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Is your Blu-ray player's 'Quick Start' mode an energy hog?

CNET examines the extra power consumption required by Blu-ray players' quick start mode and how much it will cost you over a year.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you've recently purchased a new Blu-ray player, there's a decent chance it has a "Quick Start" mode promising faster boot-up speeds, as low as 5 seconds. The only problem is that quick-start modes always mean increased power consumption, and without an accurate power meter, it's tough to tell whether or not faster start-up speeds are worth the extra juice. We've had a chance to test a couple 2010 models with quick-start modes (and several without), and we have a good sense of exactly how much quick start will cost you.

The short answer is that quick-start modes cost you about $6-$7 a year to use. That number has a lot of built-in assumptions, including an energy cost of 11.55 cents per kilowatt-hour and 10 hours of Blu-ray watching per week. If your energy costs or Blu-ray-viewing habits are different, you can expect different results. However, it's worth pointing out that (somewhat counterintuitively) viewing habits won't change the overall cost very much. That's because quick-start modes only increase power use when the player is turned off, which for most Blu-ray players is the majority of the day.

Though the annual cost doesn't seem like a lot, we were surprised to find out that engaging quick start makes your Blu-ray player more power hungry over the course of a year than if you had used a PS3 Slim instead. Of course, most people will use a PS3 Slim for more than just Blu-ray playback--pushing its total power consumption higher--but it still demonstrates how much of an affect standby power consumption can have.

Luckily, every Blu-ray player with a quick-start mode gives you the option to disable it, and all players we've seen have it disabled by default. In the best case scenario, enabling quick start shaves about 17 seconds off your start-up time; whether or not that extra time is worth the money is up to you.