I did do a quick search of this forum, and could not find a discussion concerning power saving approaches.
Having a HTPC running 24/7 is needed, if it is capturing TV shows, or being used frequently. However, it may draw a fair bit of power.
I have a power meter, and used it on my home theatre setup. With the TV (Samsung LN-T40612F), Receiver (JVC RX-6042), and HTPC running, it maxes out around 460 watts draw. Not much you can do about that.
However, with the TV and receiver in standby, and the HTPC just idling, it draw around 160 watts. If I power the HTPC down, it draws around 40 watts. In other words, when idling, the HTPC draws around 120 watts.
In our case, we might watch TV for up to four hours a night. In a typical week, there are at least two nights when we are out, so the average is far less than that. Using the Hydro One usage calculator found at:
and figuring we are averaging 2.5 hours a day watching TV, or 21.5 hours a day with the HTPC just idling, it is costing me $7.75 per month.
The family room HTPC is not used to capture TV shows - I have a second PC in the office dedicated to that purpose. This made sense with the ATI AIW 9600XT and 9800 Pro cards, since they use software encoding. If you tried to watch a show when the PC was capturing a show, it did not go well. Of course, having a Celeron CPU did not help..... I now have an ATI TV Wonder 650, which does hardware encoding on the card, and a P4 3.0Ghz CPU, so system response is no longer an issue. It should be possible to put the two functions onto one PC, but I would still be concerned about system response when watching an HD-DVD or Blu-Ray movie, even with a P4 CPU.
An alternative to all this is a PVR. A friend has the Rogers HD8300 PVR, which was upgraded to a 320Gb internal drive. He put a power meter on it, and found that it was drawing 20 watts in standby, and 30 watts when active recording a show or watching a show.
Going to a PVR could save a fair bit. It would eliminate the second PC for capturing TV. The PVR would also mean that the HTPC could be shut down for a lot of the time. It would not eliminate the HTPC, since the HTPC is also used to watch movies (DVD, HD-DVD, Blu-Ray), and to play games. However, the number of hours it could be shut off is significant. Plus, the PVR would allow capture of shows in hidef, something now possible except for those with an OTA setup.
Does anyone have any stratigies for saving power in their home entertainment systems?