Ask LH: What Should I Do With My Old Flat-Screen TV?

Dear Lifehacker, A simple question: what can I do with a 32-inch spare flat-screen TV? Thanks, Bigger Screen

Dear Bigger Screen,

Broadly speaking, there’s no shortage of possibilities presuming the TV is working. Older CRT TVs can be a challenge to redeploy: they’re relatively power-hungry and take up a lot of space, so it’s no surprise to see them stuck on the side of the road during council cleanups even after people have happily liberated mattresses of frankly dubious provenance. But a newer TV has several happier options if it’s working. (If it isn’t, contact your local council to find out what electronics recycling schemes it has in place.)

The biggest restriction on potential reuse is probably the number and type of inputs the device has. If it’s an older model with RCA inputs rather than HDMI, you might have trouble connecting some newer kit to it. But there’s still plenty of possibilities:

  • The obvious one is to rig it up as a secondary TV in a kitchen or study. If you can’t get decent reception, it could still be a useful playback device for an el-cheapo DVD player or hard drive recorder. (As an older TV, it’s not likely to have any networking options, but that doesn’t matter if the player connected to it does.)
  • If you’re particularly into gaming, then using the TV as a dedicated games screen can save household arguments along the lines of MasterChef versus Gears of War.
  • If you really don’t want the television, then giving it away is a sensible option. Note that many charity shops don’t like receiving electrical goods, so don’t just dump it in front of the local branch on a Sunday afternoon. Try listing it with your local Freecycle group.
  • As ever, there’s always the option of selling it on eBay — though I wouldn’t assume you could make a fortune given how cheaply you can buy a brand-new 32″ TV these days.

Any other ideas to add to the list, gentle readers?


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