The TV is often one of the last items people pack, because it's a great way to relax during the tedious process of packing and stress of moving. So, packing the TV often becomes a rush job. Instead, if you plan just a little, you can avoid common mistakes and prevent damage to your TV.
How to Pack and Move Your TV
Start by taking a picture of the back of your TV and any home theater components. This will help you identify which cables go where when you're setting it up in the new location. Print this photo and pack it with the TV, so it's handy when you need it. You can also store a backup on your phone or tablet. Just don't rely on this photo solely, just in case your device gets misplaced during the move.
Label the various cables with colored electrical tape or painter's tape, which can be removed easily. You can put different colored pieces of tape above each input used on the TV. Then wrap a piece of matching tape on the cable that should be connected there. Or, you can write "power," "to Blu-ray player" or other helpful labels on the tape and secure it to the cables.
While it might seem helpful to pack the cables in the box with the TV, they could shift around and cause damage. It's best to use a separate box for cables, remotes and the stand, which can be unscrewed from the TV. Label this box of accessories with the room where the TV will be located, so it's easy to find when you're ready to set up the TV.
If your TV is mounted, refer to your manual and remove it from the mount. Recruit someone to help, especially if it's a large screen.
Clean your TV with a soft, dry cloth before packing it. Shifting dust particles can scratch the screen or clog the inner electronics. Refer to your TV's manual for more detailed cleaning instructions.
Contact your cable or satellite provider a few weeks before your move to have service canceled at the current location and initiated at your new home. Then you can access your favorite programming when you're ready for a break from unpacking. If you're moving to a location not serviced by your existing provider, you need to select a new company and purchase any necessary equipment. If you own a smart TV, you also need internet service to access the wide variety of additional content.
Maybe moving to a new home means it's time to upgrade to a new TV. Recycle your old TV before you move and purchase a new one just for your new location, saving you the trouble of moving it.
Flat-panel TVs continue to become lighter and thinner. But don't let that fool you. They contain a full face of glass. Combine that with the thin design, and you have an extremely fragile device. Plus, if the TV is 50" or larger, the sheer size can make it difficult for one person to maneuver. So, it's especially important to carefully pack your TV, whether large or small, using the following guidelines. These easy, but often overlooked, steps can help ensure the TV is operational and free of scratches and cracks at the end of your move.
- Pack your TV in an appropriate box. If you have the TV's original box with protective covering and foam, you can reuse all of that. If not, you can purchase a heavy-duty box designed for flat-panel TVs from a moving company, hardware store or online moving supply retailer. They are sold based on the size of your TV screen, measured diagonally. The box shouldn't be too much bigger than the TV itself, leaving enough room for packing material, but not so much room that the TV can rock back and forth once it's packed inside. Use a double-wall corrugated box since anything else could be punctured easily or damaged in transport. Use packing tape to seal the base of the box, then line the bottom with Styrofoam peanuts or bubble wrap to cushion the TV.
- Cover the TV. If you have the original dust cover that came with your TV, slide it over your TV. Or wrap the TV with a soft blanket without buttons or zippers that may scratch the screen, providing maximum coverage without adding so much bulk that the TV won't fit into your box. Secure the blanket with rope, moving-grade shrink-wrap or packing tape, making sure it doesn't touch the TV directly. Or wrap the TV with clean bubble wrap and seal the ends with tape.
- Keep the TV upright. Once the TV is wrapped, slide it into the box vertically. If you have a large-screen TV, have someone help you. Always keep a flat-panel TV in the upright position during moving or storage to avoid pressure on the lightweight glass that could cause permanent damage. Plasma TVs suffer the most damage when lying flat since they contain two layers of glass that can be very heavy and fragile, a dangerous combination.
- Label and secure the box. Add more packing material along the sides and on top of the TV so it's firmly padded and unable to tip or shift. Seal the box with plenty of packing tape and use a permanent marker to write "fragile" in multiple places on the box. Finally, indicate "this end up" so it's carried and stored properly.
Packing a Small or Very Large TV
When moving a small TV (about 27" or less) for a kitchen or bedroom, you could skip the box — although a box is still your best protection, especially for keeping it upright. If it's raining the day you move, wrap the TV in an extra blanket that can be removed once it's in the vehicle to ensure the TV won't retain moisture.
If you have an especially large TV or are concerned about properly packing the TV yourself, you can pay your moving company to do it or hire a professional packing service. If you use a moving company to transport your items, purchasing moving insurance could also give you peace of mind if your TV is very expensive.
Transporting and Storing
If you are packing your own moving truck, place the TV upright between wide, sturdy, flat items, like mattresses or the backs of sofas, bookshelves or dressers (avoiding drawer pulls). If something shifts during transport, you don't want it to dent or pierce the TV box. Do not set the TV on top of anything where it is at risk of falling. Also, do not set anything heavy on top of the TV box. If you have professional movers, let them know which box(es) contain a TV so they can protect it properly in the truck.
If you need to store your TV for a while before moving, store it upright between flat, sturdy items in a climate-controled location to prevent damage. Humidity can create moisture on the sensitive electronic components while extreme cold can cause some parts to warp or crack.
Unpacking and Setting Up Your TV
When you arrive at your new home, take the TV out of the box and let it adapt to the room's temperature before turning it on. During that time, you can gather the cables, components and the photo you took of the back of the TV.
Because your new space is likely different from your previous home, you might need to modify your home theater setup. Here are some simple calculations to help you determine the placement of your TV and furniture.
- Minimum viewing distance: Multiply the size of your screen by 1.5. For instance, a 60" class TV should be placed a minimum of 90" or 7.5' away from your furniture. However, a 4K Ultra HD TV may be placed much closer and still maintain a clear picture.
- Maximum viewing distance: Simply double the minimum viewing distance. From the example above, the 60" class TV with a 7.5' minimum viewing distance would require a 15' maximum distance between the TV and your furniture.
Once you start to settle into your new home, you may find you want to make changes. Perhaps you have a larger home entertainment space that requires a larger-screen TV. Or your new storage requirements make a TV stand more appealing. If you want to create better viewing angles for everyone in the room while maintaining a sleek look, consider mounting your TV. If that sounds daunting, our Geek Squad professionals can take care of it for you.
Here are some products and resources to consider as you arrange your new space: