Netflix ‘greener’ than watching films on DVD say US scientists

Streaming films could have saved 2 billion kg of CO2 emissions in the US during 2011 say researchers

TV series like Ricky Gervaise's Derek are now available exclusively on Netflix (Pic: Netflix)

TV series like Ricky Gervaise’s Derek are now available exclusively on Netflix (Pic: Netflix)

Carbon conscious film buffs should catch their favourite flicks on the internet rather than DVD say US scientists.

They calculate that streaming movies on channels like Netflix is better for the environment, uses less energy and results in lower levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Researchers from Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory and Northwestern University calculated that if all DVD viewing moved online in 2011, 2 billion kg of CO2 emissions could have been avoided.

“Our study suggests that equipment designers and policy makers should focus on improving the efficiency of end-user devices and network transmission energy to curb the energy use from future increases in video streaming,” said Arman Shehabi from LBNL.

“Such efficiency improvements will be particularly important in the near future, when society is expected to consume far greater quantities of streaming video content compared to today.”

In the study, published in the Environmental Research Letters journal, the researchers say  the amount of energy saved could power 200,000 US households. This includes emissions from travel to and from DVD stores.

One hour of video streaming requires 7.9 megajoules (MJ) of energy, compared to as much as 12 MJ for traditional DVD viewing, and emits 0.4 kg of CO2, compared to as much as 0.71 kg of CO2 for DVD viewing.

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