TVs are a part of our everyday lives. Furthermore, the use of smart TVs has gained a lot of popularity in recent years due to the greater availability of these devices. Smart TVs allow you to stream movies and your favorite shows. The newer versions have voice control and smart home integration to allow you to easily connect to other wireless devices. You may have wondered when buying or using your smart TV, “do TVs emit EMF radiation?”
Today, there is a wide array of high-definition (HD) and other Ultra 4K HD TV sets on the market. Various types of TVs emit a range of levels of electromagnetic field (EMF) and radio frequency (RF) radiation.
Regular LED, plasma and LCD TV sets rely on an HDTV antenna to receive signals and provide you with TV viewing options. On the other hand, a smart TV acts as a smart home device that allows an internet connection and supports a wide range of apps.
A smart TV provides you with various options like playing games on Hulu, streaming movies from Netflix, watching content on YouTube, access to social media sites and being able to control other wireless devices around your home.
When buying a TV, whether a Smart TV or a regular TV set, the screen size is usually one of the biggest factors you have to consider. The screen size also determines how close you can sit to the TV. You should always sit at least at a distance of three times the height of the HD TV and around 1.5 times the height of a Ultra 4K HD TV. This minimizes your risk of exposure to electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation from the TV.
Do TVs Emit Radiation?
With many of us spending a substantial amount of time watching TV, there are concerns about EMF radiation from TVs. Therefore, do TVs emit radiation?
The answer is yes, you are exposed to a small amount of radiation from your TV every day. The amount of radiation emitted depends on the type of TV, size of the screen, the brightness and screen resolution and how much you use it.
The older versions of TVs using cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors emit slightly higher amounts of radiation compared to the latest flat screen TVs (LED) that emit less radiation. The modern smart TVs with smart features do emit a lot of radiation because they have to connect to the internet using the Wi-Fi feature.
Smart TVs constantly send signals to connect to the Wi-Fi router. As it continues to search for the available router, it emits radio frequency (RF) signals. The TV will constantly transmit these signals since Wi-Fi is a built-in feature and you can’t switch it off.
The Wi-Fi network used to connect to the internet produces high-levels of EMF radiation. Therefore, running your smart device and other wireless smart devices 24/7 will increase your exposure to EMF radiation.
A smart TV will also emit Bluetooth radiation as it sends out signals to look for other wireless devices to connect to. The Bluetooth signals sent are weaker than those sent by Wi-Fi signals. Read my article about Bluetooth vs Wi-Fi signals to know how much radiation is emitted by each type of device.
There are also other near-field communication apps that run continuously on the TV, which increases the amount of radiation being emitted.
Spending a lot of hours watching your favorite TV show exposes you to a lot of electromagnetic field radiation. The LCD, LED and Plasma TVs do emit EMF radiation from all directions to a distance of up to 12 feet. The different types of TV models not only generate a wide range of both electric and magnetic field radiation at the front but in all directions. Therefore, sitting next to the TV will expose you to EMF radiation, just like sitting in front of it does.
Sitting close to the TV exposes you to electromagnetic radiation and UV light radiation from both the electrical system in the TV and the screen. Ensure your children don’t spend too much time watching the TV screen because they are even more susceptible to electromagnetic radiation. According to this study, their brain is not fully developed and so the impacts are greater.
Watch this video to see how radiation from TV sets affects your brain.
It is recommended that you keep distance between you and your smart TV because it emits radiation that is harmful to your health. Even when you keep distance, also ensure other devices connected to the TV are kept away from you. Otherwise, these wireless devices will expose you to both radio frequency radiation and Bluetooth radiation.
Any wireless device connected to the TV creates a two-way communication channel with the TV and also with the router. For example, if you’re using your cell phone as the remote controller for the TV, or when using chrome cast technology to connect to the TV or any other wireless device.
How TVs Emit Radiation
TVs have a lot of components that contribute to the amount of radiation emitted. There are also different types of radiation you’re exposed to while watching your favorite TV show. TVs emit radiation in various ways that are described below:
1. Radiation from a Smart TV
Smart TVs, just like the name suggests, use smart features to connect various apps. They have a Wi-Fi enabled feature that allows the TV to connect to the wireless box and access apps like Netflix.
Once connected, a large amount of data has to be transferred to and from devices, and this generates high amounts of radiation. Smart TVs emit higher amounts of radio frequency (RF) radiation and Bluetooth radiation than other TVs.
Some smart TVs come with an Ethernet port that allows you to connect to a cabled Ethernet internet. The port doesn’t disable or turn off the Wi-Fi signals transmitted by the TV. Even when you connect to the Ethernet cable, the EMF radiation emitted by the smart TV will remain the same since the wireless signals are not switched off.
2. Motherboard/circuitry Board
Just like any other electronic device, a television will emit radiation through its motherboard. The amount and type of radiation emitted depends on how the components are built on the circuit board and the size of the board.
3. Dirty Electricity from Converters
TVs and other electronics like dimmer switches require converters. The converters and your home wiring emit dirty electricity which is another source of electromagnetic field radiation.
The high-frequency voltage used by the TVs and the other devices can create surges of electricity that is stuck in the wiring. The dirty electricity stuck in the wiring system emits EMF radiation.
Plasma TVs require a lot of power to operate effectively. They also generate intermediate frequencies that contribute to increased levels of dirty electricity around your home.
People who have electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) will be more affected by the dirty electricity emitted by TVs and other electronic devices around your home.
How Different Types of TV Sets Emit EMF
To know how much radiation is being emitted, you can use an EMF meter like the Trifield TF2 meter to measure EMF radiation next to the TV when it’s off and when the TV is turned on. You can measure the different types of radiation emitted by your TV.
The common radiation emitted by the different types of TV sets include: electric, magnetic and radio frequency (microwave) radiation.
Measuring the amount and specific type of radiation the TV emits will enable you to come up with appropriate ways to minimize the risk of exposure.
The different types of TV sets emit radiation to different extents, and they are discussed below:
1. EMF Radiation from CRT TVs
Cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs are the older version television used between 1960 and 2000. These types of TVs emit x-ray radiation at low levels. Even if the TV emits low levels of X-ray radiation, it can be more dangerous compared to other forms of EMF radiation.
The CRT TVs are no longer on the market for purchase, though some people still keep and use them. The dust from these old TV screens is also radioactive.
2. EMF Radiation from LCD TVs
Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), or flat screens, use fluorescent technology and they’re powered using Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps (CCFL). The fluorescent light from these screens is very dangerous. Therefore, you need to keep distance from the screen of these TVs in order to reduce your exposure. The circuitry board also emits a small amount of radiation.
3. EMF Radiation from LED TVs
Light Emitting Diode (LED) TVs are among the most popular types of TVs on the market because they’re inexpensive and deliver high-quality images. These types of TVs emit low-levels of radiation, which is considered safe as long as you keep distance from the TV.
4. EMF Radiation from Smart TVs
Smart TVs emit high-levels of radiation compared to other types of TVs. They continuously emit extremely low-frequency (ELF) radiation. Smart TVs emit both Bluetooth radiation and Radio Frequency (RF) radiation.
The TV sets have a wireless receiver and an operating system that allows the TV to connect to the internet. The TV connects to a Wi-Fi router to transmit data and this allows you to access channels like Netflix, Hulu and others. The TV constantly searches for connections to the Wi-Fi router. As a result, it emits RF radiation and Bluetooth radiation.
Connecting the smart TV to an Ethernet network instead of connecting to a Wi-Fi router or wireless system is not a guarantee it will reduce the amount of radiation emitted. The Wi-Fi and Bluetooth features are always turned on by default and they will continue to emit EMF radiation even when you’re not using them.
5. EMF Radiation from Plasma TVs
A plasma TV emits a small amount of Ultra-Violet (UV) radiation and other types of electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation from its motherboard.
Just like other types of TVs, maintaining a close proximity to the TV will expose you to high amounts of EMF radiation. Always keep distance from a Plasma TV.
6. Radiation from Other Wireless Devices Connected to the TV
If you have other devices connected to the TV, this increases the amount of radiation emitted. Some of these devices include:
- Gaming consoles such as Xbox, PlayStation, etc
- Bluetooth speakers
- Wi-Fi speaker systems connected to the TV
- Sonos speakers
All these devices emit RF radiation and Bluetooth radiation.
Do Smart TVs Emit Radiation When Turned Off?
Smart TVs that have the Wi-Fi chip enabled can still emit RF radiation even when the TV is turned off. The amount of radiation emitted depends on the type of TV and the structure of components in the circuit board.
So how do TVs emit radiation when they are off?
1. Through the Use of Trickle Charge
TV sets have capacitors built into the circuit board and they act as batteries. These capacitors hold an electricity charge for a short period of time. Every electronic device uses capacitors to stabilize the flow of energy throughout the electronic device.
The amount of electricity flowing within a device is not constant, therefore, capacitors step in to ensure there is an even flow of electricity within the device. TV sets are no exception.
When the TV is turned off, the capacitors will continue to draw and release power inside the circuit board. The capacitor will continue to draw power when the TV is turned on and also when it is turned off. Therefore, if you’re not using any electric devices, it is recommended you unplug the power cable from the power source.
Since the electricity flows through the capacitor even when the TV is turned off, it emits both electric and magnetic field radiation, although the amount of EMF radiation emitted via the charged capacitor is very low.
2. Always In Use Functions
Apart from the trickle charge, there are other functions performed by a TV when it is turned off.
Newer models of TVs can run an update or record a show even when the screen is off. Although this functionality is designed for convenience, the TV uses electricity to run these functions in the background. As the electricity flows through the various components, some EMF radiation is emitted.
Therefore, any TV set plugged into a power source will continue to emit EMF radiation even when the TV is turned off. The amount of radiation emitted depends on the design of the TV.
Smart TVs have additional functions not found in regular TV sets and these functions consume more power. For example, one of the functions is automatic programming. This allows you to set your TV to switch on for you to watch your favorite TV series or program it to record a particular show for you to watch later. All these functions contribute to the emission of EMF radiation.
The amount of radiation generated when the TV is turned off is lower compared to the EMF radiation generated when you’re actively watching the TV.
How to Detect with Apps if Your TV is Emitting EMF Radiation
You can download apps to detect whether your TV is emitting EMF radiation. One of the commonly used apps is Electrosmart.
- Go to the Google Play Store and download the ElectroSmart app
- Switch on your TV
- Load the ElectroSmart app and wait for 30 sec for it to completely load
- Select the “details of sources exposing me” tab
- Look to see if there are Bluetooth or Wi-Fi signals coming from the TV.
Unfortunately there is no version on the Apple store because Apple blocks the type of measurement Electrosmart uses to calculate the exposure to the waves.
How to Disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Modules
Not all Smart TVs allow you to turn off the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi modules. If you have EHS to EMF radiation you should check the manufacturer documentation to see if it is possible to disable them before buying the TV.
You can also test the TV radiation using the ElectroSmart app before buying the TV. Don’t trust the retailer for information about EMF radiation; check the manufacturer’s information.
TV sets do emit RF radiation from Bluetooth and Wi-Fi modules and they also emit low frequencies of EMF radiation just like any other electronic device. Therefore, if you have a TV you don’t use, always unplug it from the power socket.
Ways to Reduce EMF Radiation from TVs
- You can reduce the amount of radiation emitted by your smart TV by using cabled internet instead of using Wi-Fi.
- Sit far away from the TV to reduce your exposure. Watch this YouTube video to see how sitting too close to the TV can be bad for you:
- Reduce the light intensity of your TV. Reducing the amount of light on the screen reduces the amount of radiation emitted through the screen. The different types of TVs allow you to adjust the brightness in the settings.
- Buy UV-blocking film and install it on the TV screen. The UV-blocking film shields you from UV radiation from the screen light. It also reduces the risk of skin cancer.
- Invest in UV blocking sunscreen. Wearing the UV blocking sunscreen helps reduce exposure to UV light radiation from the TV screen.
- Obtain dirty electricity filters to reduce radiation from dirty electricity in your home.
- Unplug the TV when not in use to reduce the overall level of EMF radiation emitted.
- Alternatively you can use a metal box that forms a Faraday cage around your TV. The metal box blocks EMF radiation emitted by your TV. There are different forms of Faraday cages. A good Faraday cage is made of a highly-conductive metal that shields all RF and othe EMF radiation emitted by the TV. There are cages made of metal wires while others are in the form of light material or a fabric shield blended with the conductive metal that is easy to affix to your TV. A good cage should be able to block RF radiation emitted by Wi-Fi routers and also disable some of the functions in your Smart TV.
Do you want to know how to protect your entire house from EMF radiation? Read my article on everything you need to know to protect your house from EMF.
TVs do emit small amounts of EMF radiation compared to other radiation sources around your home. If you’re very concerned about the amount of radiation you’re exposed to, you can buy or rent an EMF meter and measure the amount of radiation in your home, including from your TV.
Keeping distance from the EMF source will reduce your risk of exposure. Keeping distance from your TV, whether a Smart TV or an older style TV, will reduce exposure to radio frequency, Bluetooth radiation and other EMF radiation emitted by the TV. You can also put your TV inside a metal box case like a Faraday cage or use a fabric shielding material to block EMF radiation.
Smart TV sets emit more radiation than other types of TVs. Therefore, before buying any TV, always consider the amount of radiation you may be exposed to. The size of the TV and brightness of the screen also contribute to the level of radiation emitted.
Children are more vulnerable to the amount of radiation emitted since their brain is not fully developed. Therefore, ensure you limit the amount of hours they spend on the screen playing games or watching cartoons and other shows. Ensure they stay far away from the TV screen to reduce the risk of exposure to them.