Are surge protectors necessary for TVs? I suppose it’s fair to ask this question. But you know what the answer is already. Yes. Like any electronic device or appliance made today, televisions are among the most common items using microprocessors. Flat screen TVs, Plasma TVs, LCD TVs, HDTV all utilize delicate technology that becomes susceptible to our antiquated grid-style electrical power supply. When surges hit these electronics, they are more easily damaged and fail quicker than older, bulkier tube technology. You need a TV surge protector or at least one that can adequately protect your television from harmful power surges. We’re going to look at some options in surge protectors for TV and see what your best choice would be.
Most televisions are made with the updated technology that would require you to make a decision as to whether you want surge protection or you want to risk losing your money on an expensive investment. This isn’t a do you need it or not question. You need it. Surges happen in every home on a daily basis. There is no way to predict when it’s going to happen to you, it just happens. TV surge protectors will save you thousands of dollars of loss should a surge hit your television and render it useless.
The thing about surges is that they can either hit you hard and destroy electronics in one blow or they will degrade the electronics over time with each small surge. The end result is going to be the same, however.
So let’s look at some TV surge protection options that might benefit you and your system.
What You Are Protecting
Your television has several input jacks on it. Everything from HDMI cables to S-Video cables, inputs for audio, composite video, component inputs and whatever else. Running all these components exposes your unit to various pathways for surges. Most people aren’t aware of this but surges can travel along cable lines as well as through your outlets. This is why many people opt for a TV surge suppressor because it can include all the options to protect your equipment.
Not only that, but pictures can become distorted and audio can break up from line noise running through the cable. You need EMI/RFI filtering to stabilize audio/video output. EMI refers to electromagnetic interference and RFI is radio frequency interference. Have you ever had a semi or someone with a CB pass by your home and you can hear them talking through your set? That RFI. A good surge protector for TV will stop that interference.
What kind of equipment are you going to plug into your television? Is it going to be a home theater? How many extra outlets will you need? How about power adapters, do you need space to accommodate those? These are things to consider when finding the right surge protection for TV units, no matter what type of television you have.
Plasma and LCD TVS should definitely use something with line conditioning. This is the EMI/RFI filtering.
Rear Projection TVs should consider a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) RPTVs require cool down time when they are shut off. An abrupt power outage can cause the RPTV to malfunction if it doesn’t cool properly. To avoid this, you can install a UPS, which acts as a backup battery and allows your system to shut down properly in the event of a power outage. Most UPS systems come with surge protection.
Now, specs for surge protection. You want something with plenty of Joules. The joules rating measures how much power your surge protector can absorb before it overloads. 1 Joule equals 1 Watt. While a joules rating of 600 is sufficient protection for home use, I would go for more. The more the merrier, as they say. Don’t settle for anything less than 1500 joules in a TV power surge protector to be safe.
Other specs may not matter as much to you. Joules is probably the most important for a consumer. Other specs include clamping voltage, let through voltage and amp ratings. Clamping voltage is the point at which the surge protector stops letting surge energy through and Let Through voltage is about how much power is let through at any given moment during a surge. Both are sort of dependent on the other and it is recommended that a proper device have a clamping voltage of at least 330V. Lower is better, but 330V is pretty darn good and nearly impossible to beat.
Amps ratings should be high. The amount of protection needed is dependent on the item being protected. You can find amps listed on the back of your electronic device. If you aren’t mathematically inclined, stick to the above references and you will be safe. Otherwise, amps can be calculated by converting watts. Watts = Voltage times Amps (W=V*A). We’ve already said your home in the US has a 120 volt power supply. Watts will be listed on the electronic device if amps is not. So say your plasma TV requires 300 watts to run. 300 = 120*A or A = 320/120. The amps is 2.66. You can calculate all the devices that will be plugged into your surge protector to find how many amps it needs to support.
Now that you have that information you are well equipped to tackle any surge protection task. As for the best TV surge protector to buy, I’ve included some options for you to consider: