Q. I just bought a new TV because our old one died after only three years. It bugs me that I had to buy one so soon. Aren’t TVs supposed to last for years and years and years? Is there anything I can do to keep my new one good for a long time. You know, like how you can keep a car running well with oil changes and tune-ups? — Bob, Tulsa. 

Bob, I wouldn’t compare the mechanical complexity of a car with a television. But I will agree that televisions today come with more sophisticated insides than sets made even several years ago. They are more like computers and therefore more prone to technical breakdowns.

But there are three things you can do to help keep your TV running efficiently for years — and make sure you don’t have to buy a new one unless you really want to.

1. Turn It Off
Do you watch your TV several hours a day? If so, that’s fine. But don’t keep it on if you’re NOT watching it. I know that may sound silly but many people keep their sets on when they leave the room for a long period of time. And others like to have the set on for background noise.

Both practices take unnecessary hours off your TV’s life. See, a television only has so many hours in it and you don’t want to waste them. (All TVs are different so I can’t say a set should last for a specific number of hours. But any quality set should last for several years even if you watch it several hours a day.)

2. Do the Bright Thing
Many TVs come from the factory with the brightness level higher than it needs to be. While some people like an ultra-bright picture, it can soften picture detail — and cause your TV to work harder to display all that light. Try adjusting the brightness level so the picture looks more realistic, displaying more detail. Your eyes will be happier and so will your TV. The reduction in brightness will add more hours to your set’s life.

3. Take a Contrasting View
Finally, the Contrast, or Picture, setting measures the difference between your set’s brightest and darkest colors. Once again, if your set’s Contrast or Picture level is too high, it can force your set to exert more power, again reducing its total hours of use. To ensure this doesn’t happen, I would recommend setting your TV to Standard Mode rather than Vivid or Dynamic. This will keep your Contrast or Picture level at a more efficient setting. The Standard mode will also display a more realistic picture, in my view.

Bob, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann