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Telespeed Aerials 135 Aughton Rd Aughton Sheffield S26 3XD
Tel:  0114-287-8936   Mob: 07971-846-153 Email: telespeed@tspd.org.uk

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Over 30 years Experience in TV Reception - Problems Welcome!

   Why You SHOULD Leave Your TV On Standby!
Rod
by: Rod Buck
Why You SHOULD Leave Your TV On Standby!

After 30+ years of dealing with domestic TVs (and more recently, satellite receivers) I despair at the bad advice dished out by the various “advisers” like Age Concern, and the Energy Saving Trust and various local Fire Officers.

They, and other people who should know better, go round advising you that you MUST turn your TV off at the wall at night, and that if you don't, it'll cost huge amounts of money, and be dangerous.

Well, That Advice Is YEARS Out Of Date!

The advice to turn off your TV and satellite receiver etc is based on technical situations that used to exist 15 years ago, but which have now totally changed. You are told that you must turn off your set at night because it's a fire risk and it will cost a load of money in electricity to leave it on standby.

Well, if you bought your modern flatscreen TV in the last few years, both of those are totally wrong!

Modern Sets Use Almost NOTHING On Standby!
In The Old Days

In the old days, when TVs had tubes and valves in them, which had heaters, they did used to use a lot of electricity on standby to keep the heaters running - this was so the set would start up quickly when you pressed the remote control. If it had to start up from cold it might take several minutes. This type of Standby did indeed use a lot of juice.

Modern Sets Have Changed All The Rules

Sets manufactured more recently have electronic flat screens, no tubes, no valves, and when on standby all that is active is the little LED light on the front of the set, and a small piece of circuit that stays awake to pick up commands from the remote control to turn the set back on when needed. When in Standby, TV’s and Satellite boxes use, on average, about half  a watt. What does that mean?

Well, electricity is billed in kilowatt-hours. A kilowatt hour is one watt for 1000 hours. A kilowatt-hour currently costs around about 16‑17p. If you have Economy Seven cheap night-time electricity, a kilowatt-hour costs about 7p from around 1am - 8am.

A Bit of Maths

So let’s see – at half a watt , your TV will use a unit of electricity for every 2000 hours it is on standby.  Let's say you put it on standby at midnight when you go to bed, and it stays on standby until,  oh, say, 6 PM the next evening. (This is the worst scenario - many sets are on much more than this, so on standby much less)

That means that it is on standby a maximum of 18 hours a day. To use a unit of electricity, it would have to be on standby for 2000/18 = 111days!

HOW Much? Is That All?

That means that, on standby for 18 hours a day, your TV will use a MAXIMUM of four units of electricity a year! That’s the grand total of - wait for it - 60p!

(And if you have Economy Seven electricity, it'll probably only be about 40p a year, as the night-time rate is less than half the daytime rate)

But many advisers, such as The Energy Saving Trust,  tell you it will cost £60-£80 a year! Clearly, they obviously skipped maths at school. Or weren't listening.

Even if you have four or five TVs round the house, if they are modern flatscreen TVs, you will still only pay about £3-£4 a YEAR in standby electricity!

Fire Risk-The Second Fallacy
I often get elderly customers who tell me they turned their sets off the wall at night "Because the Fire Officer told me to".

Apparently, he thinks it's a fire hazard. This advice is also dished out by the likes of Age Concern.

Well again, these advisers are years out of date. In the old days, TVs had heaters in them, they ran quite hot, and they also had about 25,000 volts in them to drive the old-fashioned tube. This did indeed represent something of a fire hazard, and it was sensible to turn it off at night, never mind the high cost of the electricity they used on standby.
Now TV Sets Are Totally Different
Technology has moved on. A modern TV has no heaters in it, no high voltages, and only needs a two-wire connection to the mains. This means it is what's known in the trade as "intrinsically safe". If an electrical gadget is dangerous, it has an Earth wire in it as well as the two-wire mains connection. TVs are now so safe, that they no longer need this Earth wire, and the Fire Officers really ought to know this. However, many don't, and still advise the public to turn their sets off at night.
Unplug In Thunderstorms
Now, there is a situation where a TV might still be a danger - and that is lightning. If you're going away on holiday, or there is an imminent thunderstorm, I would personally unplug your TV from the wall. Not just turn it off, but physically unplug it.

This is because lightning may come down the aerial, pass through the set, into the electrical mains, and cause a fire.  But in the absence of thunder and lightning, it is totally unnecessary to unplug or switch off at night.
Why You SHOULD Leave Your TV Or Satellite Box On Standby?
So why SHOULD you leave your TV or satellite box on standby overnight? There's two VERY good reasons. The first one is that
You Need Vital Software Updates!
TVs and satellite receivers are now, in effect, computers. I know they don't LOOK like computers, but they are.

Like all computers, they need new software from time to time. How do they get it?

The TV manufacturers put software updates out over the transmitters in the middle of the night!

Yes, a special signal is sent out that wakes your TV up from standby, causes it to download the latest software for that model, and then go back to sleep again. This is how your TV keeps itself up-to-date, courtesy of the manufacturer.
You Might Throw A Perfectly Good TV Away!
If you follow the advice of the well-meaning but ignorant Energy Saving Trust, and your local Fire Officer, and turn the set off at night, this process is impossible. You will prevent the TV from updating itself, and it may cease to work properly, or at all. You may indeed throw it out as useless and buy a new one - totally unnecessarily. All that is wrong is that the TV hasn't been given chance to update itself with the latest software to match the changes in the Freeview TV system
Soft-Start Versus a Hard Kick
Turning a set off and on at the wall, or an on/off switch produces a sudden rush of current, which can damage the equipment.

When do filament or halogen lights blow? Yep, when you hit the wall switch! That's when you see that blue flash, and the trips go out, right?
Dimmer Switches Make Bulbs Last a LOT Longer!
If you have a dimmer switch, and turn the light up gradually, over a second or so, YOUR BULBS LAST THREE TIMES AS LONG! There's no sudden surge of current from nothing to 230 volts in a tiny fraction of a second.

This is called a Soft Start.
TV's And Satellites Last Longer With a Soft Start Too!
When you use the remote to wake the TV up from Standby, it performs a soft-start, powering the TV up gently, which is far kinder to it.

If you turn the TV on and off at the switch, this produces a rush of current that jolts the circuits badly, and doesn't do the TV any good. Eventually, the TV may die earlier than normal, due to the bad habit of jolting it into life every day.
Satellite Receivers MUST be Left on Standby!
Both Sky and Freesat receivers MUST be left on Standby at night. Satellite receivers don't just update their software periodically in the middle of the night, they actually retune themselves, and keep their channels up-to-date by the same middle-of-the-night mechanism. This happens MUCH more often than software updates.
That Annoying "Retune Your TV" Message
You know TVs often display that annoying:

“New Channels Available - Please Retune Your Set ”

message? Well, Satellite receivers DON'T do that, because they automatically retune themselves in the middle of the night.

The satellite sends out a signal that new channels are available, and this causes the satellite receiver to wake up from standby, download the new tuning information, put the new channels in the program guide, and go back to sleep.

If you turn the Satellite Box off, rather than put it on standby, you prevent this happening. I have had several elderly customers call me out to attend to their supposedly-faulty satellite receiver, only for me to find it switched off at the wall.

When I asked do they do that every night? They say:

"Yes, the fire officer told me to" Or “Age Concern’s leaflet told me to”

Well, the advice was WRONG! All I had to do was do a manual software-update, and retune it completely, and the satellite receiver was restored to normal functioning. The only thing wrong was that it had not had these vital updates.

But the customer had to pay me for a callout, and that is entirely the fault of the wrong information given, Fire officers and Age Concern, and Citizens Advice might know about lots of things, but they know nothing about satellite equipment!

So there you have it…. From the horses mouth... from a practicing engineer who's been dealing with all these things for 30+ years....You SHOULD leave your TV and satellite receiver on standby at night. The people that tell you otherwise don't actually know what they're talking about.

Call For Advice...

 

Call me on: 0114-287-8936 or 07971-846-153 for a chat, or email me on telespeed@tspd.org.uk and I'll be happy to advise you in more detail.

 

Rod Buck

Rod Buck




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