In this photo illustration, a Netflix button is on a smart television remote controller. (Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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If your TV is “smart,” I have bad news. It’s probably keeping an eye on everything you do and sending that info back to advertisers.
You can stop that, at least to some extent. Tap or click for settings to change on your television to stop this privacy invasion.
The same is true for your streaming devices and services. Tap or click to limit tracking through Netflix, Amazon, Roku, Hulu and more.
With your privacy bases covered, consider your health. Here are a few tips to minimize eye strain, neck strain and eye fatigue.
1. Lighting matters
“You’re going to ruin your eyes!” We all heard that as kids sitting in front of the TV, right? Watching TV probably won’t cause lasting vision damage, but it might strain your eyes.
A mellow, dimly-lit room is the best way to watch TV. Open windows, glaring track lights, and other distracting illumination sources make your eyes work overtime.
You don’t need a bunch of fancy smart lighting or gadgets, either. Draw the blinds, turn off the house lights, and stick to incandescent over LEDs if you prefer not to go full-on black-out mode.
Lamps and other lights can cause annoying reflections and glare. Choose ambient light sources muffled by diffusive domes or lampshades.
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2. Smart formula to know if you’re too close
When it comes to eye health, you should sit far enough from the TV so your eyes won’t be 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 any other spot you have a TV. Now, it’s harder to stick to this formula with larger TVs.
The size of the room, the shape and number of seats you have to configure, and other factors like window placement also come into play. Some give or take is fine. Aim for at least about 10 feet away if you can.
Friends relaxing on living room sofa and watching film on TV
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3. Check your screen height
A TV installed too high or low can cause eye and neck strain. The most comfortable viewing experience is with the TV around eye level when you’re sitting. So, how do you set it up? 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 lightly mark the spot on the wall with a pencil. If you’re working alone, do your best to remember where the marker hit during the experiment. The center of your TV screen should sit about where you marked.
4. Turn down the brightness
Bright, concentrated blue light is harsh on your eyes. That’s why staring at your phone in a dark room can feel so jarring.
Is your TV backlit? An OLED? What HDR capabilities does it bring to the table? All this impacts what brightness is best. Your eyes will also give you lots of clues. Do you find yourself squinting when the room is dark? The TV is probably too bright.
Check your TV’s user manual or click the settings menu to find the brightness. Don’t just rely on one of the pre-sets. Tune up and down and see what’s best for your space.
Take some time to play with color temperature, HDR settings, and image saturation, too.
Your TV’s settings may be hurting your eyes.
Keep your tech-know going
My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today.” It’s a solid thirty minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from all over the country. Search for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, hit the link below for a recent episode.
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What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.
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Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.