How Much Does It Actually Cost to Binge Your Favorite Shows?

How Much Does It Actually Cost to Binge Your Favorite Shows?

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Melissa Massello
Dec 9, 2017
(Image credit: lofilolo/Shutterstock)

One of my worst travel pet peeves is binge-watching shows on my iPad or laptop — after taking all the time to download them before heading out the door — and then having the battery run out right at the most climactic moment. But what if you could strategize which types of shows to stream or download based on how much energy they expend, and how much electricity it takes to watch them?

We talk a lot about how much streaming services and favorite shows cost to access or download, but it's time we huddle up and talk about just how much energy we're expending to catch up on some of the most popular show categories. Not just the opportunity cost of all those hours of our time, there's the actual cost in electricity to binge-watch your favorite shows streamed to your TVs or downloaded to your devices.

(Image credit: Crescent Electric)

Crescent Electric just put together a study on how much binge-watching adds to your electric bill. They totaled up the costs for things like watching the entirety of Strangers Things, The Bachelor, Friends, and more. Did you know it's going to cost you ten times as much in electricity/battery to binge watch every episode ever of The Real World versus bingeing every episode ever of Game of Thrones, for starters?

(Image credit: Crescent Electric)

In the study, the Crescent Electric team looked at all of the different factors that go into streaming, including both the cost to power the streaming device and to power the internet router. First, they chose one of Amazon's most popular Smart TVs, found its power consumption, calculated the total consumption for each show based on the run time, then found the cost by using the average electricity rate in the United States ($0.12). The same methodology was used to find the cost to power a common WiFi router for the duration of each show, and those costs were compiled to get the cost per show binge.

Reality TV binges were the costliest, ranging from $4.87 in electricity to binge every Bachelorette ever to $20.01 for every Real World ever. Cartoons ($8.11 in electricity for every Simpsons ever) and Sitcoms ($3.55 for every Cheers ever) were the second most expensive, and the cheapest (aka most sustainable?) shows for binge-racing were Popular TV Shows ($2.16 in electricity for every GoT ever), Popular Movie Franchises ($0.94 for every Bond movie ever), and Sports ($0.26 for the entire World Series).

Check out all of the charts by show category over on Imgur.

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