As rising power prices are even more important than general green-ness right now, any way to cut the power consumption of a home entertainment system is welcome, and TrickleStar's new gizmo is cheap enough to pay for itself before the icecaps melt.
The TV TrickleSaver (and its PC counterpart) works by sensing the drop in power consumption as a TV goes into standby and cutting power to other devices, then doing the opposite when the TV turns on again.
The aim is to reduce the drain from games consoles, amplifiers, digital TV receivers and other devices that might not have a standby mode or don't alter their power consumption much in standby.
It's quite bulky, but has a pleasant Apple-style design, with one cable going to your power socket and two inputs for your master device (the TV) and slave devices – the recommendation being that you connect this to a power strip.
TrickleStar makes a version integrated with a four-way power strip for the USA, and it would be welcome here too.
There are mounting lugs on the back so you can attach it to the wall, next to your power socket and out of harm's way.
The only control is a trimmer dial, which adjusts its sensitivity for TVs that don't reduce their power consumption significantly when in standby.
Our LG and Toshiba TVs were fine with the default setting, but many older LCD and plasma TVs barely reduce their power consumption in standby – and some of the cheaper supermarket TVs aren't very efficient either.
The only drawback– fully explained on the packaging – is that almost all digital TV receivers, whether Sky, Freeview, Freesat or other, need to be left in standby mode when not in use so they can receive software updates overnight. PVRs, of course, have to be in standby to record, and they're often quite power-hungry.
However, you could use the PVR as the master device and totally power-down your TV, saving further. The only feature we'd add would be a power-consumption display (or a log that you could download via USB) to measure your savings, but that would likely push the cost to an unreasonable level.
If your 'leccy bill is a burden this might be worth the small outlay to control your AV gear, and you don't even have to add another remote control to the pile.
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