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How Much Electricity Does it Take to Watch a Movie at Home?

Ever since we wrote a post about our dream home theater system, we’ve been wondering exactly how much electricity our mind-blowing mega-theater would consume to show a movie and how much that electricity might actually cost us. That got us curious about how much electricity the modest home theater of one of our staff writers uses when he watches a movie and how much he might actually be spending on electricity to indulge his inner movie lover.

In order to run this little experiment, we examined the electricity consumption of our movie-buff staff writer’s 65-inch Samsung flat-panel TV, Sony home theater in a box (HTIB), and XBOX 360 game console, since that’s what he uses to play DVDs. Then we compared his setup to the absurdly-awesome dream home theater we recently explored, which included a Ronco 103′ plasma TV, Goldman Blu-ray player, and separate Anthem preamp and amplifier.

To compare the two systems, we made a few assumptions, including the number of movies our staff writer watches on average each week (which turns out to be about three), the average length of a movie (two hours), and the price of electricity (which we set at 10 cents/kWh for the sake of easy math). Just in case you’re wondering, our staff writer’s setup costs about $2,200, while our dream home theater’s price tag is a little north of $160,000.

Our Staff Writer’s System:

Samsung UN65D6000 65-inch LCD TV: 160 W

Sony STR-K850P HTIB: 330 W

Microsoft XBOX 360: 126 W

Total: 616 W

The Math:

(616 W x 2 hours) ÷ 1,000 = 1.232 kWh

1.232 kWh x 10 cents/kWh = 12.32 cents per movie

12.32 cents x 3 movies per week = $19.20 per year

Our Dream System:

Runco PlasmaWall XP-103DHD 103-inch Plasma TV: 1,500 W

Goldmund Eidos 20BD Blu-ray Player: 35 W

Anthem AVM 50v Preamp: 150 W

Anthem MCA 50 Amplifier: 530 W

Total: 2,215 W

The Math:

(2,215 W x 2 hours) ÷ 1,000 = 4.43 kWh

4.43 kWh x 10 cents/kWh = 44.3 cents per movie

44.3 cents x 3 movies per week = $69.10 per year

Our Conclusion

Watching movies at home requires little in the way of electricity expense, but we had no idea exactly how cheap it was until we crunched the numbers. Even watching a movie on the Ferrari of home theater systems still costs less than a trip to the local Redbox.


Anthem, AVM 50v.

Anthem, MCA 50.

Goldmund, Eidos 20BD.

Hardcoreware, Power Usage in Movies.

Runco, Runco PlasmaWall XP-103DHD Display.

U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Estimating Appliance and Home Electronic Energy Use.

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