In the last five years, Smart TVs have seen a growing surge in popularity, and sales of Smart TV units have steadily grown. Unfortunately, this growing popularity has been accompanied by an increase in Smart TV thefts, especially thefts conducted in home burglaries.
To protect your TV from being stolen there are a variety of anti-theft products including lockable mountings, security cables, CCTV surveillance, and GPS trackers. However, there are also a few popular anti-theft products which in reality do almost nothing to protect your Smart TV from thieves.
This post opens a comprehensive discussion on why Smart TVs are so popular with thieves and how to protect your Smart TV. Read on for more.
(If your Smart TV has been stolen, our article explains what to do immediately)
Table of Contents
Why Smart TVs Need a Theft Protection
Like Smartphones, Smart TVs are trendy digital accessories with high demand. Everyone not only wants one but wants the best and the latest.
According to FBI crime records, Smart TVs are among ten of the most in-demand stolen items.
Statista reports that in 2020, Smart TVs worth over $207 million were lost to theft. Of these, over 65 percent were stolen in warehouses and retail stores while over 20 percent were stolen from homes.
The reasons criminals prefer stealing Smart TVs over other household goods and electronics is because:
- Smart TVs are valuable and expensive.
- Easy target for burglars because they’re easy to fence or resell.
- Smart TVs are lightweight boxes. They are easy to carry so most burglars will go for that first before considering heavier stuff.
- Unlike jewelry and other valuable stuff, you can’t store your TV in a safe. Your Smart TV is accessible and exposed, making for easy pickings for domestic thieves and external intruders.
How to Protect Your Smart TV from Being Stolen
When it comes to TVs stolen from homes, there are basically two kinds of thieves.
a) There’s the intruding burglar who breaks in or takes advantage of some security vulnerability and makes away with valuable stuff.
b) Then there’s also a household member or a regular visitor such as a babysitter, repair person, or cleaner betrays your trust to make off with your household goods.
There are several key actions you can take to preempt and protect your home and your TV from thieves. These include:
1. Improve Home Protection
The best way to protect your Smart TV from thieves is to secure your home. According to the FBI, there were over 1.1 million reported burglaries annually in the US, with more than 55 percent of the burglaries involving forcible entry.
You can improve your home protection by:
- Improving the security of your doors and windows.
Strong locks and unbreakable doors and windows can protect your home against forceful entry.
- Motion sensors, automatic lights, and CCTV coverage can work to deter burglars and catch them when they attempt to break in.
Improving the overall security of your home isn’t done in minutes and does cost quite a bit, but the effect is long-lasting and most effective.
(We are sorry, but that’s what you should do first: Look out for a specialized company in your area and book a free inspection to check the opportunities and costs)
2. Lockable Wall Mount
Mounting your Smart TV on the wall using steel bolts can add an extra layer of protection against theft. This works even better when the wall mount can be locked with a key or padlock so an intruder can’t access the bolts to unmount the Smart TV.
These lockable wall mounts are perfect for outdoor TVs, hotel lobby TVs, and restaurant TVs.
Even in the home, the lock part is typically hidden behind the TV set so the padlock won’t be visible to guests and house members.
3. Anti-Theft Cable
Every Smart TV comes with a four-hole attachment interface at the back that conforms to VESA standards. This allows for standard mounting protecting TVs from imbalance and poor torque.
The VESA interface allows you to attach security cables similar to those used to protect parked bicycles. These heavy-duty cables can be secured to the wall or a heavy object on one end, then the other end goes to the VESA attachment on the back of the TV.
Most Smart TV anti-theft locks come with access caps which make it impossible for thieves to access the screws which hold the security kit in place. These anti-theft cables work because:
Often, they are discreetly placed, so even household members and regular guests may not be aware you have secured your TV this way. Thus, on the day of the robbery, the thief might be unprepared.
4. Kensington Lock
Many electronics such as laptops and some Smart TVs have a small rectangular hole on the side or back used for physically tethering the device to a permanent object. The Kensington hole pairs with a Kensington lock attached to a strong plastic-coated metallic cable similar to a bicycle lock.
The way it works is you insert the Kensington lock into the Kensington hole. The lock has the cable attached and has a loop at the end. The loop allows you to securely tie the Smart TV to a TV stand, desk, or other immovable objects.
The thief will then have to either cut the strong cable or rip the plastic casing of the Smart TV.
In most cases, that’s too much work and the thief will leave the TV alone.
CCTV coverage can act to deter thieves or identify them. You can set up cameras to focus on the TV area or to monitor entrance points.
For outdoor use, you should seek a weatherproof camera able to withstand rain, direct sunlight, and strong winds. A security camera connected to a CCTV network can increase the security of your whole property, not just your TV.
6. Parental Lock
A child lock on your TV can work not only to lock kids out of accessing Smart TV content but to lock other unauthorized people. With parental lock settings in place, a household member or guest will find it difficult to sell off the TV to other people.
Thus, the parental lock acts as a deterrent to in-house theft.
However, most TV brands come with default unlock codes that the thief can uncover.
You should change that default code immediately if possible.
7. Motion Sensor Alarm
A small digital device planted discreetly on the TV frame can alert the household members and neighbors of a robbery in progress. There are motion sensors, sometimes called asset protection devices, fitted with alarms that can be attached to the TV.
These devices are often battery-powered so they work even if the thief unplugs the TV from the power outlet. They are also discreet and can protect your TV even from someone who already has access to your home, such as a housekeeper.
Nonetheless, since they are typically stuck to the exterior of the TV, a thief can easily remove and disable the device.
8. GPS Tracker
A GPS tracker is a small electronic device that alerts you of its location. When attached to your TV, you can use a tracking app on your phone to know where your TV is at all times.
GPS trackers are a different type of asset protection device compared to the motion sensor. Instead of deterring thieves using an alarm, the GPS tracker silently continues transmitting its location even as the thieves make off with the TV.
If you have a GPS tracking device installed on your Smart TV, in case of theft you can show the cops the app. This might help in finding the thieves in their hideout and recovering more lost items and bringing the thieves to book.
4 Things to Do After Buying Smart TVs
Buying a Smart TV can be an exciting moment. You want to rush home and quickly set up your favorite streaming apps and test out your online services.
However, as you go about setting up the TV, here are some additional actions you should consider to secure your TV against thieves.
1. Use Lockable Mounting
Make it more difficult for a thief to remove the Smart TV from your home.
2. Install GPS Tracker
Make it possible for you or the authorities to track down the thief in case they succeed in removing the Smart TV from your property. Use a good long-life tracker with a great range.
3. Update Your Home Insurance
Ensure you’re covered in case of future loss, theft, or damages.
4. Use Disposable Credit Card for App Subscriptions
Use a virtual credit card with a short expiry date to manage your subscription billings. This way, in case of thieves, succeed in taking your TV they won’t get access to your financial information. Otherwise, they could run up high bills making purchases with your card.
Avoid These Protections (They Don’t Help)
There are some solutions marketed as Smart TV anti-theft protection which don’t do much to either deter thieves or recover stolen Smart TVs. The anti-theft solutions to avoid include:
Low-quality GPS Trackers
There are lots of GPS trackers which don’t work as advertised. Some problems include:
Short battery life:
Your GPS tracker is meant to stay on the TV undisturbed for the whole period you will own that TV set. It isn’t meant for you to be removing it to recharge regularly.
If you can find one that somehow recharges its own batteries, then that’s perfect. One which connects to the TVs power could also work. Otherwise, most GPS trackers in the market are impractical.
Limited Location Radius:
What’s the range on the GPS tracker? Is it global or only covers a few miles? If it’s only a few miles it may not be very helpful.
If you can find a global tracker which alerts you of the location even if you’re on the other side of the world, that would be great. However, good GPS trackers with a wide transmission radius are hard to find.
Bad Motion Sensors
Does your motion sensor go off any time a car passes close to the house or a plane flies over?
Then your motion sensor won’t be very effective at alerting you of robbers.
Additionally, like the GPS tracker, you should be aware of whether the battery is self-recharging or has to be regularly replaced.