There is an environmental argument for getting a new telly. This is due to two facts. The first fact is that, in general, TVs seem to use considerably more energy during their lives than they do while they are being made. It is very hard to get reliable figures, partly as everything is changing so fast. But one study estimated that 90% of a TV’s total life-cycle energy is expended in use.
The second fact is that – at least at per-inch and picture quality level – TVs are getting more energy efficient. One 2013 analysis found that even despite the increase in size, the average electricity used by new TVs had halved in three years.
Of course, it isn’t just energy use that has an environmental impact. In terms of materials, toxins and waste, it is worth keeping your TV as long as possible. Moreover, as in the case of all electronics, much of the manufacture goes on in China, where the energy comes from an electricity grid dominated by coal. There isn’t an overall clear answer on what to do, but the strongest case for quickening your TV’s passage to TV heaven is if you own one of the notoriously inefficient plasma TVs.
Luckily, cameras present much less of a dilemma. It is estimated that about 60% of their total life cycle energy is expended during manufacture and disposal. The greenest camera is the one you’ve already got.
In 2011 a study looking at disposed electrical goods found that 23% of them could have been rescued with only a small amount of repair.