Does shutting off power damage digital TVs?

Ann S. February 9, 2011

I realized my mother was shutting off her new digital TV by switching off the power strip it’s plugged into rather than using the remote control to switch it off. Would this harm a digital TV?

  1. Omnicity99
    February 23, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Keeping a TV on standby will help to keep it slightly warm, which means less thermal shock when it returns to full power, which should allow it to live a bit longer.
    Unplugging is still a good idea if there is lightning around - even the best home-use surge protector will fail if you get a direct strike on a power line near your home.

  2. Mridul
    February 19, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    No. it does not cause any damage at all. I am an electrical engineer and have an experience of two years in televisions and numerous years in other stuff.
    You can switch your tv as you want.

  3. Bransonmik
    February 12, 2011 at 12:36 am

    No power strip (even if turned off) will stop a strong lightning strike. The strike could damage the strip and also the TV. The only to prevent this is to pull the plug at the outlet.

  4. Ann H. Shea
    February 10, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    I truly appreciate everyone's comments. So bottom line, will advise "ma" to switch off with the remote and then use power strip "off switch" AFTER, and ensure a good quality power strip is being used.

  5. Oron Joffe
    February 10, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Ann, while switching off the TV from the socket is not advisable, switching off the mains (or unplugging the TV) *after* switching it off will actually lengthen the TV's life. This is because as long as the mains are on, the TV power circuit is in standby mode, using some electricity and generating some heat.

  6. Anonymous
    February 10, 2011 at 4:46 am

    Hi Ann - typically those power strips are pretty good at providing "clean" power and reducing those power spikes when turned on. However, with that said there are a lot of cheap power strips out there that provide pretty pathetic protection, and as Mike pointed out the power spike that you get when you initially turn on any electrical device can take its toll on electronics.

    In the case of a digital television, you're talking about a power transformer inside the set that is really rated to handle those peak voltages, even at startup - but over time when you constantly subject a component to that spike it simply ages quicker.

    The short answer is - no, you can't damage a digital TV by using a power strip to turn it off (especially if it's a high-quality surge protector), but yes it can age the set more quickly by putting the power components in the TV under a little more stress than they need to face.

    By the way, my mother used to do the same. I believe it's a old wives tale, related to the danger to electronics posed by lightning used to be pretty standard to unplug all devices during storms, and many people got into the habit of using a power strip to turn off electrical devices when not in use in order to protect from lightning strikes.

    These days, circuit breaker protection (rather than fuses) is far more advanced and that danger is no longer very real, but old habits die hard. :-)

    I hope that helps!

  7. Mike
    February 9, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Electrical it's not advisable: You will certainly shorten the life of the power strip and or switch until it is damaged.

    Whenever you intercept a circuit (using a switch or pulling the cord) an electric arc is created. Usually this arc exists only for a millisecond (or less).

    In the very rare case that the plug isn't pulled far enough with one drag or the switch is being hold in a neutral position this arc might get very hot very very fast causing the plastic to melt,burn and serious damage to your hand, etc...

    I don't want to put horror stories out there ~ all those things are tested for general home use. However, electrically all those things are dangerous up to life-threatening.

  8. Ann H. Shea
    February 9, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Thank you ha14! I will share this advice. I appreciate it.

  9. Anonymous
    February 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    remote control to switch it off is safer and dedicated to that purpose of not harming TV.

    switching off the power strip is more brutal way. Possble its the older way when remote control didnt existed yet.

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