Game consoles are not only energy hogs, they also offer poor video and audio format support and lack features meant to ensure proper playback. The alternative is self-financing.
Energy prices are soaring in Europe and to some extent in other regions. The cost of electricity for an average household in Europe could triple in 2023 compared to 2021, according to some forecasts.
If you use a game console for streaming, you can save money. During HD or 4K video streaming, PlayStation 5 consumes up to 25 times more energy than Chromecast with Google TV and up to 20 times more than Apple TV 4K. Xbox Series X consumes 18 and 14 times more energy, respectively.
The alternative is practically self-financing if you do not own a Smart TV. Depending on where you live (kWh price), a 4K Chromecast with Google TV would be covered by savings to your electricity bill after 1-3 years (for PS5) and Apple TV 4K after 3-5 years (for PS5), assuming 4 hours of streaming daily. You would save money every year after that.
Energy consumption during video streaming
Yearly at 4 hours per day
PlayStation 4 (1. revision)
Xbox Series X
Xbox One S
Apple TV 4K (2nd Gen)
Chromecast with Google TV
PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consume up to 215W and 200W during gaming, respectively, according to FlatpanelsHD's measurements (here and here), but power consumption during gaming is highly variable.
Poor video and audio support
Despite the consoles' much higher power consumption, PlayStation and Xbox do not deliver better streaming quality or user experiences compared to Chromecast and Apple TV 4K – quite the contrary.
Game consoles offer a smaller selection of international apps and especially local apps, and even though Disney+ has finally updated its PS5 app to support 4K HDR other apps still lack support for the best streaming quality. There is no built-in cast function either.
Console apps generally do not support dynamic range matching (HDR/SDR) for video and often force everything into HDR output, resulting in inaccurate color and luminance. Neither PlayStation nor Xbox employ frame rate matching, leading to video stutter for many titles. PS5 does not support Dolby Vision or Dolby Atmos at all.
In comparison Chromecast with Google TV (4K) supports Dolby Vision and Atmos as well as dynamic range matching (HDR/SDR), but not frame rate matching. Apple TV supports all of it across the majority of streaming apps.