Ask the Editors: What is My Sears Projection TV Worth?

projection tv

Q: I have a 50″ Sears 5441S projection TV that works. Do you know what it’s worth? I don’t have room for it any more, so I’d like to sell it.

– Peggy Sauerwein


A: Wow, what a dinosaur! The best info I could find was on UsedPrice.com, a paid online “blue book” service that offers current pricing for many different types of used items. The site doesn’t have the 5441S, but it does have the 5441N, which I assume is very similar. According to the site, the original MSRP was $1980 in 1985, and the current used-market value ranges from $78.28 to $95.68—assuming you can find anyone willing to buy it! About seven years ago, I found a similar model on eBay that sold for $5.00.

So, I’m afraid your projection TV is worth very little. After all, it’s based on completely obsolete technology. The projector uses three CRTs that must be manually converged, and the resolution is only 480i. Modern UHD TVs have 24 times more pixels on the screen! In case anyone is wondering, we can certainly talk about pixels on an analog CRT display. They are defined by the number of horizontal scan lines and the fastest that the brightness along each scan line can be switched between dark and bright. The resolution of standard-definition DVD is 720×480 = 345,600 pixels. For UHD, it’s 3840×2160 = 8,294,400 pixels. Of course, 720/480 = 1.5:1, not 1.33:1, the aspect ratio of standard-definition video, so the math does not line up perfectly, but it’s close enough for this discussion.

Also, the 4:3 screen measures only 50 inches diagonally, which is pretty small by today’s standards. The screen undoubtedly has very high gain with a compound curve—that is, it’s curved in the horizontal and vertical dimensions—so the only viewing location that looks any good at all is directly in front of it. And it’s never going to look very good compared with modern TVs.

If it were mine, I’d haul it to the nearest electronics-recycling facility. It’s really nothing more than a boat anchor at this point.


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