Transporting a Flat-Screen TV: Facts, Myths, and Tips

Transporting a Flat-Screen TV: Facts, Myths, and Tips

Two people moving a flat-screen TV

Updated 6/14/2023

If you’re planning a move, especially a DIY one, you may have some questions about how to pack a flat screen TV.

There is a lot of confusing information out there surrounding plasma screens, LEDs, and LCDs and how best to move them. Fear not, we’ve got your back.

We’ve broken down some of the major facts and myths about flat-screen TVs to bring you the clarity you need to have a successful (and less stressful) move.

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Flat-screen Facts: The Different Types of Flat-Screen TVs

First, let’s look at the three main types of flat-screen TVs. Knowing a bit more about how your flat-screen TV works will help dispel some common misconceptions about transporting them.

LCD Flat-Screen TVs

LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. Inside, they have millions of small liquid crystals placed between two glass panels. These crystals interact with the electrical charges to allow different amounts of light to pass through.

It has a backlight that is produced by Cold Cathode Fluorescent Light (CCFL). In combination, this is what creates the images and colors we see.

LED Flat-Screen TVs

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. In general, LED TVs are very similar to LCD TVs in the composition of the flat screen itself.

There is one key difference between them. The backlight of LED TVs is generated by light-emitting diodes rather than CCFL.

Plasma Screen TVs

Plasma screen TVs have two layers of glass and contain millions of cells filled with gas. These gasses glow when charged with electricity and produce different colors.

Each gas-filled cell can be charged individually, which allows the screen to create the multi-colored images we see when we turn on our favorite show.

They do not require a backlight source since the cells can produce their own light and colors.

Flat-Screen Moving Tip: Place It Between Flat, Sturdy Items

Whether you’re moving your flat screen in a rental truck or in your own car, keeping your TV upright and stable is key.

Place your TV between flat and sturdy items such as mattresses, sofas, or chairs during the move. This will keep your TV from any shifting that may occur during your trip.

Packing blankets around your TV’s box will also give it some additional cushion.

Having a list of other moving and packing materials you may need to tackle your DIY move can significantly help in knowing how you can safely pack your TV.

Myth: It’s Okay To Lay Your TV Down Flat

Many people make the mistake of laying their flat-screen TVs down flat during the moving and storage process. This can cause damage to your TV.

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Why Can’t You Lay a TV Flat, and What Happens If You Lay a Flat Screen TV Down?

Laying a flat screen on its back places too much weight on the screen itself. This can cause damage to the cells that make up the display. This means that your TV is more prone to screen distortions, bending, and potentially cracking.

Plasma screen TVs are particularly susceptible to damage when laid on their back due to their double layers of glass creating more weight in the middle of the TV when it is not supported.

Flat-Screen Fact: Keep Your TV Upright

You CAN NOT transport a TV laying down. Laying your TV flat is never a good idea, you should always keep a flat-screen TV in an upright position. This is true for all flat-screen TV types.

If you’re setting it down, hanging it up, or resting it against a wall– keep it upright! TVs are heavy objects that are designed to be set in an upright position for viewing.

This posture allows the weight of the flat screen to be evenly distributed throughout the body of the TV. It also keeps the weight off of the screen itself. It’s a similar idea to why you should always carry stone counter tops on their side or it will break due to it’s own weight.

A man and woman moving a flat-screen tv

Flat-Screen Moving Tip: Take Pictures Of The Cables

Taking pictures of the cables and wiring of your flat-screen TV will help make setting up your TV in your new home much easier.

The pictures will act as a reference guide when you reassemble your setup in your new home. Additionally, you can take pictures of your TV accessories, such as your gaming systems and DVD players to speed up their reinstallation process as well.

Fact: All You Need Is The Original Box To Pack Your TV

While not always the case, the original box your TV came in can be a useful tool during the packing process. It’s the right size for your TV and any accessories that may have come with it. This is typically the best method for moving your TV as the box is custom built for your TV. Now this doesn’t mean you can just throw around the TV once it is in the box. You will still need to keep the TV upright, and keep it in an area where it doesn’t bang around, but in terms of packing materials, the original box & packing materials is all you should need.

If you got rid of some of the packing materials, the foam packing, or any other packing materials the new TV came in, other packing materials may be required to pack your flat screen TV safely.

Flat-Screen Fact: Protecting Your TVs Screen During Transport Is Important

Whether you have the original box that your flat-screen TV came in or not, you will need to protect your TV’s screen while transporting and packing your flat screen TV.

If you do not have the original packing materials, don’t worry. Wrapping your TV in two layers of bubble wrap will give it the padding it needs to keep your screen scratch-free.

Woman covering a flat-screen in protective wrap.

Flat-Screen Moving Tip: Gathering Packing Materials

If you’re worried about finding these materials, or the correct-size box for packing your flat screen, there are options. Several places, such as HomeDepot and Uhaul have flat-screen transporting kits that you can purchase for as little as $20. The boxes are adjustable and can fit all flat-screen sizes up to 70 inches.


Should I insure my flat-screen TV when moving?

Getting moving insurance can be a great way to protect your TV from damage. If you hire movers and they cause damage while they pack your flat screen TV or transport it, you can file with your insurance and file a complaint with the moving company.

What if I decide I no longer want my flat screen?

Moving is a great time to do some heavy spring cleaning! You can either donate it or sell it. Places like Facebook Marketplace or Goodwill are great options for any goods you don’t want anymore.

Can you lay a TV flat in original box?

While transporting tv in the original box is the best way to move a tv, they can still be at risk of damage if laid flat. Due to their double layers of glass, laying a flat screen flat on its back places too much weight on the screen itself. This can result in damage to the cells that make up the display and makes your TV more prone to screen distortions, bending, and potentially cracking. While it is less likely for damage to occur while the TV is in a TV box or its original box, it is not advisable to place flat screen TVs flat in any situation.

Aubrey graduated from UCLA in 2019 with dual degrees in English and Psychology, as well as receiving a concentration in Fiction Creative Writing. Her writing can be found at Locale Magazine, UCLA's MindWell pod, HerCampus, Westwind, and Bloody Donuts. Aubrey currently lives in Los Angeles with her orange tabby cat, Bowie, and spends her free time reading anything she can get her hands on and soaking up the golden California sun. You can find her hiking the Laguna trails, making jewelry, or exploring the local library.

Maura De Cicco attends the University of Iowa as a Journalism and Anthropology student. She plans to pursue a strategic communications track when it comes to writing, and an archaeology track when it comes to Anthropology.