Tech tip: Change these TV settings to reduce eye strain

If your TV is “smart”, I have bad news. Maybe it’s tracking everything you do and sending that information back to advertisers.

You can stop that, at least to some extent. Tap or click to change settings on your TV to stop this invasion of privacy.

The same goes for your streaming devices and services. Tap or click to limit viewing via Netflix, Amazon, Roku, Hulu and more.

With your privacy bases covered, consider your health. Here are a few tips to reduce eyestrain, neck strain, and eye strain.

1. Lighting issues

“You will destroy your eyes!” We’ve all heard of kids sitting in front of the TV, right? Watching TV may not cause permanent eye damage, but it can strain your eyes.

A mild, dimly lit room is the best way to watch television. Open windows, flashing track lights, and other distracting light sources make your eyes work overtime.

You don’t need a lot of fancy smart lights or gadgets. Draw the blinds, turn off the house lights, and if you prefer not to go full blackout mode, stick to incandescent over LEDs.

Lamps and other lights can cause annoying glare and reflections. Opt for ambient light sources that are muffled by diffused domes or lampshades.

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2. A smart formula to know if you are very close

In terms of eye health, you should sit far away from the TV so that your eyes are not exposed to excessive glare.

The secret formula: Measure the width of your TV and multiply that number by five. This distance is the ballpark you should shoot for in your home theater, living room, or other area where you have a TV. Now, it’s hard to stick with this formula on larger TVs.

The size of the room, the shape and number of seats you need to set up, and other factors like window placement also come into play. Some give or take is fine. Aim at least 10 feet away if you can.

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3. Check the height of your screen

A TV mounted too high or too low can cause eye and neck strain. The most comfortable viewing experience is a TV around eye level when you are seated. So, how do you manage it? Use a laser pointer or a long measuring tape to find your direct line of sight from the best seat in the house.

Have a friend or family member lighten the area on the wall with a pencil. If you’re working alone, do your best to remember where the cursor landed during the experiment. It should be placed in the center of the TV screen where you marked it.

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4. Reduce the brightness

Bright, concentrated blue light is hard on your eyes. That’s why staring at your phone in a dark room can feel so terrifying.

Is your TV backlit? OLED? What HDR capabilities does it bring to the table? All this affects which brightness is better. Your eyes give you many clues. Do you find yourself staring when the room gets dark? The TV is probably too bright.

To find the brightness, refer to your TV’s user manual or click the settings menu. Don’t just rely on one of the presets. Browse above and below and see what works best for your space.

Take some time to play with color temperature, HDR settings, and image saturation.

Keep up with your technology

My favorite podcast is called “Kim Commando Today”. It’s a solid thirty minutes of tech news, tips and callers with tech questions like you from all over the country. Find your podcasts wherever you find them. For your convenience, click the link below for the latest episode.

Podcast Picks: Update Your iPhone, Travel Hacking, Self-Destructive Email

Listen to the latest tech talk in 30 minutes. It’s time to update your iPhone, Apple Watch, and Mac. Also, if you run your own business, Cameo is a smart idea: use celebrities for marketing. And once you use digital bag tags, your flights will never be the same. I’ve got the inside scoop on this life-changing travel hack — and which airline is using it.

Check out my podcast “Kim Commando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast player. Listen to your podcast here or anywhere. Search for my last name “Commando”.

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