A new agreement between the US Energy Department, environmental groups, and various technology firms could improve energy efficiency of cable and satellite set-top boxes by 10 to 45 percent by 2017. Experts believe the deal could save up to $1 billion in energy costs annually. The pact doesn't include any binding legislation or regulations that companies must legally adhere to; it's entirely voluntary. But nearly the entire pay-TV industry has already committed to honoring the agreed upon terms. Comcast, DirecTV, Dish Network, Time Warner Cable, AT&T, Verizon, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Cablevision, Bright House Networks, and CenturyLink are the service providers that have signed the agreement. Manufacturers including Cisco, Arris, and EchoStar are also taking part.

"To put that in perspective, this amount of energy savings would eliminate the need for three power plants and prevent 5 million tons of C02 emissions per year," the Energy Department said in a press release. Apparently this can all be achieved without further dragging down performance of set-top boxes, which are already panned as sluggish and unintuitive by many users. “The set-top box is an integral part of the broad, diverse, and often-changing entertainment experience in most American households,” said Gary Shapiro, CEA president.