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EU publishes eco-design measure on power consumption of set-top boxes

February 6, 2009

Electrical appliance manufacturers and importers should be aware that on February 4, 2009, the European Union published Regulation (EC) 107/2009 which purports to improve the environmental performance of simple set-top boxes (SSTBs). The Regulation, which will imposes maximum power consumption levels starting in 2010, has been elaborated under the framework Directive 2005/32/EC on ecodesign requirements for energy-using products (the EuP Directive).

The Regulation on SSTBs aims to reduce the energy consumption of devices which are used to convert free-to-air digital TV signals to analog output signals suitable for TV sets commonly used in EU households. As such, this Regulation will affect manufacturers of SSTB's that manufacture such products for sale in the EU. Due to the ongoing transition from analog to digital broadcasting, the sales and associated energy consumption of SSTBs are anticipated to increase substantially in the forthcoming years.

The Regulation lays down rules for maximum power consumption levels in two stages (applicable February 24, 2010 and February 24, 2012, respectively). These ecodesign requirements are set out in Annex I. The maximum power consumption levels are differentiated according to the SSTBs' operating mode (i.e. active mode or standby mode) and to the function or service they provide (i.e. decoding of SD or HD signals, an integrated hard disk, a second tuner, and a display function in standby mode). Furthermore, from February 24, 2010, all SSTBs must provide standby modes and an "automatic power down" function.

Under the verification procedure laid out in Annex II, EU Member State authorities must test one single unit - which will be considered to comply with the provisions of the Regulation if it does not exceed the power consumption limit values by more than 10% (or if the power consumption is ≤ 1,00 W, the unit must not exceed the limit values by more than 0,10 W).

In order to facilitate compliance checks, manufacturers must ensure that technical documentation contains the following elements, as laid out in Annex I (6) of the Regulation:

(a) For standby and active modes:

  • The power consumption data in Watts rounded to the second decimal place including consumption data for the different additional functions and/or components
  • The measurement method used
  • Period of measurement
  • Description of how the appliance mode was selected or programmed
  • Sequence of events to reach the mode where the equipment automatically changes modes
  • Any notes regarding the operation of the equipment

(b) Test parameters for measurements:

  • Ambient temperature
  • Test voltage in V and frequency in Hz
  • Total harmonic distortion of the electricity supply system
  • The fluctuation of the power supply voltage during the tests
  • Information and documentation on the instrumentation, set-up and circuits used for electrical testing
  • Input signals in RF (for digital terrestrial broadcasts) or IF (for satellite broadcasts)
  • Audio/video test signals as described in the MPEG-2 transport stream
  • Adjustment of controls

If EU Member State authorities discover the existence of non-compliant SSTBs on the market, they are entitled to oblige the manufacturer or its authorized representative to recall these non-compliant products (and prohibit their future placing on the market until compliance is established). If this happens, the party concerned must be informed of the legal remedies available in the Member State concerned.

Companies and associations interested in viewing the Regulation should click here.

For more information, please contact the professional(s) listed below, or your regular Crowell & Moring contact.

Elliott P. Laws
Partner – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1.202.624.2798