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The carbon footprint of watching television, comparing digital terrestrial television with video-on-demand

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3 Author(s)
Jigna Chandaria ; BBC Research and Development, BBC Centre House, 56 Wood Lane, London, W12 7SB, UK ; Jeff Hunter ; Adrian Williams

This study estimated the carbon footprint of watching broadcast television using digital terrestrial television and online delivery of video-on-demand. The carbon footprint for digital terrestrial television was found to be 0.088 kg CO2e/viewer-hour and for online delivery of video-on-demand ranges from 0.030-0.086 kg CO2e/viewer-hour. This was based mainly on the energy consumption in the use phase. Results were sensitive to the number of viewers per display. It was found that the largest environmental impact from watching television is due to the power consumption of the consumer equipment. This amounts to 76% of the total for digital terrestrial television and 78% and 37% for video-on-demand using desktop and laptop computers respectively. The trend for larger television screens which have higher power consumption could increase this. Programme production contributes 12% to 35% and distribution contributes 10-28%. It was found that the audience size of a digital terrestrial channel and whether or not an aerial amplifier was used have a large effect on which distribution method appears to be the most energy efficient.

Published in:

Proceedings of the 2011 IEEE International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology

Date of Conference:

16-18 May 2011