November 06, 2009

Digital vs. Analog TV

What happens to your old TV when you switch to digital (LCD/Plasma) TV?

"The major digital TV switchover in north-west England has coincided with a huge increase in dumped analogue TVs" - reports The Guardian:

This year, the council has recycled 50,000 analogue TVs thrown away by households, of which 30,000 could have been upgraded to receive digital TV signals with a simple £20 set-top box.

The e-waste dumps in developing nations are piling up. US government is even thinking about asking electronics manufacturers to offer free door-to-door pick-up service of used devices. Tree Hugger reports:

In the US, only about 18% of the 23.9 million toxic CRT TVs thrown out in 2008 were recycled. And Sarah Westervelt, a Basel Action Network official, said about 80% will actually be shipped abroad to be "recycled" in China and Africa - and that is a violation of provisions of the Basel treaty that ban the shipment of toxic waste from the rich countries to poor ones.

Over the long run, it is likely better to have an extra set-top box and not a new TV. It's just a matter of actually telling people this, and encouraging them to keep what isn't broken.

Image via Jaymi Heimbuch, Tree Hugger


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