We were in Tesco the other day, doing our weekly food shop, and a power extension block caught my eye.  Not because it had a million sockets on it or because it had flashy packaging, but because it seemed to be in the wrong place.  The shelf monkeys at Tesco had displayed them opposite the yoghurts.  So, I thought to myself, what’s so special about these extension blocks that warrants them being put so blatantly on show?

To my surprise, I found it was a clever invention that was recently on BBC’s Dragons’ Den, and which looked to be an amazing piece of brilliance.  The Standby-Saver looks much like an ordinary multi-way extension block, with six sockets and a white plastic case.  What wasn’t quite so familiar was the infra-red receiver and its claim to be ‘green’.  So I bought it, and installed it, and set it up, and found myself unable to contain my delight, hence this post.

The principle of the Standby-Saver is this: using your existing remote controls it can physically turn off up to six devices that would ordinarily be on standby, with the option of having two of those six on permanently instead.  So, to take our example, we have the TV, aerial, VCR and DVD player plugged into the Standby-Saver.  All but the TV would ordinarily stay on standby because they don’t have physical off buttons, so unless you pull the TV out and go fumbling around amongst the mass of cables to try to unplug them they all stay on standby, their little red LEDs lighting up the corner of the room at night.  I have programmed the Standby-Saver to respond to the power button on the TV’s remote.  When I press that button, the TV goes on standby, as you’d expect, but the signal is also picked up by the Standby-Saver, and a few seconds later it turns off everything plugged into it.  Press it again, and everything powers back on again.  Genius.

I wouldn’t call myself a green-freak, but I do my bit where I can, and this has been something that’s been bugging me for ages.  Leaving all those devices on standby every night is a shameful waste of electricity, and now the Standby-Saver has solved my problem by making it quick and easy to turn them off completely.  I think it’s a fantastic idea, well executed, great value for money (currently £20 at Tesco), and an enormous weight off my mind.

And no, I’m not being paid by Standby-Saver to say all this.  I just think it’s a marvellous invention, the creator needs a medal, and you should all go out and buy one.  Or two.  Or several.


Phill · 15 October 2008 at 4:07 pm

Sounds like a good idea. Although we currently leave all our TV style equipment (TV, DVD player, Freeview box, Hi-Fi) turned off when we don’t use them.

I.e., overnight we switch it all of at the wall, because they’re on the same power strip it’s just one switch.

Once you’re in the habit of turning it off, it’s easy to do and you save yourself £20 😉

Matthew · 15 October 2008 at 4:56 pm

Phill, you are indeed in the fortunate position of being able to reach the off switch at the wall, so this probably wouldn’t help you much! But for us, turning it off at the wall is so much hassle that we only ever bother when we’re going away on holiday.

Hertzsprung · 26 October 2008 at 8:50 pm

What’s the deal with people turning stuff off when they go on holiday? People trust their electronics not to catch fire left unattended every day from 9 till 5. And what about the fridge? Is this appliance somehow immune to the evils of spontaneous electrical combustion? No one ever suspects the refrigerator!

Phill · 29 October 2008 at 5:44 pm

Michael McIntyre 🙂

Hertzsprung · 1 November 2008 at 10:40 pm

Phill: bah, rumbled! 😉

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