The price you pay to run a smart speaker (TechHive article August 2019)

“Beware, smart speaker users: If you’re using an Amazon Echo or a Google Home to turn on your TV via voice commands, you might be unwittingly doubling the TV’s overall power usage, which could tack on nearly $200 to your electric bill…”

I am glad they have corrected the time frame on their original post (althoughnot the title itself LOL), from one year to 10. Still, that’s a “whopping” $20 per year to add for your convenience, on top of another $10 just to have the smart speaker plugged in. Think about it what you can do with an extra $30! Buy another smart home gadget?!? :smile:

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Wow is that a deceptive article! (I suspect the authors had no idea what The technical issue being discussed actually was).

First, this:

certain smart TVs from the 2017 and 2018 model years

And which TVs are those? Just a few which very inefficiently implemented wake on LAN. It’s the WOL feature which is increasing the power usage, not the smart speaker. And again, only a few specific models. But you would have exactly the same issue if you were automating the TV to turn on in any other WOL way, including from SmartThings.

The issue would not apply if you were turning it on from Echo via Harmony, for example.

It would not apply if you were using Echo to have a robot button pusher pushing the button on the tv itself.

It would not apply if the specific TV model offered some other method for turning it on.

It only applies because those specific models are very inefficient in the way they implemented WOL.


:man_facepalming:t4::rofl::rofl::rofl: Echo devices on average uses a couple of watts which equated to me, less than $.25/month…

I know this because I have over 30 Echo devices and was curious as to how much energy they consumed so I put Iris Smart Plugs on different ones.

I purchased several Echo Subs last year and been actively monitoring it’s energy consumption. My utility rate is .12/kWh so according to my calculations after 259 days I’ve used a whopping 8 kWh for a total cost of .96. :man_shrugging:t5:

Thinking that article is full of BS. :roll_eyes:

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Wow, the subs are really energy efficient. An Echo Show on standby goes between 7 to 12W :smile:

Not exactly, but it is referring to a very specific issue which doesn’t have anything to do with the power draw of the echo itself. You know how we talk about zombie devices, which are ones that draw power even when they are “off”?

OK some smart television models have a “wake on LAN” Which allows them to listen on Wi-Fi for an “on” command even when they appear to be off. Essentially they are in “standby” mode.

The question is how much power does standby mode require compared to actually being off.

And that varies depending on how the manufacturer implements it.

So the study to which the article refers found a few smart television models from the 2017 and 2018 years which are very power inefficient when it comes to their standby mode. And in order to use echo to turn those televisions on, they have to be left in standby mode. So that’s where the Increase in electricity use which they are referring to comes from.

But that’s not how most televisions work, and it’s not the only way to make even those televisions turn on.

So, yes, there are some Smart televisions which, if left in standby mode 24/7, will draw more power than if they are just turned off all the way.

And if you want to use echo with those models and if you want to use the built-in WOL feature, then that probably means leaving it in standby mode all the time.

But the same is true if you want to automate turning them on using WOL from a computer or a Home Automation hub.

The alternative is to use a Harmony hub or similar device that doesn’t use WOL, but uses an IR command Send on demand when you actually want to turn it on. Or use a robot button pusher.

Or at least limit standby mode to the time when you might want to use echo with the television. You could use a smart plug and turn it off completely much of the time if you want.

So A real technical issue, but one which only affects a few people and for which there are alternatives. It doesn’t mean that every echo makes every television use twice as much electricity as it otherwise would, which is what the article implies. :scream:

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All that “extra” electricity used by my TV is heartily laughed at by my 2 A/Cs humming away trying to cool down my house when it’s 115 outside.

While not wrong, the article lacks a little perspective.


I was once schooled about the vampire power, by a friend who was cutting off the power of his TV, yet had a house full of incandescent light bulbs. Talking about perspective.


Well, it’s an online consumer tech publication, so it should automatically be taken with a huge grain of salt. In addition to the other problems, the cited annual cost is based on some assumptions about electricity costs that are certainly not universal. Assuming I experienced exactly the increased power usage described in the report it would cost me about $11 extra per year. That works out to almost exactly 3 cents per day. I think I can live with that.