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The Energy Saved By Ditching DVDs Could Power 200,000 Homes 339

Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "The environmental benefits of streaming a movie (or downloading it) rather than purchasing a DVD are staggering, according to a new U.S. government study by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. If all DVDs purchased in 2011 were streamed instead, the energy savings would have been enough to meet the electricity demands of roughly 200,000 households. It would have cut roughly 2 billion kilograms of carbon emissions. According to the study, published in Environmental Research Letters, even when you take into account cloud storage, data servers, the streaming device, streaming uses much less energy than purchasing a DVD. If, like me, you're thinking, 'who buys DVDs anymore, anyways?', the answer is 'a lot of people.'" The linked paper is all there, too — not just an abstract and a paywall.
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The Energy Saved By Ditching DVDs Could Power 200,000 Homes

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  • Re:False comparison (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2014 @04:02PM (#47122737)

    But buying the DVD robs you of the opportunity to stare at a "buffering" screen 4 or 5 times randomly throughout the movie... Why would you deny yourself the chance to make your blood pressure surge like that?

  • by David_Hart ( 1184661 ) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @04:28PM (#47122987)

    I assume if you buy or rent from a store you're going to visit anyway, this difference vanishes

    They accounted for that, only 50% of the trip is assumed to be for the DVD.

    You could cycle or walk to the store.

    I rent or buy Blu-ray, not DVD. I do stream every so often. However, the local Redbox, which is within walking distance, is cheaper. I did have Netflix for a while, but they suck for new movies so I dropped them.

    I'm willing to bet that the energy use would reverse if they did the same study using Blu-ray quality bit-rates. The energy used to go to the store to rent would end up being the same (possibly lowed due to higher fuel efficiency) but the streaming energy cost would increase due to the higher amount of data being stored, streamed, etc.

  • by laie_techie ( 883464 ) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @04:51PM (#47123251)

    "The Cloud" is more of a marketing term than a technical description of a specific hosting set up, and different people will use different definitions. You can let them continue the guessing game of which meaning you're using and keep calling them idiots, or you can define the term that you're using.

    To me, "the cloud" is just a buzz word which corresponds roughly to the thin client rage of yesteryear.

  • by RabidReindeer ( 2625839 ) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @05:02PM (#47123403)

    I worked in a shop where circuit breakers were beginning to blow owing to the increasing number of physical boxes running at under 15% capacity.

    Virtualization was obviously the first step, since we'd have more physical rackspace, and less idle hardware pulling power.

    But the problem with virtualization is that if a host box breaks down or one of the virtual guests suddenly gets hungrier, you have to manually reconfigure stuff.

    Cloud software takes care of a lot of that stuff automatically.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"