A simple flat screen emits very low levels of EMF radiation. But the new generations of smart TVs emit stronger EMF signals. They will often emit both radio frequencies (RF) and Bluetooth radiation.
In this article, we will look at exactly how much EMF radiation we get from come TVs and what we should do about it.
There are many good solutions but you need to know exactly what to look for.
Table of Contents
This article was reviewed by tech expert James Williams from TechPenny.com on September 19, 2023. He has also helped us get all these numbers and facts straight. James Williams has written about new smart TVs for years and is an expert on home electronics.
Abbreviations used in this article:
EMF: Electromagnetic Fields (All types of radiation)
RF: Radio Frequencies (Radiation from wifi, cell towers, and other wireless technologies)
ELF: Extreme Low Frequencies (Radiation from power lines)
EHS: Electro-Hypersensitivity (Syndrome where you are very sensitive to EMF radiation)
V/m: Volts over meters (How we measure RF radiation)
How Much Radiation Do We Get From TVs?
Before we can answer this question in more dept we need to know exactly what we are talking about. We have several different types of TVs and there are older and newer generations.
4 Types of TVs:
- CRT TVs (old TVs from 1960- 2000)
- LCD TVs
- Smart TVs (Plasma, LED & OLED)
- Computer monitors used as TVs
1) Radiation Levels From Old CRT TVs
These are the old bulky TVs from before we invented the flat screens.
These old TVs actually emit low levels of X-ray radiation, which is much more dangerous than the other types of your EMFs we are concerned with from newer screens.
Scientists have even found that when you dust off these old TVs the dust is slightly radioactive.
It sends very few people are still keeping these old things around let’s move on to talk about flat screens.
2) Radiation Levels From LCD TVs
LCD TVs were the first types of flat screens to enter the market after we went away from the old bulky TVs we mentioned above. They are still found in many homes and they are filled around the fluorescent technology.
LCD TVs are powered by CCFL lamps. The screen is lit up by these lamps. CCFL is short for “Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp” and that means that we are dealing with fluorescent light.
Lots of it.
You need to keep some distance to these monitors. You should stay at least 4-5 feet away from the screen in order to get the levels below the safe limits.
It’s not the best option if you are using this screen as a computer monitor. Because you will typically be sitting very close to the screen and you will (probably) often be leaning forward even though you try to keep 4-5 feet distance.
3) Radiation Levels From SMART TVs
Our smart TVs are a big problem because they will constantly emit our F and ELF radiation.
It’s simply not possible to switch off the Bluetooth and the RF signal to a smart TV. It will always be emitting RF radiation because it will constantly search for or communicate with Wi-Fi routers in your room.
This is also why it is constantly listening to the conversations in your room. Much like the digital assistance from Amazon (Alexa) and Google (Home) and Apple (Siri), a smart TV will be listening to all your conversations. If you don’t believe this you can check the manual that came with your TV.
The manual for your smart TV will most likely tell you to never mention any personal information around your TV. This includes passport numbers, credit card information, etc.
All your personal information is being snatched by the TV and it will often be sold to third-party companies in order to personalize ads to your devices.
Sounds scary? I think so!
“Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.” Source.
4) Radiation Levels From COMPUTER MONITORS Used As TVs
This is always the option we recommend. The computer monitor is the best choice when you want a radiation-free TV in your living room or your bedroom.
We will come back to these solutions in a minute.
EMF Levels From Plasma, LED & OLED TVs
Let’s start by categorizing the different types of EMFs:
- ELF radiation
- RF radiation
- UV radiation
- Dirty electricity
We need to talk about ELF radiation and RF radiation separately. If you don’t know the difference you can start by reading the article we have written here about ELF and RF radiation.
(It’s a great beginners article that will get you into all the lingo we are using here.)
We will also briefly mention UV-light and dirty electricity as we find low levels of this type of radiation with plasma TVs.
Basically, ELF radiation is coming from the electronics inside the TV such as the transformer that generates power for the TV. The RF radiation, on the other hand, is coming from the countless wireless signals we have around modern smart TVs.
ELF Radiation From TVs
Plasma TVs do use much more energy than the two previous TV-technologies: CRT and LCD screens. So you need to pay attention to the electromagnetic fields close to the screen.
LED and OLED TVs use less power than the old plasma screens.
They will typically use around 30-40% less power which also means that we are dealing with a slightly smaller electromagnetic field around it.
But as with all electronics, as soon as you add a few feet of distance to the screen you will quickly minimize the level of ELF radiation (we have an article here with more info about what ELF radiation is).
This is because the radiation levels are following what we call the inverse-square law. It states, that every time you double your distance to the source of the radiation (the TV in this case) you will lower the amount of radiation four times.
So we don’t have to be too concerned about the EMF levels coming from the electronics inside the TV and the screen itself. As long as we remember to not sit directly in front of the screen. We always need to add at least 4-5 feet distance to the screen (which shouldn’t be a problem as we have giant screens today).
RF Radiation From TVs
When we are talking about smart TVs we have to talk about RF radiation as well.
RF radiation is radio frequency radiation which we typically find around routers, cellular signals, and Bluetooth technologies. If you want to know all the basics about this type of radiation we have written a good solid article here about RF radiation.
Basically, we are talking about two different types of RF radiation from smart TVs:
- Wifi signals
- Bluetooth signals
All smart TVs will constantly send out a signal in order to connect to a Wi-Fi router. It doesn’t matter whether it actually connects to the router or it is just looking for it. The radiation will be constant and you cannot turn this off (on any smart TVs we have seen, at least).
It would also send out a Bluetooth signal in order to connect to other wireless devices. This signal is also RF radiation even though it is typically a weaker signal than The Wi-Fi signal.
It’s important to keep your distance to smart TVs for this reason because it will emit radiation close to the same levels as a small router. That’s why we strongly advise you to get rid of the smart TV and use a dumb computer monitor instead.
It’s always better to get rid of any electronic device inside our homes that constantly emit RF radiation. The smart TV is definitely high up on this list.
Even though you keep your distance to the TV, you might still be exposed to the RF and Bluetooth radiation. If you have a device close to you which is connecting with the TV it will create a two-way communication line with the TV (and probably your router as well).
This is the case when you are using your phone as a remote control for the TV. This can be done in several ways like with the chrome cast technology or similar wireless solutions.
Some smart TVs have the option of inserting an ethernet cable directly into the TV. But more often than not, this won’t disable or turn off the Wi-Fi signal. So all you get this set bit more speed on the connection to the router. The EMF levels will typically stay the same because you cannot switch off the wireless signal from the TV.
Plasma TVs Emit UV-Light
Plasma TVs are quickly being phased out of the market. All the biggest manufacturers have moved on from this technology several years ago. When you buy a flat screen today it’s most likely LED or OLED.
Plasma TVs emit low levels of UV-light. We also find the UV-light in the light from the sun and the levels are low.
Dirty Electricity From TVs
The last type of EMF we will discuss in this the dirty electricity we can get from all electronic devices.
Plasma TVs use a lot of power and they also tend to create a lot of intermediate frequencies that create dirty electricity.
This can be a big problem for people who suffer from EHS which is hypersensitivity toward electromagnetic fields. They are sensitive to these types of dirty electricity which you also find in fluorescent lightbulbs, Smart meters (see our article here on how to recognize smart meters), etc.
More often than not, there’s no easy way to get rid of the dirty electricity around the plasma TV. You will simply have to throw it out and get a new one if you are affected by this.
Luckily, there shouldn’t be any problems with the newer types of LED and OLED flatscreen TVs and dirty electricity.
How To Turn Off Wifi On Your Smart TV
As we mentioned above, it’s simply not possible to switch off the Wi-Fi signal on newer models from Samsung and other brands.
The same goes for most other TV brands. The Wi-Fi signal will constantly be searching for another Wi-Fi signal to connect to. Remember, that a Wi-Fi signal is a two-way communication technology so it will try to connect even though it might not succeed.
That doesn’t mean that you cannot open the thing yourself and cut off the wire that goes to the Wi-Fi transmitter. That’s what I would do (but I don’t have a TV at all – I use my computer for Netflix).
You should only do this if you know what you’re doing and you should know that this is not something we advise you to do. Everything you can see in the video below should be done at your own risk. We cannot guarantee that it will work unless you find the right cord.
It’s a pretty drastic step to open the TV and cut the wires yourself but sometimes that the only way to turn off the Wi-Fi signal. It’s a really stupid design and what are we left to do if we want to get rid of these signals?
Personally, I’m a big fan of taking the matter into my own hands. I want the newest tech but I also want to keep myself and my family safe from EF and other types of radiation in my home. It’s simply stupid that you cannot turn off the Wi-Fi signal even when you’re inserting an ethernet cable.
The only other option you are left with is to get an EMF meter and make sure you do some readings on the TV before you buy it. You might be able to find a TV where you can switch off the RF radiation. But you shouldn’t take anybody’s word for it. Even though it says on the screen that you are switching off the wireless signal you might still find that it emits full speed.
The sales person at your local Best Buy store might not know anything about RF and Bluetooth radiation either. So don’t even bother asking. They will just give you a long speech on how this is not dangerous because they read an article over at Bloomberg or NYtimes.
Use A Large Computer Monitors As An EMF-Free TV
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article the best way to get a large screen on your wall is to use a computer monitor.
They are not connected wirelessly with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi signals and They are coupled directly into the computer or the TV signal box with wires.
The problems arise when we are dealing with smart TVs and other types of computer screens that connect wirelessly to other devices such as our router.
A standard computer monitor will not connect wirelessly to anything.
You might not be able to find a 50 or 60-inch computer monitor at the local store but you can find computer monitors up to 65” at best buy. Asus and Samsung also have some great widescreen and curved computer monitors that can just as easily be used as TVs.
They will often have the possibility to be mounted on the wall and you can easily connect them with HDMI cables.
This is definitely the easiest solution for you if you don’t want to open the TV and dismantle the Wi-Fi device as we showed in the video above. It can be dangerous to open TV screens and computer monitors and it’s definitely not something we advise you do unless you know what you do or can get help from an electrical engineer.
Be aware that the resolution on computer screens are often much higher than on TV screens. They were also many times be cheaper because people are willing to pay more for TVs than they will for computer monitors.
How To Measure The Radiation From A TV
It’s impossible for us to list all the different types of TVs and how much EMF radiation they emit. There’s simply too many brands and models for us to cover them all.
On top of that, there’s also differences according to how much dirty electricity they will send out.
So your best option here is to do your own readings. Luckily, the EMF meters we need to do this have become pretty popular and therefore more affordable. For around $200 you will get a very good EMF meter that is also being used by experts, scientists, and building biologist.
Here’s a picture of the EMF meter I’m using:
I really like this EMF meter because it has a very user-friendly interface and is easy to use. On top of that, it’s pretty accurate and you can measure RF radiation (wifi, smartphones, laptops, Bluetooth, etc.) as well as magnetic and electric fields.
Do TVs Emit Radiation When Turned Off?
Some new generations of smart TVs will still emit RF radiation from the wifi and Bluetooth signals on standby mode. We also have electric fields as soon as the power cord is attached to the socket. When we disconnect the power cord we eliminate all radiation.
There are two types of radiation and we are concerned with around our TVs:
- RF radiation (the wifi signal and the Bluetooth)
- and the ELF radiation (from the electric components inside).
When the TV is turned off you will often have the wifi signal and the Bluetooth signal turned on as well. As long as the TV is set to standby mode. The only way to stop these signals is typically to pull out the power cord. As soon as you do that you won’t have any radiation from the Wi-Fi and the Bluetooth signals.
This is also the only way to get rid of the electric fields around electronic devices.
There’s a difference here between the magnetic and the electric fields around the TV. Magnetic fields are only present when we have our electric devices turned on while electric fields appear as soon as the TV is plugged into the power socket.
So, in order to eliminate the radiation altogether, you typically need to remove the power cord to the TV. As soon as you do that you will have removed all radiation.
Radiation Levels From Remote Controls For TVs
Remote controls for our TVs can also be sources of radiation.
There are two ways remote controls connect to a TV:
- Infra-red radiation
- Radio frequencies (RF)
The radiation from an infrared remote control is much less than the radiation from a remote control using radio frequencies. So you should always go for an infrared remote control whenever you have the option.
There’s an easy way to test whether ever remote control is using infrared technology art radio frequencies.
You can simply cover the front of the remote control with your other hand in order to try and block the signal. If you can successfully block the signal from being received by the TV we are dealing with infra-red technology.
Infrared remote controls will beam light that you cannot see with your eyes. That’s exactly what infrared light is. It’s quite similar to visible light and you need to point toward the receiver on the TV for the remote controller to work.
If you try to do the same thing with remote controls using radio frequencies you will be able to point it anywhere you want to. The TV will pick up the signal anyway. This is because radio frequencies (RF) are being emitted in all directions from the source and therefore the receiver will be able to pick it up.
Whenever you were using a remote control using radio frequencies you will be exposed to RF radiation every time you push a button.
You might be able to choose which technology you want to use with the remote control. When you go into the settings on your smart TV (or your dumb TV) you might be able to switch between infrared and radiofrequency technology. This is also something you can find out before you bring the TV home from the store.
What About Apple TV, Roku, Etc?
The first two generations of the Apple TV would let you turn off the Wi-Fi signal whenever you inserted the ethernet cable instead. This is a great option because we want to get rid of all the wireless signals inside our homes.
But this is simply not an option with the newer Apple TVs. Since Apple launched the fourth generation of the Apple TV, it’s no longer possible to turn off the wireless Wi-Fi signal.
The same goes for the latest versions of Samsung’s TV sets. You cannot turn off the signal which is the big problem if you want to get rid of EMF radiation in your home. You might still be able to find earlier versions of Samsung TVs (used) where you can actually turn off the Wi-Fi signal as you plug in the ethernet cable instead.
For the Roku, you might be able to switch off the signal but you need to verify this within an EMF meter (see our recommendations here).
Other EMF Emitting Devices Around The TV Stand
But what about all the other electronic and wireless devices we typically place on top of our TV?
Our TV and the space around it tends to attract up a lot of wireless devices such as:
- Gaming consoles (Wii, Xbox, PlayStation, etc.)
- Sonos and other wifi speaker systems
- Bluetooth speakers
All these devices will also emit a lot of RF and Bluetooth radiation.
TV Gaming Consoles Emit A Lot Of EMF
When we are talking about gaming consoles, it’s important to always get them with a wired hand controller. You will often be able to choose between our wireless and a wired controller.
As you probably have guessed by now, we want you to use the wired controller.
We want to get rid of as many wireless devices as we can because they always rely on either Wi-Fi signals or Bluetooth signals. Unless we are talking about infra-red remote controllers (see above).
You should also be aware that the gaming console itself (the main box) typically emit very strong RF radiation in all directions. The worst among the gaming consoles when it comes to EMF radiation is the Xbox. It sends out loads of EMFs even though it’s turned to sleep mode or standby. If you like your gaming consoles you should read our article here on EMF around the Xbox.
Sonos And EMF Radiation
Sonos speakers are becoming very popular these years. They rely entirely on wireless technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in order to work.
But it is possible to turn off the Wi-Fi signal on your Sonos devices.
You can do this from the menu inside a web browser but you will no longer have support from the Sonos company and you won’t be able to control the whole thing from your smartphone.
So the whole thing is not smart anymore and you can probably get similar sound quality from another (much cheaper) system.
What About Blue Light From The Screen?
The last thing we have to look at and this article is in relation to the blue light from the screen. We get blue light from computer screens as well as TV screens, smartphones, tablets, and other devices with screens.
The blue light we get from all our many screens has been proven to affect our sleep patterns.
The problem with the blue light is the wavelength. This specific type of light is telling your brain to stay awake and be attentive and that can be a problem when we watch TV late at night before sleep.
Many people even have a TV screen installed above their bed so they can fall asleep with the TV on. Even though that sounds like a very pleasant thing you need to pay attention to the blue light waves that come from the screen. You can overcome this problem in several ways:
- Change the screen color mode
Several TV screens will give you the option to change the lighting on the screen. You will probably find a setting where you can tone down the blue light in order to create a better viewing experience before bedtime.
- Use anti-blue light classes
You can also use glasses that filter off the blue light before it reaches your eye. These glasses are fairly cheap and you can find them in many stores. We recommend the glasses you find that this store because they have been tested well.
They are developed by Daniel Debaun who also wrote the excellent book “Radiation Nation”. It’s a great book for anyone wants to get into EMFs and educate themselves a little bit more. You can get the book at Daniels store here.
- Avoid watching TV before bedtime
This is obviously the best choice but I guess no one is perfect. I must admit that I also eventually will fall a sleep in front of a screen.
Should You Ground Your Smart TV?
The short answer is yes. You should ground your smart TV, just like you should ground your PC, and other home electronics you may use close to your body.
Grounding can reduce electric and magnetic field (EMF) radiations, which are low-frequency radiations generated from the electrical circuits within the TV.
Electric field radiations are generated due to the leakage currents in the electronic circuits. Grounding can help minimize these currents by providing a path for them to flow back to the ground, thereby reducing electric field radiations.
A grounded shield can also act as a barrier that can absorb some of the electric field radiations, thus preventing them from spreading into the surrounding environment.
Magnetic field radiations are produced due to the loop areas in the circuits. By grounding the circuits properly, the loop areas can be minimized, which can reduce the magnetic field radiations.
Grounding your TV can also help in reducing the noise in the circuits, which can otherwise generate additional magnetic field radiations. It can improve the signal-to-noise ratio by reducing the noise levels. This, in turn, can reduce the amount of radiation emitted as the TV does not have to work as hard to maintain signal integrity.
By reducing the radiation coming from the TV, grounding can reduce the exposure to this radiation, which is beneficial for your health.
Note: While grounding can have many benefits including potentially reducing EMF radiations, it is not a complete solution for eliminating all types of radiations from a smart TV, especially the RF radiations associated with wireless communications. It’s always advisable to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and consult with a professional electrician for proper grounding implementation.