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Before you start your marathon, choose the right streaming device.

The North remembers, but how’s your memory of who’s alive, who has messed up, and where the dragons are? Whether you’re just rusty or have never watched Games of Thrones, you may be tempted to binge-watch every season in advance of the Season 8 opener on April 14. For the record, a single sitting would take you two days, 15 minutes to digest seasons 1 to 7… if you never hit the pause button to eat, sleep, or use the washroom. In the end, that’s a lot of streaming, even if you take on the series at a three-hours-per-night clip for 21 straight days.

Not a Game of Thrones fan? At that same 3-hours-a-night rate, it’ll take you 27 days to watch all of Homeland, 28 days to watch The Sopranos. And if you want to laugh your way through all 30 seasons of The Simpsons, you’re looking at three and half months.

Just for fun, take a look at the longer binge-timing list of popular TV series at the bottom of this story. But first, let’s talk energy efficiency.

Choose your weapon: PS4? Apple TV? Smart TV?

Generally speaking, electronics manufacturers have done a nice job of increasing efficiency in their products. But did you know there’s a huge difference between the most- and least-efficient ways to stream video?

Ruling the Kingdom of the Efficient – at least in the world of TV watching - is a Smart TV that carries the ENERGY STAR® label and allows you to stream directly from the likes of Netflix via built-in access or an easy-to-download app. If your TV isn’t smart, you’ll need to link it up to a streaming device – and that’s where the big gulf in energy use occurs.

Stream via Apple TV, and seasons 1 to 7 of Game of Thrones will cost you – based on BC Hydro’s rates – a paltry 2.5 cents in energy costs. Stream through your PS4, on the other hand, and it’ll cost you 30 times more.

OK, you did the math, and even with the PS4, that’s only about 63 cents. But you’re not just using your PS4 to watch Game of Thrones, and that game console is just one of many devices in the home that use power, so bit by bit, that energy use adds up. The Canadian Internet Registration Authority found that in 2018, more than half of B.C. households had five or more Internet-connected devices in the home, and one study found that 6% of households were using 15 or more devices.

So while streaming all seven seasons of Game and Thrones may seem a drop in the bucket, it represents a small fraction of your energy use.

Average streaming costs for five hours a day per year:

  • Smart TV: $7.97

  • Roku + TV energy use: $8.40

  • Apple TV + TV: $8.75

  • XBox + TV: $21.97

  • PS4 + TV: $26.05

  • Microsoft Surface Pro laptop: $3.80

On the move? Tablets use very little energy

Some of us binge-watch during our daily commutes, either on a phone (or for better viewing) on a tablet. If you thought the energy use above was negligible, consider that streaming all of Game of Thrones on an Apple iPad will cost you 1.3 cents. And smartphones use even less power.

The binge list: From Downton Abbey to The Simpsons, and everything in between

Here’s a sampling of a few popular TV shows, and how many days it would take to watch them at three-hours-a-night.

  • Downton Abbey: 19 days

  • The Wire: 20 days

  • Game of Thrones: 21 days

  • Breaking Bad: 21 days

  • Six Feet Under: 21 days

  • Homeland: 27 days

  • The Sopranos: 28 days

  • Seinfeld: 30 days

  • Friends: 40 days

  • Big Bang Theory: 45 days

  • Doctor Who: 46 days

  • The West Wing: 51 days

  • The X-Files: 73 days

  • The Simpsons: 109 days


Who do you think will rule the Seven Kingdoms?

New Game of Thrones is almost here!

  • Daenerys Targaryen
  • Queen Cersei Lannister
  • The Whitewalkers
  • Jon Snow
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