East Coast Games

Forest J. Handford

Pawtucket RI

April 22, 2007


Reference Number 070416-000932

To Whom It May Concern:

Over the last few months I have been working on a project to reduce global warming.  A recent focus of this project was devoted to identifying inefficient devices in the home and office.  Electricity in most of the United States is created through processes that create carbon dioxide.  For example, the burning of coal and diesel create carbon dioxide.

National Grid provides electricity to 3.4 million customers in the northeastern United States.  For every megawatt hour of electricity they generate 818.205 pounds of carbon dioxide is released into the Earth’s atmosphere adding to global warming.

Cox Communications’ digital cable customers use a Motorola DCT 2224 cable box that uses 15 watts when on and 14 watts when ‘off’.  If a customer were to have this box on for a conservative average of 4 hours a day it would use 1.8 kilowatt hours (KWH) a month.  This leaves the box off 20 hours using 8.4 KWH. 

The 1.8 KWH caused from the box being on creates 1.47 pounds of carbon dioxide for your customers who use national grid (other electric providers will have similar results).  The 8.4 KWH creates 6.87 pounds of carbon dioxide.  Combined, the cable box will create an average of 8.35 pounds of carbon dioxide a month or 100.2 pounds per year.

The average car registered in the United States creates 4 – 5 tons of carbon dioxide in a year.  This means that 100 of these cable boxes combined creates more carbon dioxide than the average car!  As a leader in digital devices you are dramatically hurting the environment.

Recently I spoke with technical support at Cox Communications about this issue.  I was hoping there was a low power setting that could be used to decrease the energy the boxes use while turned off.  I was told no such mode existed.  I then inquired why the box was continually using power when it was no longer broadcasting a signal to a television.  The representative indicated that it was to keep the television listings current.

Through further research I discovered that if an environmentally conscious customer wanted to reduce their electricity use by unplugging the box during periods of disuse the box would take at least three minutes to re-initialize enough to allow the customer to change the channel. During the three minutes of initialization the user can only view the last channel watched with part of the television obscured by the initialization message.  As I believe you will agree, this is a very aggravating amount of time to wait in the digital age.

I have sent a letter to Cox Communications strongly urging that they consider the environmental damage that is being caused by these boxes.  Please consider the damage these devices are doing and create a re-design. 

As a computer scientist it is my firm belief that this box is extremely inefficient.  Your SB4220 SURFBoard Cable Modem that is on 24 hours a day only uses 3 watts of electricity.  If the cable box is truly using the network it is an abuse of the cable companies’ network bandwidth.  While their current network may handle this load; as HD becomes more wide-spread and as other technologies emerge they will find no matter how fast their network is it will create a bottle-neck amplified by this extra traffic.  When customers can choose to receive a signal from satellite that has no bandwidth limitation cable providers will find their competition at a great advantage (and cost savings).

Since most programs last at least 30 minutes a more efficient cable box could be designed to go into a sleep, or low-power, mode every 30 minutes.  This low power setting could easily run on less than 4 watts providing more than a 72% reduction in power use and carbon dioxide generation. 

Please take some time to consider this information and to pursue a solution.  I hope you will develop a more efficient device that cable providers can start deploying, but if you cannot I strongly urge Cox Communications to seek another vendor.


Forest J. Handford


Response (Melissa Black) - 04/17/2007 12:00 PM
Mr. Hanford,

Thank you for choosing Motorola!

I apologize for the inconvenience.  Thank you for your input on the DCT2224.

You can visit our website at www.motorola.com/broadband to view your user’s guide and frequently asked questions about your product.


Melissa Black


Copyright (C) 2004 - 2007 Forest J. Handford