03.Power hungry TiVo
Most DVRs have three basic settings; on, off and on standby.
When off they should use no power and the best way to ensure this is to turn them off at the wall.
According to the new standard for TVs' energy use, standby should mean the product uses less than one Watt per hour. Most new TVs can manage this and some even get to less than half a Watt per hour.
Unfortunately only a few DVRs we've tested have managed this and many use three Watts per hour or more. In this context the TiVo looks pretty bad because, when put into Standby mode using the menu system, it uses around 23 Watts per hour. This is pretty much what we would expect from a DVR when it's playing back a recording.
Never really in standby
It appears the TiVo never really goes into a standby mode. If you select this option from the menu it turns off the lights on the display and stops sending signal to the TV, but remains active. This isn't all that surprising when you consider that it's primary function is to be constantly monitoring programming and regularly downloading EPG and other information, as well as system upgrades etc..
In fact there isn't a standby button on the remote control. This is a bit annoying because it forces you to go through two menu levels to find it in the onscreen menu system, but since it makes no obvious difference you'd might as well just turn the TV off and leave TiVo to do its thing.
If you're very concerned about the amount of power you use in your home a TiVo may not be for you. If you want one and wish to limit the amount of power it uses, you could turn it off at the wall at night, but this will probably mean a disruption to its normal function.