Geomagnetic Television Distortion

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The television repairman, Jon, fixed my TV today around 11:30a or so. The problem I was seeing was some color distortion in the bottom corners of the set. It looked like some sort of magnetic disturbance, but there was nothing near that area of the case, so I couldn’t figure it out.

Jon said he’s seen this a lot. The deal is, the tube in my TV (being a 40” tube) is large enough to be affected by geomagnetic forces (i.e., the North Magnetic Pole). Which means if you place it, it gets used to facing a particular direction and the forces in a particular location. When we moved to the new place, the moving process, coupled with the fact that the TV isn’t oriented precisely the direction it used to be, caused the “purity” (as Jon calls it) to go out of alignment.

Jon did the “purity alignment” by silicone gluing some small magnets to the tube. It was a trial-and-error process, and you can’t get it 100% perfect, but it’s fixed enough now that you don’t see any distortion in the picture.

I would never have conceived that the Earth’s magnetism would affect my TV. Definitely not something they tell you in the store.

He told me lots of interesting things about TVs and such. For example, DLP (digital light processing) TVs on the assembly line can be aligned/configured via a computer-driven sensor array in about 10 - 15 seconds. My TV, being a large tube, must be aligned by a human, and each human only gets about 30 seconds to do that alignment. He also told me that manufacturers are moving away from CRT (tube) TVs and toward LCD and DLP (rear-projection) TVs. Finally, he recommended looking at the Samsung DLP TVs, particularly their 50” model, as those offer the most bang for your buck (they use the same internal components as the Mitsubishi TVs but have less troubles and are, in some cases, consumer-serivceable).

Not that I want to be buying a new TV in the near future, but if and when the time comes, I’ll have to give those a look.

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