Carbon emissions of streaming and digital terrestrial television

28 October 2022

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing society and consequently is at the forefront of the agenda for companies, policy makers, and wider society. While we do not have a formal role to consider the environmental sustainability of the sectors we regulate under our statutory framework, we recognise the importance of understanding the contextual factors which drive decision making for our stakeholders.

Audiences are accessing TV content in their homes over a range of different platforms now. Traditional scheduled services continue to be broadcast over Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT), Cable and Satellite networks, but viewing on these platforms has been complemented with greater viewing of streamed TV over the internet. In recent years there have been a range of claims that different technologies for TV distribution are more or less energy efficient. In order to better understand the dynamics, we have commissioned a report from Carnstone on the energy consumption of two technologies: DTT and over-the-top streaming services (OTT) served by fixed access networks.

This report takes a snapshot of energy consumption of viewing on both platforms today, rather than judging which has the potential to be more energy efficient in the future. Our goal was to develop an understanding of what factors are most significant in driving the energy consumption of the respective platforms.

Ofcom's covering statement (PDF, 113.7 KB)

Download the Carbon emissions of streaming and digital terrestrial television report (PDF, 785.1 KB)