Dear Lifehacker, Every time I turn a light or appliance on/off, the sound from my LCD TV cuts out for a second or so (picture remains fine). I have my TV, PS3 and stereo hooked up via a basic surge protector board but was wondering whether upgrading to a more robust surge protector (probably with the eco/green power saving capabilities) would solve this annoyance? Thanks, Ryan
Picture by darylfritz
We don't claim any particular level of electrical expertise, but our immediate reaction is this: getting a better surge protector might help with this problem, but the issue might also reflect either a bug in the TV's own circuitry or a more widespread problem with your general household circuitry. The easiest way to test for those scenarios would be to first try operating the television plugged directly into the wall (no intervening power boards or other devices) and then see if the volume problem reproduces itself when you use the lights. If it doesn't, then you can try to either throw everything else onto a board and maintain a separate outlet for the TV or look at a surge protector solution.
If the problem exists even on a single connection, then a surge protector probably isn't going to help. To isolate whether it's the TV or your own household electrics that are causing the issue, you're stuck with the annoying expedient of taking your TV to someone else's house, plugging it in and seeing if the problem recurs when you switch the lights on and off. If it does, the TV has issues, and you'll need to dig through out your warranty. If it doesn't, you might need to call an electrician.
In terms of a useful surge protector, we'll throw it open to our readers: are there any brands or models you can recommend? Any more electrically-informed advice on Ryan's conundrum would also be welcome.
Yours on the wire, Lifehacker