Published On: May 6, 2013

What Happens When Your HDTV Finally Dies?

Published On: May 6, 2013
Last Updated on: October 31, 2020
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What Happens When Your HDTV Finally Dies?

Eventually, all things die, even televisions. Once your television finally gives in, you have to wonder about what do with it. Do you fix it? If not, how do you go about getting rid of it? Here's a few ideas.

What Happens When Your HDTV Finally Dies?

Dead-TV-small.jpgIt has happened to me, and I didn't handle the situation correctly. A few years ago, my beloved Panasonic 50-inch pro-model plasma stopped working. Back when we did the installation, we fit the TV and its side-mounted speakers into a niche in the wall so that it had that flush-mounted look. Remember, this was long before the uber-thin form factor you see in today's HDTVs. When the TV went on the fritz, I called up a trusted repair shop near the offices in West Los Angeles called George Meyer. These guys came over with a small truck and removed my calibrated $4,500 HDTV from the wall and took it back to their shop to diagnose the problem. The repair was going to cost me about $600, and I said yes.

Additional Resources
• Read more original content like this in our Feature News Stories section.
• See more news in our Plasma HDTV, LED HDTV, and LCD HDTV news sections.
• Explore reviews in our HDTV Review section.

Saying yes was my mistake. Not only was I forced to go without a TV for about two weeks, but the extra $600 invested in an old 1080i HDTV was a waste, regardless of how well-calibrated it was or how perfectly the speakers fit in the niche. Today's HDTVs are simply better - they are brighter, thinner, more energy-efficient and more features-laden. Fellow audio/video reviewer Geoff Morrison (CNET, Sound + Vision, etc.) mentioned to me in a recent conversation that he was wrapping up a review of the latest mid-priced Panasonic ST Series plasma that outperformed the VT Series from just last year. (By the way, Adrienne Maxwell is reviewing the TC-P60ST60 as I write this, so stay tuned for her impressions.) We both were drooling over the performance specs of Panasonic's new ZT Series plasma (soon to be released and likely to be purchased by me). Simply put, new HDTVs are better in every way. If somebody wants to hang on to a Pioneer KURO for nostalgia's sake or overpay for a used one on, good for him or her ... but it's a mistake. When an HDTV breaks, replace it. Even many of the cheapie units are really good these days, and the higher-end TVs are even better if you can justify the investment.

To feel better about saying goodbye to your old HDTV, do some simple math. What did you pay for your old set? (Yes, I really spent $4,500 on the old Panny; that's what they cost back then, and that was from the local distributor, not retail.) Then divide it by the number of years you owned it. I spent $4,500 plus $600 to repair the TV, and I sold it for $600 used. So, $4,500 divided into six years equals $750 per year or $62.50 per month. The set had lots of hours on it, so the cost per hour of enjoyment was pretty affordable. All in all, this HDTV not only provided me cutting-edge performance in the day but offered long-term value over its lifespan. Could I have kept it longer? Absolutely, and the amortization of the TV would have given me more and more value - as I'm getting from the identical set in my master bedroom. However, for $2,999, I was able to replace the old TV with a very thin, edge-lit LED from Samsung that was a whopping 15 inches larger and could cover the entire niche that I built. The new set had a 1080p resolution, came loaded with apps like CinemaNow and worked better in a room with more ambient light. The truth was that I needed a new HDTV, not a repair on an old one.

Once you get over the emotional issue of saying bye-bye to your old television, there is a new-school issue to consider: what the hell to do with the old one when you're done with it? You are not being a Sierra Club hippie if you consider the impact of your HDTV in a trash dump. E-waste, as it is called, is a major concern, be it an old printer, used-up batteries, hard drives, old RAM or, most emphatically, old CRT or big-screen HDTVs. The amount of truly poisonous material in your old televisions is scary. Thankfully, a number of recycling options now exist for you and/or your dealer/installer to ensure that you are being a good citizen of the world and disposing of your e-waste correctly. Best Buy has a pretty open-arm policy toward e-waste, as does office retailer Staples. That's a safe place to start for most people who live in the United States. Local fire departments and even schools are starting to have e-waste events where you can bring in your old gear and have it treated properly. Here in Los Angeles, if you are willing to take a drive to the "poop plant" (as I call it) down by LAX, there is a hazardous waste collections area where you can hand over all sorts of crazy solvents, computers, monitors, paint and whatever else you have around your house that isn't healthy to have around your house, to be responsibly recycled. There are guys dressed up in haz-mat suits loading pallets of old Macs and Dell PCs into a Tetris-like stack of Jurassic technology. It looks like a scene out of season two of 24, but I was able to clear a lot of nasty products out of my house at no meaningful cost, knowing that it wasn't going into the dump or the water table. The Consumer Electronics Association has a website,, where you can search for local recycling centers, among other helpful services.

When the time comes to put your old TV down, know that there are a growing number of ways to do it with minimal impact on the environment. Also, for not too much more money than the cost of a repair, you are going to get a bigger, better, more feature-rich set that, when professionally calibrated, is going to provide years and years of improved performance. It's a good time to be a home theater enthusiast and a video consumer.

Additional Resources
• Read more original content like this in our Feature News Stories section.
• See more new
s in our Plasma HDTV, LED HDTV, and LCD HDTV news sections.
• Explore reviews in our HDTV Review section.

  • ls1115
    2013-05-30 22:52:24

    Money is just too short!!

  • ls1115
    2013-05-30 22:48:46

    In many cases, that's right. Eight years ago, I picked up an unboxed 32" Sony Bravia LCD set from the "refused" bin at CompUSA. At about $350, it was quite a bargain in those days (32" flat panels went for about $500 then). There was really nothing wrong with it, probably a case of owner's ignorance. The TV has been providing excellent performance since then at its original setting: breakfast/lunch area at my home. Earlier this year, its power board started malfunctioning. It would burn the fuse a few minutes after powering up. I downloaded the set's service manual and found a used power board on eBay for $46.00 with shipping. Replacing the plug-on board took me about 15 minutes and the TV has continued to work perfectly. Sure, the tuner is analog, but the DISH receiver connected through its one HDMI jack (a $35 HDMI switch from Monoprice multiplied this by 3) features an OTA antenna connection for local stations, so nothing is missing. Gotta love eBay!

  • Jake
    2013-05-17 18:16:39

    What Happens When Your HDTV Finally Dies? It goes to TV heaven.

  • jerrydel
    2013-05-15 23:28:37

    I want 10 bit color from UHD!!! How great is that going to be

  • jerrydel
    2013-05-13 01:47:00

    I sold the TV for $500 after spending $600-ish to fix it. A foolish move. New TVs are way better as I learned with the 8000 series Samsung that I bought.

  • Oldmaven
    2013-05-11 04:39:42

    That implies you can afford a replacement. Sometimes (despite the fact that you can probably get the equivalent for less or get a better unit for the original one's price), you can't.

  • ed marks
    2013-05-10 23:01:36

    i have a wd62525 and 52525 in Cleveland akron ohio area, make you a great deal and a few bulbs, board went but do admit they had an awesome pic for a 720p display

  • cawgijoe
    2013-05-10 18:05:08

    The problem is most folks have a hard time letting go of an old TV. TV sets are very stable products and should last for many years. If you can get eight to ten years out of one, that's great. As has already been stated, by the time you get around to repairing your old set, the technology has improved, the picture is much better, and the set is bigger and cheaper! Life is just too short.

  • Harry Harty
    2013-05-10 15:11:30

    If you had not placed the set in the wall, it possibly would still be working. Heat from the enclosed space killed it!

  • MichaelGJK
    2013-05-09 05:25:53

    I'm sorry, but the "simple math" doesn't add up. Repairing the old TV instead of replacing it would be considerably less expensive over time and a lot better for the environment. Why bother talking about recycling the TV at all? Actually, from the way this article is written it isn't clear if the TV was "sold for $600 used" or whether it was recycled. Some clarification is warranted on both points.

  • Bob Blanchette
    2013-05-08 11:01:10

    Exactly why I got out of the TV repair business!!!

  • ron
    2013-05-08 04:27:45

    That's what you get for being an early adopter and overpaying.

  • josephazar
    2013-05-08 03:48:28

    Why would anyone with a Panny Pro want LCD or LED? I cannot imagine it.

  • Mark Lawless
    2013-05-07 23:58:48

    It's true. I would swear both of the ones I have worked on look better than a new one would and I question if the LCDs today look any better. I have an older toshiba that sometimes the picture looks so true to life it's amazing but the Mitsubishi I have has enhanced gamma etc that makes it look better than life, both have their place I guess. Most TVs today do go the route of the enhanced colors, at least as it appears to me.

  • jerrydel
    2013-05-07 22:45:05

    I hear the cleaning process can provide a REALLY NICE upgrade for little to no cost. Same with older projectors.

  • jerrydel
    2013-05-07 22:44:28

    You are a good man. Some day you will be paid back in an unexpected good deed (that sounds like a quote from a fortune cookie but you get the idea)

  • jerrydel
    2013-05-07 22:43:23

    I can't tell you how many people ask me about repairs. A very tech savvy friend of mine has a broken 60 inch Kuro and she called me for advice Sunday night. She's getting the ZT Panny that I have on order but has to wait.

  • jerrydel
    2013-05-07 22:40:43

    The author recently tried to fix his Maytag washer and even with the help of a You Tube video - he wasted his VERY valuable time. Lesson learned. I sell ads and write copy better than fixing appliances. I know I might have been able to do it but I likely would screw it up somehow anyway!! :)

  • jerrydel
    2013-05-07 22:39:13

    No in LA the poop plant is called the Hyperion Water Treatment Plant but I get your point. You must have read some of my political posts on

  • jerrydel
    2013-05-07 22:37:58

    See points above. 1080p is better than 1080i but there are even more reasons to buy a set today.

  • jerrydel
    2013-05-07 22:37:12

    I agree with you in calling a top dealer. They will know and even if you can get something somewhere "cheaper" the dealing with the little details is very worth it. Most people wouldn't get hyped over 1080i vs. 1080p but they might like a bigger, better, brighter HDTV with new apps, better interface and so on. Perhaps an AppleTV, Roku etc... There's lots of new goodies. New form factors too. Better power consumption. Simply put - a pro salesman can make his or her case for why you need to replace your old set with a new one.

  • Mark Lawless
    2013-05-07 21:30:17

    I probably have the same 65" mit but I changed the bulb went in and cleaned everything, and have to replace the Mirror chip. 100-200 dollars. But the TV looks better today than it ever did. Something to be said for DLP technology. I don't have an LCD yet. 4 dlps over 60 inches though. They are fun to buy cheap and fix up to better than new. Clean the lenses, color wheel etc. replace the bulb tune up the colors and bam you have a great looking tv with very fast refresh rate.

  • Kinsey6
    2013-05-07 20:11:44

    Isn't this the "poop plant" named after George Bush?? (If not, it should be)

  • John Stewart
    2013-05-07 18:59:41

    You know, it's not that hard to repair these sets. Best of all, there's no high voltage section retaining a charge for hours (or even days) after unplugging the set. What's especially sad in this situation is that the author had a working duplicate in his bedroom. Even if he had no idea what the individual boards did, he could have simply swapped them one-at-a-time to determine which board was bad. Then go to eBay, or your preferred source, and look for the same board. I went through this last year with my Sharp, and the total cost was under $150! The only reason to trash a TV now is if the display itself suffers damage.

  • Guest
    2013-05-07 17:01:23

    No need for all this talk! you go buy a new tv they are cheap and getting cheaper all time. BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!

  • FairySac
    2013-05-07 16:47:08

    It was hard to justify dumping my perfectly working 65" 1080i Mitsu RPTV, that I paid $5k for, back in 1999. I got a deal on an 80" 1080p Sharp LED, for $3450 last year, which cleared up valuable floor space. I was waiting for it to die, or at least need some repairs, but it never gave me a lick of problems. I gave it away to one of my wife's co-workers, who couldn't believe I just gave them a huge cool TV.

  • Jake Tweedy
    2013-05-07 16:19:53

    You are one of those... do you know what the letter after the 1080 means? If you did, you wouldn't have made this comment.

  • Ethan
    2013-05-07 16:01:02

    you mention the old TV was 1080i and the new one is 1080p as if there's a difference. Last I checked, 1080 = 1080.

  • Victor Ciccarone
    2013-05-07 15:29:43

    Putting money into a 1080i TV is a bad as putting money into a PRO LOGIC Receiver because one channel just went out. With a professional AV Integration Company like Emersive Audio/Video llc we would have coemout and looked at the situation and explained that that would be a waste of money and we would have dug deep thorugh out many brands to find a new 1080p TV plasma or LED that would have fit that opening as closely as possible. We encounter this quite often now with older sets going bad andn when the repair isnt worth it we advise the client on what to do. I have had several client that weve taken in a TV for reapir then while its on the bench they call and ask us to quote a new TV just so they have a back up plan. Once we disscuss the cost of a repair in most cases they buy a new TV and we either get a new model that fits where the old one was or we do some custom work to make th enew install look better then the old install! Anyone in this delema that doesent understand the technology needs to educate them self via an honest AV installation firm. We all do out best to help educate the client before they throw money into the fire! At leaset I hope we all do I know thats one of the factors we get repeat customers becasue we are her to help people!

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