PSA: Avoid your console apps for video streaming if you can

Picture this. You just finished up a session of Overwatch 2 with the squad, and now it’s time to chill with some Netflix.

Sure, you could use the built-in app on your Smart TV, or switchover to your Chromecast, but that’s a lot of effort.

Both Sony and Microsoft have been kind enough to include all your favorite media apps, including a native Disney+ app on PS5 at last!

But the cost of that convenience is higher than you might think. Game consoles are great at running games, but they also hog a lot of energy. And as much of Europe faces the double whammy of high inflation and an energy crisis, that extra consumption can cost you quite a bit.

Analysis from FlatpanelsHD found that video streaming on a PlayStation 5 consumes up to 25 times more energy than a Chromecast, while an Xbox Series X consumes up to 18 times more.

To put those figures into watts, the PS5 and Xbox Series X consumes up to 80 W and 57 W respectively when video streaming, compared to just 3.2 W on a Chromecast or 4 W on an Apple TV.

You can also get a poorer streaming experience – even with that extra energy use. Video output is often forced to HDR, regardless of whether the content supports it. Neither the PS5 or Xbox Series X/S employ frame rate matching, which can lead to video stutter, while the PS5 lacks any support for Dolby Vision or Atmos.

So do yourself, your wallet and the planet a favour and go the extra step by switching off your console and using your TV’s built-in app if you can. And if you don’t have a Smart TV, picking up a dongle like the Chromecast or Fire TV stick may save you money in the long run.