Learn how to reduce your carbon footprint while bingeing

01 February 2022

Here are a few tips on how to enjoy the video on demand experience without hurting the planet. 

For the past few years, many articles have warned us that watching a limited series might be as harmful to the environment as driving a car. So here are our recommendations on how to enjoy streaming services as an eco-friendly consumer by emitting less CO2. 

1) Lower your video quality

The resolution of most video players is set by default to the highest setting, but lowering the quality doesn’t impact the viewing experience that much, especially if you are watching on your smartphone. Also, remember that TV sets and laptops consume more energy than phones and tablets. If you are the kind of person who has Friends as background noise in order to fall asleep, consider using the lowest video resolution, or the sound-only setting when possible. Even better, install a timer app such as Sleep Timer: it will automatically turn off your phone after a certain amount of time.

2) Use wifi rather than 4G to watch your favourite shows

If you are using 4G instead of wifi to watch a video, you are generating a higher level of CO2 emissions. So don’t be shy, ask for the password! Similarly, when you are using public transport and wifi is available, make sure to connect to the network.

3) Remember to download videos in advance 

If you can’t wait to come back from a trip to watch the next episode of your favourite show, download it ahead of time. That way you won’t have to use 4G if your Airbnb doesn’t have wifi (yes, it’s a thing). Plus, you can watch the best parts over and over without streaming again and again, which would be a waste of energy. And don’t forget to download these episodes on medium or low resolution (see tip number 1), and to delete them when you’re done.

4) You’ve successfully completed dry January? Now try sober February.

If you’ve never heard of digital sobriety, it’s a way to describe more responsible and sustainable practises when you are using digital devices and the internet. So, for a month, why not try and resist the appeal of the autoplay function, leave your phone and laptop outside of the bedroom when you are going to bed, and invite your neighbours over to watch the latest episode of This Is Us together? Trust us, you’ll feel better for it.

Marion Miclet (@Marion_en_VO) is a French-Irish journalist based in London.
She is a series critic for Le Point Pop and the author of Binge Watching New York and Binge Watching London.

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