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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

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

The cost of convenience is quite high.

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!

Eurogamer Newscast: Are CD Projekt's Cyberpunk and Witcher plans too ambitious?Watch on YouTube

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.