Why Can't You Lay an LCD TV Flat?

By Steve Lander

LCD flat screen TVs are extremely fragile.
i Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

The defining feature of a liquid crystal display set is its large screen. Made up of a sandwich of layers of glass and other materials, LCD TVs are extremely fragile. Because of the way that forces apply to large panes of glass, laying them flat is almost always a bad idea, and moving them when they are flat is extremely unwise.

How LCDs are Made

LCDs are like big, brittle sandwiches. They typically contain two pieces of glass in between which you find polarizing filers, color filters and a glass substrate that holds a grid of electrodes and a layer of liquid crystals also arranged in a grid. Every one of these layers is very thin and can be easily broken.

Why Laying LCDs Flat is Bad

LCD TVs are built with a support at the bottom of the screen. This support prevents the sides of the screen from drooping. If you lay the panel flat, though, the edges of the screen are unsupported and gravity will make them droop. As the edges droop, the screen could crack in the middle. Alternately, the extra pressure on the edges of LCD panel could damage the layers there, causing the LCD to develop picture quality issues.

Why Moving Them is Worse

In essence, laying an LCD flat makes it tighter and puts it under pressure. When you move an LCD TV, it gets exposed to a number of bumps and vibrations whose impacts on the panel are amplified by the tightness that you have introduced into the panel by laying it flat.

The Correct Way to Move an LCD TV

If you need to move your LCD TV, you should always keep it upright on its edge, as if it is sitting on its base. If possible, put it back in its original packaging, but if you cannot, keep it on its side. The cost of renting a truck or borrowing a friend's truck will be less than what you will have to spend to replace your TV if it breaks while you move it in a flat position.