How long will your flat screen TV last?

According to Kioskea.net:

Most LCD/Plasma TVs last for a few years before problems such as loss of color, brightness, black spots begin to show. The life expectancy of an LCD/LED TV can be between 4 to 10 years

      [Emphasis mine]

depending on usage and maintenance as well as other factors such as type, brand, location and environment.

Branded TVs from multinational companies such as Sony, Samsung or LG tend to last longer as the hardware components used in the TVs are more expensive and thus more reliable.

In general, the life expectancy of an LCD or LED TV is a few years after the expiration of the warranty.

Unnecessary upgrades

Have you ever noticed that, when you upgrade to a newer, flashier version of an old item, there’s always a catch?

Cassettes to CDs: Like when we all upgraded from cassettes to CDs. We were all rushing so fast to do so – do you remember? It actually took a while for us to figure out that, with DVDs, you couldn’t record any more.

The old days of recording from the radio were gone. Just like that.

VHS to DVDs and Blu-Ray: And when we all upgraded from our perfectly functional but suddenly very untrendy VHS tape players (or even – gasp! – Beta!) to those shiny, sleek new DVD players and then Blu-Rays.

Do you remember being shown ads about how indestructible DVDs were, and how they’d never scratch? I do!

It took us a while (again!) to figure out that (again!) you couldn’t tape off the TV with DVDs or Blu-Rays. The old days of recording your favourite TV shows were gone. Just like that.

As for the scratching, if you’re like me you’ve bought brand-new DVDs that don’t even work properly.

Another hunk of junk unnecessary – TiVo:And as for the recording, you can do it now with those TiVo machines, but you’ve got to buy a whole NEW machine to do it. More cash out. Clever huh?

Planned obsolescence? – XBox 360:Then there’s those games machines. My son wants an XBox. Of course he does. He’s nine. What nine year old doesn’t want an XBox.

But they’re designed to fail. Heard of the Red Ring Of Death? Here – read all about it. And you might decide, like we did, not to buy an XBox.

red-ring-of-death-02

Planned obsolescence is all around us. We just have to be smart enough to see it. And sometimes, to see it, we have to be really, really smart. Often we don’t see it until long after the horse has bolted and we have our new gizmo and the old gizmo it unnecessarily replaced is long since gone to the landfill.

Don’t be an “early adopter”.

As for those old TVs, they had a few advantages.

They were childproof. I have two friends whose young children have smashed the screens of their flat screens.

They were earthquake-safe. I’ve still got my old clunker TV. I don’t own a flat screen. And I’m telling you there is nothing short of World War Three that will move that thing. It weighs a ton!

They were thief-proof. Televisions were nowhere as easy to steal when they were the box-type. They were just too heavy to lift and move. Nowadays the flat screens are a hot burglary item – just ask my friend who lost his to thieves on the weekend 😦

They had a lot longer life expectancy. We have two box TVs in our house. The one in my bedroom is a hand-me-down from my parents, and is about a decade old. Still in perfect condition. The other (pictured) is a hand-me-down from a friend when she “upgraded” to a flat screen. I bartered it for a bag of our sausages from our sheep. I think I won on the deal, don’t you? But it’s at least seven years old, and going strong.

My old box TV. I received it for a bag of sausages in barter a few years ago - a great deal!

My old box TV. I received it for a bag of sausages in barter a few years ago – a great deal!

Being an early adopter means you might look cool (to people who actually care about such things), but you’re paying for it. It’s up to you to decide what is worth it and when. And we’ve all been shafted. Sometimes – like with DVDs and CDs, and even flat screen TVs – society pushes us along whether we want to be pushed or not.

Newer items have shorter life expectancies

As the quote from Kioskea at the top of this post suggests, flat screen TVs have a life expectancy between 4 and 10 years. So if yours is a few years old, expect to be replacing it pretty soon.

This is the case with pretty much everything, by the way. The newer the item, the shorter the life expectancy. If you want to save money, buy old, and keep old.

But if you’re in the market for a replacement TV, I’d strongly suggest getting a box TV if you can. Check secondhand sales such as EBay and TradeMe. Even the dump is loaded with perfectly good sets. To be honest, can you really pick a difference in picture quality when you’re watching a classic movie from the 1960s in black and white, or your kids’ favourite song and dance group? And do you care? I can’t and don’t.

I’ll stick with my old clunkers until they really do die. And then I’m not sure if I’ll bother with a TV at all 🙂

There’s never anything worth watching anyway!

11 thoughts on “How long will your flat screen TV last?

    • I’ve been a victim too. I used to buy Palm Pilots – and I worked out that, over a decade, I owned SIX models. Crazy!

      These days I’m a VERY late adopter, and don’t upgrade until something I own actually fails.

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  1. I’ve never had a flat screen TV – when I had a TV, it was very much like yours. It had an inbuilt DVD player and video player too. I got it cheap because people weren’t using videos any more, and people were getting flat screen TVs. I would buy very cheap second-hand videos from charity shops (everyone was getting rid of their videos and buying DVDs). I found I rarely watched TV though, so I got rid of it after 7 years, and I don’t miss it at all – here in the UK, we have to pay a yearly TV licence if we have a TV, so it was a waste of money. Lots of TV shows can be watched later on the internet, for free – and my laptop has a flat screen, so then I guess it’s like watching a flat screen TV. 🙂

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  2. We only changed our tv to a flat screen one at the end of the year and when we took our old one to the tip (that’s where they end up!) the manager said he hadn’t seen one of them for ages! I like the idea of being a ‘Late Adopter’ – as opposed to being an ‘Early Adopter’.

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  3. I think with a lot of new goods the very first version of them is likely to be the worst as it is new technology and the later versions will be better as problems will have been ironed out and this is what I am waiting for with some technologies. I once heard someone say that with many inventions people put out the MVP – that’s minimum viable product – and THEN add in extras and work on improving it and I completely agree that this is pretty much how all technology works these days – we are given the MVP first and the improved version much later.
    Regarding TV’s…I have heard a lot of people talking about switching to projectors as apparently the quality is becoming much improved now, I would like to research this myself before we invest any money but I think it is likely to be the direction we go in as it would serve as computer screen and television for us.

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    • I haven’t even considered projectors, but I’ve heard they’re meant to be quite good, and theoretically there would be less to go wrong with them.

      I know eventually my old box TV will die, and I’m not looking forward to it. If it were just me, I’d do without, but the kids like to watch DVDs, so I’ll probably have to replace it with something. I think I’ll probably be a cheapskate and go secondhand when that happens 😉

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