater use????

http://www.sparkenergy.com/blog/2012...m_campaign=clp

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Ever since we wrote a post about our dream home theater system, we’ve been wondering exactly how much electricity our mind-blowing mega-theater would consume to show a movie and how much that electricity might actually cost us. That got us curious about how much electricity the modest home theater of one of our staff writers uses when he watches a movie and how much he might actually be spending on electricity to indulge his inner movie lover.

In order to run this little experiment, we examined the electricity consumption of our movie-buff staff writer’s 65-inch Samsung flat-panel TV, Sony home theater in a box (HTIB) and XBOX 360 game console, since that’s what he uses to play DVDs. Then we compared his setup to the absurdly-awesome dream home theater we recently explored, which included a Ronco 103” plasma TV, Goldman Blu-ray player, and separate Anthem preamp and amplifier.

To compare the two systems, we made a few assumptions, including the number of movies our staff writer watches on average each week (which turns out to be about three), the average length of a movie (two hours) and the price of electricity (which we set at 10 cents/kWh for the sake of easy math). Just in case you’re wondering, our staff writer’s setup cost about \$2,200, while our dream home theater’s price tag is a little north of \$160,000.

our staff writer’s system:
Samsung UN65D6000 65-inch LCD TV: 160 W
Sony STR-K850P HTIB: 330 W
Microsoft XBOX 360: 126 W
Total: 616 W
The Math:
(616 W x 2 hours) ÷ 1,000 = 1.232 kWh
1.232 kWh x 10 cents/kWh = 12.32 cents per movie
12.32 cents x 3 movies per week = \$19.20 per year

our dream system:
Runco PlasmaWall XP-103DHD 103-inch Plasma TV: 1,500 W
Goldmund Eidos 20BD Blu-ray Player: 35 W
Anthem AVM 50v Preamp: 150 W
Anthem MCA 50 Amplifier: 530 W
Total: 2,215 W
The Math:
(2,215 W x 2 hours) ÷ 1,000 = 4.43 kWh
4.43 kWh x 10 cents/kWh = 44.3 cents per movie
44.3 cents x 3 movies per week = \$69.10 per year

our conclusion
Watching movies at home requires little in the way of electricity expense, but we had no idea exactly how cheap it was until we crunched the numbers. Even watching a movie on the Ferrari of home theater systems still costs less than a trip to the local Redbox.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick

Even watching a movie on the Ferrari of home theater systems still costs less than a trip to the local Redbox.

I don't get this last line. Just because you have a home theater it means content is free? I have a home theater and I get my movies from RedBox. Maybe he means to say it's cheaper than a trip to the local MegaPlex.

BTW, I am not posting this confusion to start another " is downloading content moral" argument. We already have a thread for that. I just don't get that statement.
At first I was fearful of the numbers... I'm very happy I was surprised . Including what's in my setup I bet I'm closer to \$30 a year. Add in the always on server/router/switches and I bet I can add at least another \$100 or so for the year haha.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion

I don't get this last line. Just because you have a home theater it means content is free? I have a home theater and I get my movies from RedBox. Maybe he means to say it's cheaper than a trip to the local MegaPlex.

BTW, I am not posting this confusion to start another " is downloading content moral" argument. We already have a thread for that. I just don't get that statement.

It was a copy pasta

You would have to ask the author.

It's not my words. Just thought it interesting enough to share.
Interesting stuff. I had never done the calcs myself, but figured it was negligible.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick

It was a copy pasta

You would have to ask the author.

It's not my words. Just thought it interesting enough to share.

Yeah, it's pretty clear it's not your words. I am not insinuating that you wrote those words. I am just wondering out loud why he would say that. Otherwise, it was an interesting read.
If you really want to run up the wattage, do a 12.1 audio system with a bunch of enormous class-a amps like these beasts (http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazin...2/passx250.htm) and a front projector with a couple of thousand watt xenon bulb like this one (http://www.aboutprojectors.com/Hughe...projector.html).

So let's call it 7 amps (we have to have dual subs in a system like this, so we'll use both channels of the seventh amp) and they say they can drive 500W into 4 ohm speakers, so we just have to use some ridiculously inefficient 4 ohm speakers, so that makes it

7 x 500W = 3500W for the amps

plus 2600W for the PJ

so 6100W

add in a couple of hundred watts for the rest of the components and I'm at about

6300W total.

And that's closer to a realistic number than the Dream System above because that's the idle power for the class-a amps and the xenon bulb draws 2KW all the time whereas the big plasma panel in the Dream System will only draw that 1500W max rating when displaying a 100% white screen. Most of the time it will draw a lot less than that.

[ed. and I haven't even added in all the extra air conditioning needed to keep the room cool with all those amps and PJ pumping all that heat into it.]
Thats an awfully small amount of viewing for a setup like that. People who care that much about home theater would surely spend a hell of a lot more time infront of it than 3 movies worth a week.

the report seems deceptive since the people who watch so little cant be concerned about power use, but the people who have their systems on for hours a day are worried and this report suggests its just a few cents a day when in reality its probably around \$30 a month for them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac The Knife

If you really want to run up the wattage, do a 12.1 audio system with a bunch of enormous class-a amps like these beasts (http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazin...2/passx250.htm) and a front projector with a couple of thousand watt xenon bulb like this one (http://www.aboutprojectors.com/Hughe...projector.html).

So let's call it 7 amps (we have to have dual subs in a system like this, so we'll use both channels of the seventh amp) and they say they can drive 500W into 4 ohm speakers, so we just have to use some ridiculously inefficient 4 ohm speakers, so that makes it

7 x 500W = 3500W for the amps

plus 2600W for the PJ

so 6100W

add in a couple of hundred watts for the rest of the components and I'm at about

6300W total.

And that's closer to a realistic number than the Dream System above because that's the idle power for the class-a amps and the xenon bulb draws 2KW all the time whereas the big plasma panel in the Dream System will only draw that 1500W max rating when displaying a 100% white screen. Most of the time it will draw a lot less than that.

[ed. and I haven't even added in all the extra air conditioning needed to keep the room cool with all those amps and PJ pumping all that heat into it.]

I think the point is the energy is quite affordable relative to the other costs like media, equiptment and such.

ANyone who can afford such a dream system can afford another \$50 a year to run it.

Energy is almost a non factor at the high end since the price of the system, the theater and other things is so high the cost of energy seems like pennies.

in some cases where people watch an hour a night on a modest system it might literally only costs pennies to run it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick

I think the point is the energy is quite affordable relative to the other costs like media, equiptment and such.

ANyone who can afford such a dream system can afford another \$50 a year to run it.

Energy is almost a non factor at the high end since the price of the system, the theater and other things is so high the cost of energy seems like pennies.

in some cases where people watch an hour a night on a modest system it might literally only costs pennies to run it.

Yeah, I knew what the point was. I just couldn't stop myself from coming up with the wackiest, power sucking system that I could think up.

Obviously, the electric costs are a tiny part of these systems. Even in your original dream system, think about the cost of installing that 103" display. That beast is so big, even standing it on end it probably won't be able to take any turns in a hallway. So that means ripping out a window or some other nasty demo work just to get it in the right room of the house.

And since that beast draws 1500W. That means it needs it's own dedicated 15amp circuit. So while they're demoing the house to get the panel in, you better call an electrician and have him add the circuit, too. Those costs alone will dwarf the electric bills.
My system uses about 550W with everything running.
llano HTPC
powered sub
an old LCD TV that is 300W+
Quote:
Originally Posted by idividebyzero

Thats an awfully small amount of viewing for a setup like that. People who care that much about home theater would surely spend a hell of a lot more time infront of it than 3 movies worth a week.

Not really. Most (although not all) people that put a dedicated HT into their house also have a traditional livingroom setup that gets used far more often. The HT gets relegated as more of a special perk that gets used far less often.

I was actually thinking 3 movies a week was on the high side of usage for a dedicated HT setup. But then, I don't really consider a 65" flatscreen and a HTIB setup as worthy of being called a "Home Theater."

-Suntan
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac The Knife

And since that beast draws 1500W. That means it needs it's own dedicated 15amp circuit. So while they're demoing the house to get the panel in, you better call an electrician and have him add the circuit, too. Those costs alone will dwarf the electric bills.

Any DIY HT buff worth his salt should be able to put in a circuit themselves . It's crazy easy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by drealit

At first I was fearful of the numbers... I'm very happy I was surprised .

Yeah, a lot of people have misunderstood expectations about the power requirements for their electronic equipment. If you look at some of the dedicated HT builds, you often see people installing two or three dedicated 20Amp runs for equipment that will all happily run on one 15Amp circuit.

That said, not all gear is the same. If you run a lot of inefficient speakers with inefficient amp designs, you're going to be using *a lot* more energy than someone running efficient speakers with efficient amps.

-Suntan
Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion

I don't get this last line. Just because you have a home theater it means content is free? I have a home theater and I get my movies from RedBox. Maybe he means to say it's cheaper than a trip to the local MegaPlex.

BTW, I am not posting this confusion to start another " is downloading content moral" argument. We already have a thread for that. I just don't get that statement.

It depends on the distance and gas mileage he gets. If he gets 20 mpg and gas is \$4 a gallon, a 10 mile round trip (5 to the redbox and 5 back) would cost him \$2. If we doubled his gas mileage to 40 mpg, it would still cost \$1 for the trip, but the HTPC only uses 45 cents for the movie.

Of course, then you would have to compare the rental cost vs his cost for obtaining the movie to play on the HTPC, but if we assume they are equal the HTPC is cheaper.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion

Any DIY HT buff worth his salt should be able to put in a circuit themselves . It's crazy easy.

It is, but then you are not up to code. Many people are afraid of electricity, so they go the safe route. I do all my own electric work, including replacing braker panels, etc, but then I was an electrician in the Navy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion

Any DIY HT buff worth his salt should be able to put in a circuit themselves . It's crazy easy.

You better pray you never have a house fire, because regardless of the cause your insurance will refuse to pay if you can't prove a licensed electrician did all the wiring. They'd rather force you to sue them and force you to spend hundreds of thousands in legal costs to try and get the money.

And if you ever have any remodeling done by a licensed contractor and they find anything that's not "to code". They're required, by law, to have it all redone as part of the remodeling. So you'll get to pay to have it all redone before you can get your "certificate of occupancy" back. And I think you'd be amazed by the pages and pages of electrical codes that have to be followed in most cities these days.

And if a buyer's inspector finds anything as part of a home sale, you can get screwed there too. In some localities you'll get really screwed because they're required to report it to the authorities and if they're feeling nasty, they can pull your certificate and force you to move out until you get it fixed.

Anyone that has tens of thousands of bucks to blow on a 103" Plasma would be stupid to risk the extreme downsides of doing their own wiring over the extra ~\$1K (and probably a lot less since most housing markets these days are so slow that all these guys really need every job they can get) that it costs to have a licensed electrician run add a circuit.
The calcs in the article are all based on max power consumption? Why?
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