A lot of fuss has been made about the DTV transition from analog television to an all-digital system. Transition dates have been postponed amidst political debate. Coupons for converter boxes famously ran out to screams by some of foul play. Even the most enthusiast supporters of the conversion admit the logistics of the program have been difficult and in many ways could leave older Americans without their window to the world, even if that window is a standard definition one brought to them via a rabbit ear antenna attached to a 30 year old television.
There are a lot of reasons for consumers from the Greatest Generation to Generation Y to invest in a new TV assuming they are using an old, standard definition television. The volume of channels offered to consumers on even basic “digital” cable is many times greater than what you can get over the air. The government is going to sell the terrestrial airways and raise much needed money for the bandwidth. Digital cable or satellite television offers HDTV which looks many times better than standard definition. Even if you have cataracts and wear Coke-bottle glasses, you will be able to see the difference between 480i SD and 1080i/720p high definition.
One of the best reasons to buy a new television today is the fact that old CRT televisions are not very “green.” Before some of you go Rush Limbaugh on me with some liberal conspiracy to sell everyone a new television, please note that older televisions have up to eight pounds of lead in them not to mention other nasty compounds and toxins. While most old TVs go on the trash heap and ultimately into landfills – the effect of these hazardous materials down the road are not very good for the planet that we all share. New LCD and plasma HDTVs use up to 30 percent less power than even first and second generation flat HDTVs. They use even less power than traditional CTR sets.
While not every American can pop for a beaming new HDTV with nearly 10 percent unemployment and housing values down in many parts of the country upwards of 40 percent, it is safe to say that we all someday will have to buy a new HDTV. My question to you is: will you take the extra time to find a recycling program near you that might take a little more work on your part but helps put millions upon millions of these old, poisonous televisions where they belong and their toxins out of our environment and into storage?
Best Buy has aggressive trade-in programs for old televisions at locations all over the country. Local municipalities have also offered trade-in or drop-off programs for phones, computer monitors, TVs and other consumer electronic devices – but they aren’t everyday events. The best national program we have found is from Waste Management. They have regional drop-offs where you can dispose of your television in a responsible way. While you might have to do some heavy lifting to get your old 42 inch Sony XBR into the back of the old hybrid SUV – it’s worth the effort. Your new LCD, the latest plasmas and especially the ultra-thin LED HDTVs are way less power-hungry and are made from better materials.
Find Waste Management’s list of sites here
Posted by Jerry Del Colliano, publisher of Home Theater Review