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5 things to do with an old smart TV

Key Takeaways

  • Repurpose the old TV screen for productivity by using it as a monitor.
  • Save money and prolong the TV’s life by using a streaming stick or box to access new apps.
  • Recycle or donate the TV, but do not throw it away.

All good things must come to an end. Sooner or later, it’ll be time to bid farewell to your smart TV as you know it and find new means to consume your favorite content. Whether you simply want to subscribe to the latest innovations and technologies, or your TV has a major defect in it, it’s important to consider what can be done, if anything, to maintain some value in your older model. And you definitely should not throw it out.


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When you’ve decided to upgrade your home entertainment system, here’s what you can and should do with the outgoing TV.

1 Repurpose the screen

From TV to monitor

Samsung DeX being used

For many consumers, the time to buy a new smart TV will be when the current one slows down and the technology now lags behind. Every year brings with it new features and innovations, so it can be pretty tempting to upgrade after a few years’ time. These lags doesn’t necessarily mean the picture is bad, it just means everything is dated and likely a bit bloated.


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With the right adaptor and a DeX-enabled Samsung phone, you can convert your old TV into a productivity panel.

If that is the case, however, the TV screen can still be used, most notably as a monitor. An HDMI cable can connect it to a laptop, tablet, or even your phone, allowing it to be used for professional or creative purposes. The practicality of the switch will depend on the size and weight of your TV, but working or playing on a screen larger than your laptop is likely to aid in productivity and efficiency.

2 Partially upgrade the unit

Save it with a streaming stick


In the same situations where the smart TV platform feels old, slow, and clunky, there are means to prolong the life of the TV for a bit longer. By investing in a streaming device, you can bypass the lagging smart platform but still enjoy the screen quality. A video streaming stick or box makes a TV smart (or smarter, I suppose), by affording a smart platform from which to access a wide range of popular apps and services.


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There are plenty of options available too, from companies like Roku, Amazon, and Google, but perhaps the best part of a streaming stick is that it is significantly cheaper than buying a new TV altogether, with many costing under $100. If you’ve an issue with your picture, then maybe a streaming stick won’t be helping, but if you’re looking to gain access to new apps or you’re tired of your current operating system lagging behind, a streaming device can serve you well for some time. And, even when you do get a new TV, a streaming device is portable and versatile enough to still find use.

3 Recycle it

TVs are not garbage

Recycle tech Apple


When it is time to get rid of the TV entirely, do not simply throw it in the trash. The electronic device can and should be recycled, as doing so prevents toxic materials from ending up in the wrong places, potentially contaminating soil and affecting wildlife. There are a lot of plastics, metals, and chemicals that go into making smart TVs (and other electronics), and they should not wind up in landfills.


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Depending on where you live, there are likely a few pathways to recycling. The easiest is to hire a company to come and take it away from you; while it may come at a cost, you might find some groups that will do it for free. Your city or community should also provide information as to where electronics can be taken

4 Trade it up

Earn money for something new

Samsung 4K 8K QLED TVs compared image 1

Depending on the age and condition of the TV, you may be able to trade it in to a TV seller or manufacturer to earn credit towards purchasing a new TV. These programs vary, and they can be pretty picky, but its worth exploring to see what, if any, value your TV still has.

Keep in mind that your smart TV is essentially a computer, and there is a lot of information stored on it. Before you get rid of your old TV, be sure to perform a factory reset to
wipe it clean

Walmart, Amazon, and Best Buy are among notable companies that offer a trade-in program for a lot of different electronics, including TVs. Brands also prefer that you keep buying their products, which means that companies like Samsung also offer trade-in programs that allow you to upgrade to a newer model. So, before you recycle, shop around and see if you can get any credits for your TV: every little bit helps.


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You might be tempted by newer technologies, a slimmer aesthetic, or it’s been more than five years.

Give it to someone who can enjoy it

People watching Vizio TV


If your TV is still functional, consider dropping it off at a thrift store, donation center, or charity where it can find a new home.

Just because you may be ready for a bigger TV or a newer model with the latest technologies doesn’t mean your current TV isn’t any good for someone else. If it’s still functional, consider dropping it off at a thrift store, donation center, or charity where it can find a new home. You can also reach out to local businesses or public institutions that could perhaps use a TV for any number of reasons, perhaps for it to be used in a common area or waiting room.


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Failing that, you just pass it along to someone who could use some content and entertainment in their life.

Whatever you do, don’t just throw away your TV when you’re ready to move on. Be sure to find a proper new purpose, home, or final destination.

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