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Science And Nature

JUST HOW MUCH Energy Are Your Streaming Media Players Using?

Chromecast in TV.
Cristian Storto/

Streaming TV devicessuch as a Roku or perhaps a Chromecastare plugged in and always ready. Whenever your TV turns off, it uses less power, but think about the streaming devices? Just how much energy do they use?

There are a great number of different streaming devices in lots of sizes and shapes. Some are larger set-top boxes, while some are small streaming sticks. The energy consumption varies by device. Lets see those utilize the most.

RELATED: 7 Roku Features YOU NEED TO BE Using


The planet of streaming devices is vast. Most companies that produce devices in this category have numerous options. We chosen some of the most typical streaming devices you may have.

Another aspect to consider iswhat youre doing with these devices. Streaming a 4K HDR movie from Netflix use more energy than watching a YouTube video. It could be impossible to measure every different thing that can be done with a streaming device, but I tried to obtain a good general measurement.

I used a smart plug to gauge the wattage for a Chromecast Ultra, Chromecast with Google TV, and Roku Ultra. For the Apple TV and Fire TV, I could find sources for the information. (The ~ character denotes an approximate amount.)

Device TV On Idle
Apple TV 4K 3.03-5.58w 0.30w
Chromecast Ultra 1.5-2.0w 1.5w
Fire TV 4K ~4w ~1w
Chromecast with Google TV ~1.0-3.0w 1.0w
Roku Ultra ~3.0-4.5w 3.0w

Theres some pretty interesting data here. Surprisingly, the Chromecast Ultra uses a comparable quantity of energy because the Chromecast with Google TVeven a little more while idle. The Google TV includes a full-blown operating-system, whereas the Ultra is a dongle.

The Apple TV 4K and Roku Ultra have become comparable because the biggest devices of the bunch, but Apples uses hardly any power while idle. The Fire TV 4K was also much like the larger devices.

JUST HOW MUCH Does it Cost?

Lets put some dollar signs on each one of these numbers. Well use an electricity rate of$0.18 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), four hours of active use, and 20 hours of idle time. Heres how it reduces (remember they are estimates):

  • Apple TV 4K: Around $1.44 each year.
  • Chromecast Ultra: Around $2.41 each year.
  • Fire TV 4K: Around $2.36 each year.
  • Chromecast with Google TV: Around $1.83 each year.
  • Roku Ultra: Around $4.87 each year.

Because of the higher idle power usage, the Roku Ultra is by far probably the most expensive of the bunch. Thats also why the Apple TV 4K may be the cheapest, since its idle power usage is quite low. Idle power usage is essential for devices you dont use constantly.

Now, is just about $5 each year to help keep your Roku plugged in at all times a problem? Most likely not. Thats significantly less than $0.50 monthly. Still, its interesting to see just how much power our day to day devices are employing.

THE VERY BEST Streaming Devices of 2022

Best Streaming Device Overall

Roku Streaming Stick 4K (2021)

Best Budget Streaming Device

Fire TV Stick Lite (2020)

Best Roku Streaming Device

Roku Ultra (2020)

Fire TV Stick 4K (2021)

Chromecast with Google TV (2020)


Apple TV 4K (2021)

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